....LMB: "Fourth of Jooly"....

July 04, 2004

It's been quite some time since I've been big on patriotism and love of country and whatnot. I was born between a couple of arbitrarily drawn lines on a map, and since I didn't have much say in the matter, that seems like a funny thing to be proud of. I do like it here. I like some of the people here, and like a lot of aspects of the culture. All my stuff is here. So for those reasons, I do like America.

But what the hell does it mean to "be an American"? The population is so diverse that there really isn't anything that we all have in common. People of different income levels, races, or geographic regions do not experience this country the same way. There are only a few tenuous things that might define an American:

1) you live in or used to live in the United States
2) you endorse values like "freedom" and "democracy" (if you do not endorse these values, it is okay to endorse their shadow-selves, like "freedom-lite" and "democracy-flavored")
3) you watch the most popular American prime time TV shows, and talk about them with others
4) you consider yourself an American

Well, there probably is one more thing that makes you an American: you oppose those popularly considered to be America's enemies. Frankly, that probably unifies the citizenry more than anything else. All the talk of anti-Americanism and traitorism in political discourse these days is really just a disagreement about who is and isn't an enemy, and what is and isn't proper opposition to those enemies.

But that's enough sociology for one night.

When I ignore the oddness of "countries", "borders" and "nationalities", I have no problem with people being proud of this country-- so long as they know both the good and the bad. If you feel national pride because all you watch is Fox News and John Wayne movies, I can't respect you much. If you can juxtapose the country's achievements and victories with its shames and atrocities, and find that your pride outweighs your disdain, then hey, you're alright.

Lately, many liberals are talking about "reclaiming patriotism and the flag" from conservatives. And the patriotism hijack really was a clever conservative ploy: they managed to successfully sell the idea that close-minded, sexist, white Christian values of the 1950s and obedience to authority were patriotic, and that anything else was its opposite. Some liberals now propose a counterattack, to shift public opinion so that liberals can denounce corrupt CEOs and proto-fascist conservatives as anti-American traitors, so that they can paint liberal agendas with stars and stripes.

I'm tired of that bullshit, of everyone's bullshit. Fuck patriotism, fuck the flag, fuck the Founding Fathers, fuck the Constitution. My goals and values are about making as many people as possible-- Americans and others-- healthier, safer, happier, and free. Whenever these goals coincide with whatever "pro-American" is, I am a patriot. When my goals conflict with that, I am sedition. Anyone who seriously wants to make people's lives better-- Republican, Democrat, whatever--, that's where you should be too.

Happy Independence Day.

Posted by Jake at 05:18 PM | TrackBack (0)

I was not born in America. I am an American by choice. Because I served in the military, stood in line, studied for the test and did all of the other things I needed to do to become and feel part of the United States.

I did all that because I respect and appreciate what the founding fathers did, and why they did it. I believe that being truly great means sometimes falling on your face in a really big way. But then getting up and trying to do better.

The US is not perfect and probably never will be. It is the attempt, the intent, the desire that is important and makes us a great nation.

Long Live the Constitution.
Happy July 4th.

Posted by: Woody at July 5, 2004 04:05 PM

God bless America. God bless George W. Bush.

Posted by: Wes Goenen at July 6, 2004 08:48 AM

I liked your post just the way it is. I don't feel the need to comment with a "i'm a better American than you..." because there are no Americans better than anyone else -- at least I believe that. I'm sure it's not what the George Ws and Dickasaurus Cheneys of the world want us to believe anyway. :)

Keep up the good work, Jake!

Posted by: margaret at July 6, 2004 08:40 PM

There are very few people that make me drool in that homer simpson looking at a cake way jake, and you are one of them. Take that in the non-creepy way. John Stewart is another.FUCK PATRIOTISM INDEED!It's an ideal that sucks people in, like religion, it is the "opium of the masses" It is a sickness of the mind. A brainwashing tool used to get people behind ideas that could very well be full of shit. Fuck patriotism so much.

Posted by: Alyssa at July 18, 2004 09:09 PM
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Lying Media Bastards is both a radio show and website. The show airs Mondays 2-4pm PST on KillRadio.org, and couples excellent music with angry news commentary. And the website, well, you're looking at it.

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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

Posted by Jake at 04:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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Mission: Mongolia

Jake's first attempt at homemade Mongolican barbecue:


What went right: correctly guessing several key seasonings- lemon, ginger, soy, garlic, chili.

What went wrong: still missing some ingredients, and possibly had one wrong, rice vinegar. Way too much lemon and chili.

Result: not entirely edible.

Plan for future: try to get people at Great Khan's restaurant to tell me what's in the damn sauce.

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