We investigated, obviously.
I — like so many others still scarred by the penultimate vignette in Monty Python’s Meaning of Life — exist in a state of perpetual terror that somehow, somewhere, someone might throw up on me. Simply typing these words makes me a little queasy, as if, by merely naming the (astronomically unlikely) prospect of being barfed on, I’m incrementally willing it into existence.
What I’m saying is: It’s a thing for me. Which is probably why I was so affected by medium talent conservative gadfly and Fox News commentator Tomi Lahren’s claim that somewhere in the heart of Tennessee is a nefarious cabal of freedom-hating malcontents gorging themselves to induce a geyser of socialist spew.
My my my, what a conspicuously specific accusation! Watermelon and refried beans? How dogwhistle-y of you!
The thing is ... I can’t find any evidence that anything like this ever happened. Yes, Lahren did appear at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville campus on April 21 for a “Talking with Tomi” event sponsored by the ultraconservative Turning Point USA student group. But aside from a few scant blurbs promoting her event (“listen to Tomi Lahren speak about our country and current events” — how exciting!), there’s nothing online to suggest anyone was “gorging themselves on watermelon and refried beans” and then vomming it all up.
Now, there have been instances where protesters have been accused of throwing up to disrupt conservative speakers in the past. In 2005, then-student-now-MAGA-congresswoman Elise Stefanik claimed that “a protestor sitting three rows behind me physically made himself vomit” during a “counterterrorism career panel” that featured a host of government spies and private security services. And in 2016, supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign had at one point planned to eat beans in an attempt to fart their way through Hillary Clinton’s nomination process at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia — itself a tactic first proposed by radical progressive political thinker Saul Alinsky in his 1971 treatise, Rules for Radicals. (In an interview with Playboy from the same era, Alinky also claimed that “some of our people went out to the airport and made a comprehensive intelligence study of how many sit-down pay toilets and stand-up urinals there were in the whole O’Hare complex and how many men and women we’d need for the country’s first ‘shit-in.’”)
In neither case, however, was anyone actually puked on. The puking (or farting, or shitting) itself was seen as enough of a disruption. So, again: Where is Lahren coming up with this barfing conspiracy, in all its gastrointestinally specific glory? I’ve reached out to both TPUSA and the University of Tennessee for any insight they can lend into what — if anything — actually happened during Lahren’s presentation, and will update if and when they respond.
The irony to all this, of course, is that if people really wanted to make themselves sick at a Tomi Lahren event, they needn’t go through all the trouble of eating “watermelon and refried beans.” All they’d have to do is listen to Tomi Lahren’s thoughts on politics; it’s enough to make anyone puke.