How to Burn a Flag (Properly) in Protest

08 Feb 2006

[Sorry, I lost this pic in my blog move... I used to have a pic here of a very lame attempt at burning a flag.]

Whether you're an Islamist Jihadist or anyone else interested in making a political statement, I think it's important to burn the national flags of your choice in an *effective* manner. First, folks, you have to get the thing up in the air. Don't hold the flag low so that it's mostly on the ground. For one, no one will see your protest. And, second, the fire might go out. I mean, that picture is pathetic, isn't it? How much more pathetic are these guys going to look when their flag extinguishes itself from dragging on the street? They'll then have to pull out a lighter and try to re-light the thing -- and, if it's a windy day, they're just going to lose interest from any passers by.

That leads me to Flag Burning Guideline Number 2: If you really want to do it right, use some gas or lighter fluid (because, after all, it's fun to "blow shit up with gas"!) Sure, the flags don't last as long this way, but you can always bring a few of them -- and the larger flames will offer better photo opps. I used to work for a newspaper photography department, and one of the main rules of news photos when covering fires was always: Get flames in the picture -- the more flames the better. No one wants to see a small, lame fire. No one wants to see smoking embers. What they want is the drama -- large flames!!!

Here in the U.S.A., we're a little more touchy about flag burning. It's an issue that, ironically, seems to reignite from time to time. I've long held that most controversial issues (including flag burning) could be solved by turning them into economic opportunities to pay down the national debt. For example, why don't we start up a "flag tax" of, say, $500. You want to buy an official U.S. flag? Okay, fine. But, it's going to cost you $500. Then, if you want to burn it, go ahead. You'd be making more of a statement, anyway, if you were burning something that cost you $500. People would say, "Wow, that guy's burning a $500 flag. He must really feel strongly about that issue."

Likewise, if you owned a flag and displayed it in your yard, on your lapel, on your car, etc., you'd also be making a statement. People would say, "Wow, that guy truly loves his country." How many people would wear those lapel pins if they actually cost more than $2.99 at the gas station? Spending $2.99 isn't patriotism -- voluntarily forking over $500 toward the national debt, however, is.

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