Archive - Sep 14, 2016

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Oh Say Can You Shut The Fuck Up?

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Memo to Fake-Ass Patriots: YOU WON'T CARE, EITHER.

In this space in recent weeks, we've covered how the people who claim to care about football players not standing for the National Anthem don't actually care. They're just following some knee-jerk pre-programmed script that tells them they totally should care and be mad and buy jerseys and post video of them setting those jerseys on fire to Facebook.

And we know this for a bunch of reasons, like listening to them try to talk. And we also know this because applying the tiniest bit of rational thought to the issue makes the whole thing unravel. How, exactly, does it disrespect the military? The military's health and well-being isn't actually linked to the behavior of anyone at a football game. It's not tied to the national anthem. It's mostly tied to how many times we send them to fight wars and how much we spend on them and for some soldiers, if they didn't get sexually assaulted this week.

At the end of the day, the one incontrovertible fact we do know, yet never take into account, is that insufficient jingoism is completely and utterly harmless. We know this because, well, never in the history of America has an insufficient jingoism controversy led to harm.

For example. in 1990, Roseanne Barr sang the National Anthem very badly at a baseball game and everyone got very upset. Very, very upset. They were angry at her for making a mockery of the national anthem. For being insufficiently jingoistic. You know how I know it happened? I lived through it. You know how I know it was 1990? I had to look it up on Wikipedia. You know what I don't have to look up on Wikipedia? The year 9/11 happened. You know why we remember 2001 and not 1990? Because Roseanne Barr didn't hurt America. At all.

Or, hey, remember flag burning? That was a big deal in the 1990s, too. We had to pass a constitutional amendment to make flag burning illegal because those judicial activists kept calling it free speech! And you know what we never successfully did? Pass a flag burning amendment! And you know what happened as a result? Jack shit. Some people burned flags, we all acted shocked and horrified for a bit, and the nation endured. Meanwhile, in 2010, a slightly different batch of judicial activists voted to let money openly rule our politics to a degree that had previously just been hidden and assumed.

Oh, hey, I don't even need to strech the metaphor that far. They just caught the guy who allegedly set the mosque associated with the Orlando shooter on fire. He looks exactly like you'd expect. But we're way less concerned about this excessive, misplaced jingoism setting actual buildings on fire than we were about insufficient jingoists setting a symbol on fire. And, of course, it's OK to light a symbol of a black man on fire in defense of patriotism.

The point is, historical perspective. We get all worked up about patriotism and love of country all the time, and it's generally lunkheads, fuckwits, and the Fox News Pundit subset of the lunkhead-fuckwit axis who are very, very angry at the manner, quantity, and quality of the patriotism of someone with a (usually leftist) beef about the way things are done here. Strangely enough, if your overabundance of patriotism leads you to decide that the American government doesn't get to tell Americans what to do with American land, the same lunkhead-fuckwit axis will hail you as a hero, but hey, if they could manage logical consistency, they wouldn't be on that axis to begin with.

So yes, eventually, all of us will not only stop pretending we care about Colin Kaepernick's National Anthem protests, we will be left with only the vaguest memories of how it happened, and have to turn to Wikipedia to find out both when it happened and that his name wasn't Humperdink.

And until then, we'll just have to put up with USA Today tracking down one great-great-great-granddaughter of Francis Scott Key and telling us all how upset she was about the whole thing and oh, by the way, ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"So many of his black race are oppressed, but it’s not by the whites, it’s by their own people. Look who their leaders are, and the president. Has he done anything for these people?"

Maybe, when you have an idea for a story about asking a descendent of Francis Scott Key about her opinion of a national anthem controversy, and you find one, and she turns out to be super fucking racist, either find another one, or scrap the story. Or make the headline "Descendent of Francis Scott Key Is Super Fucking Racist" and leave Humperdink out of it.