Magazine article The Nation

Patriotic Bore

Magazine article The Nation

Patriotic Bore

Article excerpt

It's capture-the-flag time, campers, as Congress girds for a great debate on which party loves the flag more. A proposal for a constitutional amendment looks likely, but in drawing it up legislators should consult Neil Postman, professor of media ecology at New York University, who raises some pertinent questions.

What exactly is the flag - and when is it? What if someone maliciously bums an old flag with forty-eight stars? Should that person go to jail? Shouldn't the amendment say it's against the law to desecrate future flags as well-in case Puerto Rico or Panama becomes a state?

Suppose someone burns a photograph of the flag? or makes a photocopy of the photograph and faxes it to a friend who bums it? Does the friend go to jail? or the sender?

What about someone who takes a plain white cloth, writes The American Flag' on it and bums that? And what about someone who burns a book containing instructions on how to make an American flag? …

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