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All right, all right. It's not just hyper-vigilant civil libertarians worrying about the effect the United States' War on Terrorism is having on everyday life: there's even insulting softlinks especially for the purpose of discussing such speculation here on E2. I've taken the liberty of posting my favorites below, for your convenience. However, I also recommend The Custodian's 9/11, Liberty, and the American Way and m_turner's The cost of American pride are some good examples of such thought here on E2. If you're not in the mood for subtlety, check out How the American flag got raped. However, in the "real world", the number of American flags being desecrated through various forms of incorrect display on vehicles is decreasing, even in ultra-conservative Orange County, California. But obnoxious displays of flag-waving are still rampant. I think the most disgusting are the "America: Open for Business" signs displayed in shop windows, which depict Old Glory as a shopping bag. That's right kids, support your country by racking up credit card debt! Invest in consumerism and conspicuous consumption rather than spending time improving your community---stuff is always better than the people you rise above in a huge gas-guzzling SUV and lock out of your gated community.... but I digress.

I think the best way to deal with what is coming to look increasingly like exploitation of a beloved symbol is to confront the spectacle with its own irrevance. Humor can be a healthy outlet for frustration. That said, did you know that the late great comedian Bill Hicks had a thing or two to say about patriotism? Take this little number (Track 14 of his Rant in E-Minor) for example:

I was over in Australia, and got asked, "Are you proud to be an American?"

I, I dunno, I didn't have a lot to do with it! My parents fucked there, that's about all.... I was in the spirit realm at that time, trying to tell them "Fuck in Paris! Fuck in Paris!" but they couldn't hear me, 'cause I didn't have a mouth! I was a spirit without lungs or a mouth, or vocal cords. They fucked here.

Ok, I'm proud...

I hate patriotism, I can't stand it, man, it makes me fucking sick. It's a round world, last time I checked, okay? Y'know what I mean? I hate patriotism.

In fact, that's how we can stop patriotism, I think. Instead of puttin' stars and stripes on our flag, we should put pictures of our parents fucking!

Gather people 'round that flag, and see your dad hunched over your mom's big 4x4 butt, see if any boot 'n rally mentality can circle around that little fuckin' image.

"God... damn! I'm out of here. Fuck it."

--"That your mom?"

"Shut up! Let's go garden...."

Ahhh. I feel better already.

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