Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Starred & Striped for the 4th

If I hadn't eaten well at a neighbor's BBQ a couple of hours ago, I would be revving up to eat my words. My Memorial Day post included pictures of people on the Square in shirts and shorts patterned with the American flag. I wondered whether that symbolic expression should be read as patriotic -- or ironic, a la the late 1960s. "I confess to being somewhat disquieted by the lack of respect to the national symbols I saw this afternoon. Must be my age showing!" So I wrote at the time.

Obviously that's the problem -- my age has caught up with me. All the stars and stripes I saw worn today, the country's birthday, were obviously worn out of affection, not irony. Take our waitresses this morning (above) or one of my breakfast companions out of a group who generally score in the conservative quadrant (below.)

At the Square, where the Bucky O'Neill Memorial statue was rededicated this noon, I had to keep clicking the shutter there were so many variations on the red, white and blue.

These are just not the sort of folks who engage in irony.

Which leaves me wondering just what has changed. Perhaps it is a new style of dressing to the holiday that had its start with pretty Christmas themed sweaters and sweats. In our world of cheap, cheap clothing, an extra shirt or T to be worn only once or twice a year on a particular holiday is no big deal (aside from the closet space required.)

And, while everyday people may eschew irony, they are, in most cases, equally put off by too many rules or the stiff formality required of a patriotic display in earlier times. Today they literally wear their hearts on Tshirts. I'm sure that 30 or 40 years ago, these same people would have tsk, tsked at such clothing! At the very least.

A good trend -- or a bad trend? I can't say right now. I'm too busy choosing the right sauce for my May 28 words. In the meantime, happy birthday, America!


sheoflittlebrain said...

I hafta agree, GJ, love all that red, white, and blue.........especially the western shirt with the fringe.
It does seem to be worn by true Patriots.
Still, there are rules for the flag. I worked with a retired fireman who showed me exactly how to fold, raise, amd lower the flag that flew in front of our office. He took it very seriously.

Catalyst said...

I remember the 60's and 70's, when anyone who wore a red, white and blue shirt was castigated by the neo-cons and John Birchers. Now, they're all wearing them.

Granny J said...

Brain-- when I grew up, care and use of the flag was a very serious matter.

Cat-A -- ironic, what?

Gadget said...

Great photos as always Granny J! I missed out on the "in town" activities yesterday, so thanks for sharing!

Granny J said...

Gadget-- always glad to oblige and really happy when folks enjoy my pictures! The actual ceremony wasn't very visual; on the other hand, they had a military brass band, and I'm quite partial to brass bands.

Steve G said...

Lots of red, white, and blue. Nice photos.

Granny J said...

Welcome back, Steve. Trust your holiday was a good one & cooler than it's been hereabouts.

Lucy said...

I enjoyed this and also going back over that Memorial Day one and its comments, the main message of which is don't mix it with Mr Avus when it comes to a poetry quote! (In fact my mum could quote you that Whittier poem that she' learned at an English school too).
Brits aren't generally very serious or worried about the Union flag, though it's been splattered about a lot decoratively at least since the 60s, Carnaby St etc. It may not be the most tasteful of flags but certainly eye-catching. The French are more proud and pompous about the tricouleur.
Perhaps it is partly the throwaway tackiness of all this stars and stripes stuff that feels a bit off ( political discomfort of any colour aside...);the little quilt in the post before is a nice thing, and the old bunting in the Mem. Day one was really grand and clearly a treasure.
Anyway, I've been enjoying and envying you all this sunshine abd gaiety!

k said...

Well. I have to agree with you on this. It isn't coming across as ironic or disrespectful at all. The fun irony is remembering the reactions of many self-same folks back in the day, yes.

My overall feeling, now? I'm glad to see that people feel free to take the flag symbol of their country and make it their own personal expression. Even in clothing.

It's a display of ownership and coherence, cohesiveness, with their country and their fellows.

I like it. The question of whether it's art or kitsch I won't address today. That's a whole another issue.

And not one that really concerns me here and now in this celebratory season.

Granny J said...

Lucy-- Obviously, I did more than a little distillation of the red, white and blue in my post! Speaking of the Union Jack, there's a house in the neighborhood which features American flags out front,but as a sureptitious (and rather gigantic) British flag in the rear patio. As for our sunshine, I am happy to report that our summer rains have started -- sure cools things off.

k -- what we've seen is a big change. Patriotic things are a lot less stuffy!

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