More on Honest Tea and Obama
First of all you throwin too many big words at me. Because I don't understand em, I'ma take em as disrespect...
--Random Smart-tech customer
A commenter below noted that the makers of Honest Tea had piped up to defend themselves against being slurred by McCain:
I know there are always people looking for opportunities to throw the "E" word around, but there are few words I find more contrary to what Honest Tea stands for. In fact, I would argue it's elitist to suggest that only rich or highly educated people should have an interest in healthy beverages. From our beginnings ten years ago, we have always strived to offer affordable organic and healthier choices for everyone. In fact, our original $1.19 price point was too low for our own good, especially when most of the competition was out there at $1.69 per bottle for non-organic tea. We lost lots of money in the early years, but we stuck to our lower price because we sold more tea, and we knew we were reaching more people. I know there are stores and restaurants that sell our tea for as much as $6.00 per bottle, but I can assure you that we don't make any more money on those sales than the stores that carry it at $1.49!
I'm glad these guys stepped up, but I think they're missing the point. The elitism slur is just that--a slur. The logic of it is, of course, laughable, but that's not what's at work here. Indeed the charge is deployed to go right past our logic centers, into our darkest reaches, and appeal to our sense of envy. There really isn't much more to it. I'm not slamming these guys--they've got a right to defend their product. That said, I think a lot of us spend too much time attempting to grapple logically with the slur--"McCain's a millionaire how dare he charge Obama with elitism!"
How dare he, indeed. What the elitism slur banks on is the idea that people don't resent those who have more than them, they resent those who know more than them. Or at least seem to. I don't think liberals can make an argument against what is, at its roots, just an appeal to the virtues of thuggism and stupidity. Price-point is irrelevant. The salient factor is (this is what the McCain people are banking on) that "Honest" tea sounds foreign and weird. Prejudice isn't logical. The very act of arguing may reinforce the stereotype. This doesn't mean you don't respond--and I don't think I favor responding in kind--but likely some humor is called for here, something Obama's always excelled at.