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Wendigo Mountain

February 19th, 2008

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Drinky
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Clint Harris

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February 19th, 2008

So tonight, I watched Jericho.  I think it's the second episode of the season.  Though it's not the same theme as first season, I'm still glued to the set.  I miss last year's low-tech survivalist angle, with people relying on each other and no electricity.  It appeals to the luddite in me.  This season, we are greeted with two way video phones (which come on people, just why is it necessary to see somebody at the other end of the line?) and people eating choco-chip pancakes.  The show has it's good points, and other parts I don't like so much, such as people driving their cars around town the moment some soldiers show up.  Nope.  Not plausible.  Gasoline would still be rationed.  Plus, who brought it in?  The new government?  You mean they had a couple hundred gallons to spare, what with the helicopters and hum-vees all over the place, just so Ed could toule around town in his Nova?  Not buyin' it.

What I am buying is this:  the creepy new American flag.  Some days I question my patriotism.  I have my opinions about the government, about the way this war is being fought, about the increasing division between the classes and the general disregard for anything in this nation that isn't disposable or postulated for the upper class.  Think of me what you will, but I will say this, that flag gives me the willies.  Actually nauseates me. 

Why?  Because it isn't right.  It's an abomination and so many on the show are watching it with the same misty eyes that they would Old Glory at a high school basketball game while some sophomore is warbling the Star Spangled Banner over the old PA system. 

You might have been there yourself once or twice.  Old men standing with their hats over their hearts, everyone singing along, droning out the words because Francis Scott Key didn't think of penning a song most people could sing.  No siree, he had loftier aspirations.  He watched them shell the crap out of that fort filled with women and children and fellow Americans, and the next morning saw the flag, shredded, but still there.  They had refused to surrender.

I'm even willing to bet he would have been happy with the way many pep bands blend his Opus right into a freakin' crazy drum solo, complete with flying cheerleaders and the teams running out onto the floor through big paper banners, and the crowds losing their minds.  Because to Mr. Scott Key, there were fireworks, and cheerleaders, and parents cheering their kids on, and old men putting their John Deere caps back on as they sit down next to their wives of 50 years.  Hell yeah.

It's the same standard that lay draped across countless coffins of our dead since almost the beginning, give or take a few stars.  It's the flag we said the Pledge to in elementary school, since the time when we thought it was one nation invisible and not indivisible (because first graders know what invisible means, but not what the other one means until they become Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and get chewed out for suggesting the flag is actually invisible).  It's the same flag that many of us watched waving in the breeze as we hung suspended from the same lines after having our 47 lb butts hoisted to half-mast by those asshole fifth graders far below.

The flag on Jericho is not this flag.  Which is why it works.  Why it still makes for excellent story telling.  It's not supposed to be right.  It's supposed to give you that queasy feeling.  And from the way many of the actors are reacting to it, it's making them queasy too.  But what are they going to do?  Surrounded by a new government with a freaky flag.  Outnumbered and outgunned, not to mention newly dependent on the aid these vultures are providing.   What the heck would I do?  What?!

That's why I love to watch this show. 

What would you do?
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