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Derf Backderf

Actually, it was in front of a Verizon store. So the random symbolism is amusing.


There's an interesting contrast about the flag thing on the island of Ireland. In the Republic, it is not appropriate to fly the tricolour over any private building, but it's fine over commercial enterprises. In the six counties of Northern Ireland, though, the Union Jack is under no such restriction. When we first crossed the border to the North last summer, there were only three indications that we had done so (in the current absence of signs to that effect, let alone a checkpoint): the lines on the road changed color from yellow to white, roadsigns were in miles instead of kilometers... and union jacks were suddenly abloom across the farmland.

(There was another telltale -- completely unexpected and very disconcerting -- on the particular route we were traveling, but I'll save that for elsewhere later.)

Mike Peterson

Maybe they were promoting the idea that Verizon has decided its customers are "at liberty" to switch phone companies whenever they like, instead of having those annoying contracts. Yes, yes, I'm sure that's it!

As for wrapping the green flag 'round me, boys, there's a Peter Yates movie about life on that border that is well worth a look -- "Run of the Country." But the most fraught symbols in that land are not the flags. If you play soccer, you're probably a Prod, if you play hurley, you're a Taig for sure, and then we doublecheck by how you say the letter "H." I think they made peace because it was getting tiresome to sort each other out with all this random stuff.


My daughter commented about these guys yesterday but it was because there wasn't a Statue of Liberty dancing around like there is most days home from school.

This is for Liberty Tax (our grocery store is by another one and they also have a dancer in front) and I think it's a clever marketing stunt and isn't it better for them to pay someone $50 (a day, I assume) than not? Granted, they probably paid a ton of money to some slick ad agency to come up with the idea but isn't it better than if they decided to create an ad of a Statue of Liberty mascot that's drawn in Korea?

I don't see this as a long term solution to our employment issues but I don't see what's wrong with it.

Mike Peterson

I'm surprised - seriously - that you don't see anything ironic in the national economy getting to the point where a guy has to do something humiliating to earn a living, and that thing involves disrespecting a symbol of the country in order to advance a corporate agenda?

My point was that I don't care who they pay to do the grunt work, I don't like seeing national symbols turned into corporate mascots anyway -- and I find it odd that the people who get so fired up over use of the flag at a political demonstration are so calm when a tattered flag is left out in the rain over a tire store.

They want to amend the Constitution to keep you from "misusing" the flag in criticism of a government decision, but they're just fine with a thousand plastic flags thrown in the mud after a parade.

They puddle all up over stories of how great-uncle Antonio teared up when he saw the Statue of Liberty from the deck of his ship coming in to Ellis Island, or how their father looked at the Lady as he sailed off to risk his life defending freedom in Europe, but they don't mind some jackass dancing around on a streetcorner dressed like that?

I'm offended more by the lack of reaction than by the insult to the nation itself. I respect that Confederate officer in the notes after Whittier's poem -- saluting her character if not her flag.

Not meaning to argue so much as expressing surprise that you don't at least agree with Derf if not my more flag-waving take on it all.


The Statue of Liberty is symbolic like the flag but they are very different things. I don't get too worked up about what people do with the flags (although I am interested to know the proper ceremony people did when they took the flags off of their cars in 2002).

I guess there are too many jobs that I'd rank as more humiliating than this one. I'd also rather dance around for cars than be in a disney character having to interact with people (and that comes from someone who likes people more than cars). And there are definitely similar jobs where the person is exploited more http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xW8j3x3GzxY

There's much more irony when you look at where those flags in the parade are made.

There are sucky jobs but I wouldn't rank this below not having one.


Of course, we're not welcoming "huddled masses yearning to breathe free" much anymore, either. Perhaps this new version is truly saying something after all.

Dave Stephens

Attitude is everything.

Perhaps if that young man had a different attitude toward his job he would have had some fun performing in his silly costume - I wouldn't have taken offense at his age and would have gladly done the job, but then I grew up on a huge ranch and didn't take any offense at piling up rocks or pulling weeds or shoveling manure or bucking bales of hay, jobs which are NOT a walk in the park, jobs which are damn dirty, damn difficult and awful damn tedious as well...

Here's a concept: I have placed my hand over my heart and pledged allegiance to the United States of America many times and I only saw a flag that represented the USA and nothing else.

As a symbol of freedom, the stars and stripes are everything - the Statue of Liberty is a wonderful tourist destination, but it has little of the power of our flag.


As a Canadian, I admit that Americans' relationships to their symbols, and particularly their flag, is genuinely baffling to us, to the point where I've had pub discussions about it.

I think I'm actually more shocked, symbolism-wise, when I see ads on American cable tv stations that use holidays like Memorial Day or Veteran's Day as an excuse to hold sales. I'm trying to imagine a mattress company holding a "Remembrance Day Sale" and coming up with... nothing. Of course no torches and pitchforks would be involved in the resulting protest, but a number of rather firmly-worded letters to the editor would no doubt follow.


Hi Ronnie, good to see you! One thing that struck me in my travels in Canada was how many people had flags in their yards--not just handing from small poles, but hoisted on full-size flagpoles. Some people do that around here (Maryland, just outside DC), but not many.

I tend to fly a variety of flags, mainly for the entertainment of my neighbors. I fly the Union Jack on Shakespeare's birthday (and when Humphrey Lyttelton died--upside down, of course (before anyone posts a retort, take a good look at the Union Jack and you'll see the joke)), a Maryland flag on Maryland Day, and the flag of Nunavut on the first of April. For the past two years on the 1st of July, I've had the Maple Leaf and all 13 provincial/territorial flags out, but down in time for a couple of versions of the Stars and Stripes a couple of days later. And when someone's looking for my house, I can tell them "look for the house flying the Welsh flag." No, I'm not Welsh, but it's the only one on the block.

I'm late posting again, but I hope *somebody* reads this. That's what happens when you run late in the morning.

true religion jeans

Except that the guy wouldn't get the job if he were just going to stand there looking humiliated. The Liberty Tax signholders are supposed to dance and wave and look excited, and they need to demonstrate an ability to do that for at least an hour at a time. They are permitted to wear iPods.

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