Monday, July 04, 2005


Happy Independence Burn the Flag Day

Happy Fourth of July for those celebrating. The rest of you can share the warm glow of Burning Flags...

Don't get hurt now!

And now, the Confessions of an Unrepentant Flag-Burner.
Dread Scott Tyler, a student artist and fellow communist, had caused a major ruckus when his graduation piece consisted of an American flag draped across the floor in front of a photo montage entitled “What Is the Proper Way to Display the American Flag?” There was a comment book for responses, but in order to comfortably write in it, you had to step on the flag. It was great, and pissed off the right people. Dread Scott was totally unapologetic, even when his family had to hide after a hail of death threats.

Whipped up by local right-wing politicos, thousands of rabid Korean War-era veterans staged daily rallies in front of the school demanding censorship. They burned effigies of Dread Scott hanging from a noose. The artist was black; the vets were entirely middle-aged white men. They called other students “art faggots.” A few fistfights broke out and the police weren’t arresting the thugs. People were afraid.

The ugliness of the scene confirmed everything I had thought. These patriots were the proud soldiers of empire, the gook-killers, the lynchers, the book-burners and flag-wavers. In the name of freedom, they were imposing mandatory patriotism.

I couldn’t just stand by and watch. This wasn’t about symbols anymore, or the form of “free speech.” It was about power.
I can imagine why veterans would be upset however you reveal yourself when writing every single one of them off as "the gook-killers, the lynchers, the book-burners". Some may take a different view.

Not entirely relevant, however one of my favourite quotes by a fictitious character.
Anyone who clings to the historically untrue and thoroughly immoral doctrine that 'violence never settles anything' I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and of the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler could referee, and the jury might well be the Dodo, the Great Auk, and the Passenger Pigeon. Violence settled their fates quite nicely.

Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms.
--Mr. Dubois in Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein

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