Friday, June 24, 2005

Flag-Drowning Is The New Flag-Burning

We hear so much about flag burning, that I'm afraid we may lose track of the equally important problems of flag drowning, flag choking, and flag boiling. Luckily, the U.S. House passed a bill that is not limited to just flag burning, but states, "The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States."

But I'm afraid that limiting it to cover physical desecration is just too narrow. What about emotional desecration? What about insulting the flag verbally, or sneering at it? These should be prohibited too. And what about non-physical flags? Can we afford to sit idly by while people make 3D-rendered movies in which virtual flags are consumed by texture-mapped flame-shaped polygons? I think not.

Some people have already planned out how to "crack" this law by burning things that only resemble the flag, but are not exactly the flag. I don't think this excuse is going to work at all. It would be like someone in England saying, "but when I threatened to kill the Queen, I spelled it Kween, and there's no such word, so it doesn't count." Good luck with that defense.

I'm sure courts will interpret "flag" to mean "anything that might remind you of the flag" and "desecration" to mean "anything upsetting." If a protester steps on something sort of flag-shaped that has red, white, and blue on it, like a paper bag from Burgerville, USA, then the important thing isn't whether or not this is "really" a flag, the important thing is that it annoyed me by reminding me of flag burning, therefore it is extremely illegal.

Quick reference guide to things that will count as desecration:
  • Projecting an image of the flag onto Britney Spears
  • Having a tattoo of the flag, and then getting a sunburn there
  • "Sexy cheerleading" within view of the flag
  • Saying that some other country's flag is prettier, if the flag could overhear it
  • Failing to prevent the flag from burning of natural causes (such as a lightning-strike) by not having an adequate automated fire-extinguisher system in place
  • Flag drowning, flag choking, flag electrocution, flag defenestration, flag poisoning, flag whipping (flag-gelation), flag freezing, flag crucifixion, flag boiling, flag burning, or feeding the flag to raccoons or other wild animals
  • Wearing a flag thong (especially if worn while "sexy cheerleading")
  • Burning a picture of the flag, or even a picture of the picture of the flag, etc.
  • Painting a flag on the bottom of a swimming pool (counts as flag-drowning)
I hope that helped clarify this important issue.


Michelle K said...

Actually, much of that is already against our current flag regulations.

Section 8d: The flag should never be used as wearing apparel.
Section 8g: The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.
Section 8i: The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever.

Sorry about adding some seriousness to your levity.

Peter said...

I enjoyed this immensely. Ever thought of becoming a lawyer? (I was one -- this is really how we used to brainstorm.)

Tom said...

Thanks, Peter. I don't think I'd enjoy being a lawyer, but my girlfriend is one, so I hear about legal reasoning a lot.

Starbuck said...

Over here in Britain we have certain people getting all upset if they even see a Union Jack (one of the most upside-downable flags there is) upside-down.

Patriotism just encourages national insecurity. Drown those symbols!