Angry Dan's Column
Dan Denounces Patriotism
First off, I'd like to thank the huge amount of losers who didn't respond to
the "Angrier than Thou" contest in May. You have now ceded that I am the angriest motherfucker on the Internet.
Second, I'd like to formally retract my statements about vegetarianism in my
August 1998 column . While humans may technically be omnivores,
vegetarianism isn't necessarily unnatural, as I learned from a recent
encounter with beef jerky.
Now, this is July, the month of America's Independence Day, and it's only
fitting I denounce patriotism this month.
Patriotism, seen in garish flag-waving parades, dedications and celebrations
of exensive memorials to "those who gave their lives for our freedom," Bruce
Springsteen songs and even in school spirit rallies, is nothing more than
mindless dedication to a set of ideals which most people don't fully
Yes, I'm saying I find it difficult to glorify KIAs when a good lot of them
were high-school dropouts who were more thrilled with going over there to
kill some gooks/japs/krauts/spics than they were thrilled to be defending
the Bill of Rights.
Yes, I'm saying I find it difficult to believe people really think about
what it means to be an American when I continually hear the same cliches and
I continually read of low scores or low interest in American
history/government classes. Melting pot, First Amendment, freedom, liberty,
right to free speech, right to a fair trial. These are all terms, ingrained
by hegemony, that become cliches only because people dont stop and think why
they're using them.
No, I'm not saying I dont believe in the above concepts. Nor am I claiming
to know what it means to be an American. That debate could go on for years
and it'd just be abunch of people going off about their own experiences,
eventualy coming back to those same cliches. I also fear it would degrade
into a debate solely about culture, in which case I would wonder why we
haven't elected more actors as president.
Yes, I am saying that patriotism goes against logic, the concept of open
debate and the concept of truth-seeking. Self-governance has nothing to
benefit from the quashing of anything that goes against patriotism. For
example, the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities, which may be history in the government, is definitely present
in spirit in people's minds. For example, a member of a city council I
regularly report on in my job routinely discounts any discussion that
doesn't follow with his idea of how the city should properly celebrate
Memorial Day, Flag Day, Fourth of July, the American Legion, the raising and
lowering of the flag, etc. Fortunately, this guy's nuts and the rest of the
council doesn't even bother to hide their contempt for him.
Finally, no I am not saying every patriot or every veteran accepts
Americanism wholeheartedly. I know of several vets who carry an open mind on
Americanism, including one who sits on that same city council opposite the
patriotic opposer. But they're far outnumbered in my experiences by
closed-minded, staunchly patriotic veterans. And when many of our leaders
appeal to this sentiment - for that matter, any sentiment - over reason,
that's proof to me that patriotism has gone too far.
Has Dan made you angry?
If so, feel free to send him and email and let him know just how
wrong he is.