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'Tea Party Coloring Book' is kiddie propaganda art

September 30, 2010 | 10:52 am

Tea Party 010 As kids, lots of people had their first participatory art experience with coloring books. Simplified contour drawings in thick black lines leave blank spaces to be filled in with crayons or colored pencils.
 
Now, just in time for the November election, a small Midwest publisher has come up with a distinctive hybrid: a coloring book merged with kiddie propaganda.

"The Tea Party Coloring Book for Kids" is a 32-page "special edition" on the right-wing political movement, produced by a division of Really Big Coloring Books Inc. The online imprint of the St. Louis-based publisher produces one other special-edition product: a 2008 coloring book on then President-elect Barack Obama.

Cheerful in tone, semi-literate in its writing and factually challenged, "The Tea Party Coloring Book for Kids" offers itself as "a teaching and learning tool" for children ages 2 and up.

There aren't any drawings of tea bags suspended from sun hats, nor racist depictions of Obama as a witch doctor with a bone through his nose. Instead, puzzles, lyrics to patriotic songs and line drawings of the Statue of Liberty, edifices in Washington and the facade of the New York Stock Exchange are interspersed with free-market-obsessed texts.

Next to a big dollar sign, "Freedom of Choice and Economics" extols the "ability to choose your job in America's free market." Bright-eyed teen doctors flank "Good Health Care for All Americans," which means private medicine "not restricted by federal or state governments." "No more taxes!" is largely self-explanatory, a sentiment floating in the clouds above Mt. Rushmore.

Some of the drawings are funny. Pigs at a trough ("pork") look sick to their stomachs. The Mt. Rushmore presidents appear grave but worried. All of the citizens -- young or old -- wear big smiles on vacant, happy faces. Cluttered details on some of the drawings make the prospect of actual coloring dubious.

Tea Party 005 One drawing apparently cheering the virtues of agribusiness subsidies for the production of corn-based ethanol wouldn't cause Van Gogh to lose any sleep. A composition near the end, just before the workbook section on how to write your congressman, shows a wedge formation of striding young citizens that would likely pass muster with the Kukryniksy, the Moscow art collective that rose to the rank of People's Artist in the old USSR.

The texts are less funny. Government is "suppose [sic] to use our tax dollars" wisely. Federal debt has "become a life style because as [sic] this will bankrupt our country."  Run-on sentences are rife, which would have caused my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Adams, apoplexy.

But it's the premise of the coloring book that is the real eye-roller. Inside the front cover, the unidentified author explains that the origins of today's tea party are found in the iconic 1773 event in Boston's harbor -- and gets the history wrong.

Tea Party 004 The coloring book casts the pre-Revolutionary War episode in full fairy-tale mode, as a dispute between freedom-loving American colonists and an oppressive, far-away government that imposed taxes without their input.

In reality, a government deal with the British East India Company, one of the first and largest transnational corporations in history, meant that small businesses in the Colonies were going under because they could not compete. The Boston Tea Party was a popular uprising against big corporate tax cuts enacted by the British Parliament, many of whose members were, like King George III, major company stockholders. 

Speaking of deals, in 2004, Really Big Coloring Books entered into a partnership with MeadWestvaco Corp. to print and distribute its product line, an arrangement expanded in 2008 and now including the "Tea Party" tome. A business with global interests in packaging, office products, chemicals and real estate in 30 countries, the company also has an active political action committee based in Richmond, Va.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, MeadWestvaco's PAC has spent more than $95,000 in the current election cycle on contributions to 17 House and nine Senate candidates, 91% Republicans. In May, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich led a forum at MeadWestvaco's Richmond offices calling for repeal of healthcare legislation passed this year by Congress.

A report by Britain's Guardian newspaper says the coloring book, which retails for $3.95, has sold in the thousands. It is being reprinted daily, presumably without corrections, to keep up with demand.

-- Christopher Knight
twitter.com/KnightLAT

Photos: "The Tea Party Coloring book for Kids." Credit: Christopher Knight /Los Angeles Times

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Comments () | Archives (91)

And you WONDER why , people cancell the TIMES. Leftist rag, that it is...................

If this comic book had personal, racist, and bigotted remarks against Jews, Christians, and Conservatives, the left would be prasing it. Nuff Said!

No different than all of the leftist tripe packaged and put out for mass consumption by leftist dupes. but once we factor in the hypocrite factor we can see why coloring books for Tea Party support...BAAAD. All other forms of media supporting leftist agendas?....GOOOD!

The LAT disaproves of this book, while it says nothing about children's books titled something like "I have two (lesbian) mommies"

At least this coloring book isn't being forced on children by the NEA and CTA

@Matthew McKinley: See ya later. You won't be missed.

A lot of the people below seem to lack any historical understanding of the Boston Tea Party. The author of this article is correct: the Boston Tea Party was enacted because of the Tea Act, which actually made tea far, far cheaper for the colonists.

Also, there were no high taxes for the colonists. They had a problem with Britain enacting taxes without colonists having representatives in parliament. Their taxes were actually very low in comparison to the taxes imposed on British citizens.

This coloring book is factually challenged and is a big ball of propaganda. If you wish to indoctrinate your children with your views at a very young age, then by all means, grab this book.

Spoken like a true communist- they have places for people like you- and it's not America

You folks are sick.... racists? Gimme a break.

A free market coloring book that people can CHOOSE to buy that at least promotes capitalism, constitution, bill of rights, and freedom ---- which is the opposite of the nasty Marxism they are taught in public schools and you find fault with it?

What to expect from a bunch of communists.

I love all the name callers on this thread. The more they wave a flag, cross(or other religious icon) or Ism of any nature, the more you know they got to hide.Reality and truth are in balance, there is no magic cure. Except sacrifice, responsibility, and humility. All are lacking in our friends of both left and right.

To cut taxes in time of war, so you can party and buy more crap is hardly patriotic. It has never been done before in such times. Its now about others sacrificing, others being responbsible for debt, and arrogance in "knowing" what is "Right". If you buy it, you pay for it. Period. There is no other way. And as we are one country,(arent we?) We are all responsible for our debt and action. It is about US, or me, which are YOU?

We are spoiled children, Time to grow up, and time to put aside childish things. President Obama AND St Paul.

But it is just fine and dandy that Fabian socialists run our school system.. hmm, talk about propaganda.. I had to fight it every day of my career.

http://www.nhteapartycoalition.org/tea/2010/10/14/squashing-freedom-of-speech/

Our schools underachieve, but going private doesnt help that much, dopne both. Buncha spoiled frat boys that way, must be where you teach.

I have two boys in the military, one went to Iraq. You Tbags are unpatriotic selfish children, more interested in yourselves than contributing to our people. Entitled folks are leaches too, its called responsibility. Both wings are myopics nuts. The vast majority cant stand either of you, as both have corrupted and sent the two parties spiraling down the toilet. Which is why you see more and more independants, and charter schools.

People must take responsibility for their own lives, but not on the back of government handouts, and that includes tax cuts when the deficit is skyhigh, its still a handout.
Like Tbags ever did anything for anyone. LMAO!!!

 
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