Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Pomp and Fireworks

Let's take a moment to prepare ourselves for the great American holiday that is just two days away -- the 4th of July. When I say "prepare," I really mean just that. I think with a holiday like the 4th of July especially, if we aren't cognizant of its significance, we can be easily swept into the clamor of the thing.

So, then, 4th of July? Howard Zinn, wise man that he is, tells it like it is.

On this July 4, we would do well to renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blessed.

Is not nationalism -- that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder -- one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred?

These ways of thinking -- cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from childhood on -- have been useful to those in power, and deadly for those out of power.

And of course he is right. So we have two options, as I see it: prosthelitize the family at the annual family barbecue (many a Wientzen family event has ended with shouting because of some such maneuver on my part), or take the day to vent your frustration.

That's where the fun comes in. And so, instead of offering a bunch of serious commentary on nationalism and all that, I think I'd rather post links to what I associate with the holiday.

Wikipedia has an interesting article of firecrackers, as well as a link to a site that explains the ins and outs of firecracker label collecting (a second cousin to baseball card collecting).

I found a nice gallery of firecracker labels here, with some especially all-American explosive themes (see here, here, and here) .

And don't be fooled: sparklers are extremely dangerous since they burn at temperatures between 1800 and 3000° F (or 1000 to 1600° C). That's why they sizzle when you drop them in a bucket of water.


Thomas said...

tell us more about this picnic

Mitch said...

I would love some nationalism right now. Im usually somewhat indifferent to the holiday but being in a foreign country I would welcome the bizzare juxtaposition of celebrating the 4th with other expats in India. Instead, the consulate is all gated up and closed for the holiday and the navy ships in the harbor are strictly off limits. Also - more about this picnic

Tim Wientzen said...

If by "picnic" you mean the Wientzen family barbecue and my effort's to right the course of this politically misguided family, all I need say is that I am from a family composed of Rush-loving, good American Bushies, and one very sincere Democratic aunt who likes to start shit. I have more than once entered the fray to help my aunt and found myself up against the firepower of a bevy of sloganeering Foxofiles whose relationship with facts is, shall we say, not the strongest.

The real story of my patriotism is about my stand (or should I say "sit") against 30,000 football fans pledging allegiance to a flag that hung over Guantanamo. Not a pretty sight.