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Quit it already with the flags!
Okay. How many of you are currently displaying the US Flag in some shape or form either on your person, your home, or your car? Good. Now how many of you displayed this same flag on September 10, 2001? I see.

Now, I know that people tend to rally behind symbolism when the pressure's on: Breast Cancer Awareness Month, St. Patrick's Day, the Superbowl. People love to stand for something. The problem is that fashion is too easily passed off as taking action. People try to use style as substance. And nothing makes it easier than to just stand for whatever everyone else is standing for. I'm not saying that people shouldn't stand for our country. It's just that so much of it, or most of it, rings as hollow as the caves of Tora Bora.

The flag is everywhere. It's on cereal boxes, teddy bears, coffee mugs, pencils, and pens. To run a business without a flag in the window is apparently an act of treason, especially if you are of Middle Eastern descent. I have seen countless taxi drivers of other nationalities desperately displaying the flag in or on their vehicle primarily as a refuge anchor. As George says, if you ain't with us, you're with the terrorists. So, to be sure others know which side we're on we go out and buy our flags. And our flag stickers. And our flag shirts. Key chains. Paper towels. Bikinis. Beer coozies.

Doesn't it piss you off when people wear sports team jerseys but don't know the first thing about the team? Or people who wear a band's tour shirt, but can only name the hit song? I'd like to ask people hoisting flags a few questions about America. Most cannot name the first five presidents; much less locate Afghanistan on a map. I'd like to ask them how driving three blocks in an 8 cylinder pick up truck for a tub of ice cream is good for America. I'd like to ask them to discuss their views on globalization or if they voted in their last local election.

Remember back in grade school when you learned to treat the flag with respect? Remember how bad you felt if you dropped it on the ground? Apparently nobody much remembers that. I've seen flags hanging off of car antennas (the flagpole of the new millennium) that are more weathered than Joan Rivers. There are real, regulation size flags hanging on city construction sites, the sides of buildings, and fire departments, that are open to the elements at all hours of the day or night. Many look like they've been used to wipe someone's ass.

I have news for you flag people. In trying to be part of the team, and in our laziness, we've gone out and cheapened everything the flag was supposed to stand for. Americans are lazy by nature. We don't want to do more than is necessary. If you don't believe this, look at our children's grades. Look at our diets. Why read the book when you've got the Cliff's notes? Why read the paper when you can get the headlines off of Jay Leno's monologue? Why read up on US policy when you can just wear the flag?

And before you affix one to your antenna or embroider on your sweater, you might want to brush up on some flag etiquette if you get the chance:

From the US Senate Website's Flag Etiquette section:
Do not use flags as a portion of a costume or athletic uniform. Do not embroider them on cushions or handkerchiefs, nor print them on paper napkins or boxes.
Take every precaution to prevent flags from becoming soiled. They should not be allowed to touch the ground or floor, not to brush against objects.
When the flying edge of a flag becomes slightly worn, it may be mended by hemming or stitching. However, when in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, the flag should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning it privately.

In addition, The American Legion states, "When the flag is displayed on a car, the staff should be fixed firmly to the framework or clamped to the right fender." Also, "The flag is also supposed to be displayed only from sunrise to sunset, and it can be displayed at night only if a light shines on it."

So please, quit it already with the flags. Get them off your filthy imported cars and your gas guzzling tanks. Take those weathered, pathetic little flags off your antennae and burn them (privately, of course). Either get yourself a proper staff affixed to your fenders or framework, or take the damn thing down. And by all means, if you get all that installed, you might want to get a spotlight for it, or at least take it down at dusk, fold it properly, and put it back up at dawn. You stupid lazy fucks.
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bio: erics
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5/20/2002
19:06

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