Visual Essay: “Happy”


The Tea Party Movement in American would seem to suggest that the idea of American democracy is alive and well. At first glance the party seems to encourage reforms while helping Americans who feel disillusioned to re-engage with the political process. However, a closer inspection of the party’s ideas and philosophies can yield unsettling results.

I constructed this visual essay with an eye towards using humor and satire to critique and highlight the extremely problematic aspects of the Tea Party Movement. These problematic aspects seem inherently tied to Tea Party discourse, despite the repeated denials of Tea Party leaders and members.

This visual essay is a transformative work and constitutes fair use of materials under current US copyright law.

Song version of “If You’re Happy and You Know It” is by the Speakaboos. The audio of screaming children was culled from various Youtube videos which I will not link here.

The sources for the photographs are as follows:

Help Me Joseph
Labor Rights
Huffington Post
Red Dog Report
Notes from Off Center
Tea Party Jesus

Creative Commons License
Happy by Jesse Kuiken is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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