"Excessive Patriotism"


GL Schmitt
#1
Not too long ago, on another board, a poster picked out for censure a phrase I had written which he claimed was nonexistent. That phrase was “excessive patriotism.”

What I had indicated to be “excessive patriotism” in that particular incident was people cheering at death and misfortune, simply because it befell ones opponent. Since it was directed at a particular post about an “enemy” misfortune, I was told that I was incorrect. One could not be too patriotic.

I turned the situation around, and suggested that the same problem infested the Arabs who would take to the street cheering western misfortune, even when it had nothing to do with any action from their side, or any part of any battle. This I was told was the result of them being uncivilized, unChristian, and uneducated. Someone threw in the term, “raghead.”

I suggested that Americans who displayed replicas of “Saint Andrew's Cross” aka “The Southern Cross” aka "The Confederate Flag" might be showing too much patriotism for their region, since they were, by inference, celebrating an emblem that stood for acceptance of slavery — almost akin to flying the “Swastika.”

My, my! What responses that got!

In any case, while I received a few private messages of agreement, no one had the courage to post a favourable reply on the thread, and eventually it was buried under several pages of scurrilous remarks.

I recently ran across a photograph in one of those photography manipulation archives. It was doubtlessly made within the last several years, with a fair amount of talent, but (to me) with “excessive patriotism.”

I went back to the old billboard to search out my thread and resuscitate it, but could not find the billboard. Either it has changed its name, or they froze out anybody with the ability to write a comment worthy of pillorying, and have all wandered away. Whatever it was, the board ceased functioning sometime last summer.

This has left me with a perfect example (in my opinion) of “excessive patriotism.”

While I agree that the imagery is very powerful, the result is totally opposite to what (from the context that I found it in) the creator was trying to convey, through using too much patriotic zeal.

I am not yet certain what I will do, but I almost feel compelled to perform some demonstration of opposition to this image.

It is entitled “America Fights Back.” You can see a smaller copy of the image here.
 
Mad_Hatter
#2
Quote:

This I was told was the result of them being uncivilized, unChristian, and uneducated.

It's okay, GL... on this forum "unChristian" is considered a compliment...
I'm also going to venture a guess that 95% of people will agree with you in this instance.
 
Reverend Blair
#3
That's a twisted image that can only come from a twisted psyche. It's also a perfect example of how excessive patriotism...jingoism, really...is used to twist the meaning of symbols.
 
Ocean Breeze
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by Mad_Hatter

Quote:

This I was told was the result of them being uncivilized, unChristian, and uneducated.

It's okay, GL... on this forum "unChristian" is considered a compliment...
I'm also going to venture a guess that 95% of people will agree with you in this instance.

nice touch hatter!!


about EXCESSIVE patriotism?? How can it even be a question as it concerns the Flag waving ,chest thumping USers??? There is no doubt that the "patriotism " thing has gone to extreme. When one hears "patriotic" type phrases on home improvement shows....... it has really gone xtreme. One can almost imagine the massive population marching in goose step waving their flags and on some crusade. The whole society is one of extremes. xtremely rich......xrtremely poor. (and on it goes) Fanatically patriotic ......so as to be willihg to KILL STRANGERS who did no harm to them. (think innocent Iraqis) and all under the guise of what??? Fanatic patriotism. Unhealthy.....as is any extreme.

but it seems to go back to the "believers " vs the thinkers. Belief vs reason../logic
 
peapod
#5
Funny how its always the people that don't go and actually serve up their own lives that create these images. Munipulation.
 
GL Schmitt
#6
In the original case on the other board, we were a writer’s group who wrote stories or poems, posted them, and let other poster’s critique our work.

As I recall, the original word I used was “propaganda,” but since I always went over my critiques, not exactly changing my opinion before posting them, but softening the terms, I replaced “propaganda” with “excessive patriotism.”

And then got into the previously mentioned debate about whether there is, or can be, such a condition.

My response, both as a writer, as a photographer, and as an adman, is that it communicates what I deem to be a highly inappropriate image. I recognize that this originated on the internet, and while it may be some perverted fanatic encouraging a resort to nuclear weapons against their “enemies,” it might also be the product of some twelve-year-old kid with a Photoshop program, who has put together what he believes to be a “cool picture.”

As I know nothing about the artist, my objection is only with his image. Like Rev, I agree that this is a disturbed twisting of the meaning of the symbols used. As it stands, it seems almost to glorify what would, in actuality be, a most catastrophic event.

It requires the use of more symbolism to change what this image is saying into something truthful.

Since I have no image manipulation programs (other than what came with Windows) it will have to be a literary, rather than photographic addition.

I will write a poem. Just a verse or two, accompanying the image, to alter the effect of the whole.

I’ll give myself a week’s deadline. If I haven’t posted some response by October 30, 2005, everybody may take a free kick at me for Halloween. (If I DO post something, everybody gets a free horse laugh on me.)

If anyone else wishes to attempt something, please feel free to join me, and enter it here. It is a competition where everybody wins, with every effort — poetry, caption, added image — that twists the symbolism back into something exposing the truth behind such “excessive patriotism.”

Alternately, if anyone agrees with those critics who do not believe that “excessive patriotism” can exist, please feel free to explain your opinion.
 
GL Schmitt
#7
I was hoping by now that someone else would have come up with a response. (I guess that comes from most of my experience on bulletin boards being writer's boards, eh?)

When I set the deadline, I didn’t really think it would take me this long to submit a poem. The delay was caused by my expecting it to be comedic (almost all my poetry is humorous doggerel) and it took a few false starts before I gave up trying to be funny.

The original inscription on the plaque at The Statue of Liberty, is

The New Collosus
by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame,
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"


For some time I have thought this plaque needed updating. The rhyming scheme is different but I avoided blank verse.

Here is the result:

The Neo Colossus
 
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