Jul 12, 2006

Waving the flag

Lileks rips into Joel Stein's latest, a diatribe about how he doesn't want to be associated with people who hang flags on their houses.
So the reason I didn't want to put a flag outside wasn't because I disapprove of our international policies. It was because I didn't want to associate myself with the other people who put them up, and with their unquestioning, tribal, us-versus-them, arrogant mentality. Though I love being American, I don't want to proclaim it as the sole basis of my identity.
To which Lileks responds:
I suspect, perhaps unfairly, that “I love being American” is as deep and profound a statement as “I love the warm feeling of freedom I get when I pee in the pool.” Not that he would want public urination in a communal locale to be the sole basis of his identity, of course, but that’s how I see him now: one guy bobbing in the water, alone among many, a private smile on his face, thinking: like I’m the only one.

Hanging a flag is a sign of an unquestioning, tribal, us-versus-them, arrogant mentality, eh? FDR would have stood up from his wheelchair just to walk across the room and slap you silly.

A couple days after 9/11, I was sitting in my library school government documents class, waiting for the pain to end, when the teacher just went into a tear about how she was as patriotic as the next person but she would be damned if anyone was going to force her to put a flag up. As if the government were patrolling the roads to ensure that all available flags were being waved.

Get over yourselves, people. No one gives a rat's ass whether you put up a flag or not. Why don't you return the favor?

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