Tuesday, June 07, 2011


Have you ever pledged allegiance to a flag?  Like, you know, a rectangle of colorful fabric... ?

I have, and I never really thought much about it.  But if and when you do actually think about it, and the words you use to make the pledge, it's really quite perplexing.

I mean, it's a piece of cloth on a stick.

Now, sure, the Pledge contains all manner of modifying conjunctions (i.e "and the Republic for which it stands") that do give it some modicum of meaning, but still, a flag??  Sure folks will tell you that people have died for the flag, but no, no one has ever willing given up their lives for a piece of cloth.  The Republic?  Absolutely.  Their homes and families? Yes.  Freedom?  You bet.

But not the flag.

People love them some symbols though, and no one more than Americans.

I mean we REALLY dig our symbols.  And they are everywhere.

Symbols are simple to process, easy to understand.  They take the place of more than just words, however, inspiring instant emotion response for those in the know.  They are used to communicate, motivate and manipulate.  Business, politics, athletics and religion; the near sum of modern American life, draw deeply, all, from the symbolic well.

Symbolic thinking, though, carries beyond the borders of commerce and transaction; beyond the mass marketing marks of trade.  Symbolism has rooted itself into the very fabric of our world views.  It feeds our bumper-sticker philosophy and helps us pick our socio-political teams.

On one side we have:

And on the other side, we have:

Of course, sometimes we co-opt each others symbols in the process:

You get the point...

The problem is that we have come to place too much emphasis on the symbolic.  To be sure, symbolism has its place.  It's just that, when the symbolic takes the place of the substantive, we fall prey to our baser instincts and spin our collective wheels in the mud of vanity.

Symbolic stories make for better ratings.  They are spicier, guaranteed to shock and awe at least SOMEONE!  And that is what the media feeds us, and it is what we lap up like mindless zoo animals.

I mean, right now, there are budgetary negotiations, international wars, trade imbalances, constitutional infringements, and debt.  The debt, in fact, is so dire that the credit rating for the entire US government is in risk of being down graded.

But that's hard to think about.  It involves words and critical thought.  So, what do we care about?  What is the end-time sign of the apocalypse du jour?

It's this:

Who cares?  I mean really.  People I'll never meet had sex with people I'll never know.  How is that news?  How does it change anything at all?

OK, this one may have misappropriated presidential campaign funds.  I get that one.

But really???



Rock 'n Roll??

It just doesn't matter...

The Patriot
1/3 oz Blue Curacao
1/3 oz White Creme de Cacao
1/3 oz Grenadine
Layer in a shot glass and serve

1 comment:

  1. Gee, and you used to get so mad at me for refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance.


Be compelling.

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