Patriotic Art

I decided this morning that I cannot stand patriotic art.

There's some sort of local event going on to honor the memories of the people who died in the 9/11 attacks (which I think is fine). Part of that event has a sort of gallery of objects created in memory of these people. The majority of this is what I would call "patriotic art."

Patriotic art, at least in the US, is probably the most contrived form of attempted emotional manipulation ever. You've all seen this in one form or another in your lives. For US people, patriotic art looks like this:

Take an airbrush - it's always airbrushed - and draw a bald eagle. Throw a waving US flag in there somewhere - maybe the eagle is carrying it, maybe it's behind the eagle, maybe it's just blowing in the wind. Doesn't matter - just put a flag in there. Now put one or more soldiers/firefighters/police officers in the picture in a position that looks like they're overcoming impossible odds. If you choose soldiers, you have your choice of wars: Revolutionary, WWII, Vietnam, or Desert Storm. Make sure any soldiers you have in the picture are carrying rifles. Now throw some blue sky and the optional "POW/MIA" flag in there and you have patriotic art.

You can see this crap, larger than life, printed on t-shirts, motor vehicles, or inspirational posters.

I'm as patriotic as the next guy. I feel bad when tragedy strikes and I'm proud when the citizens of our country rise up together to overcome difficult times. But I can not - nay, will not - stand for this ridiculous form of art anymore. It's not an homage, it's a disgrace. I don't care if you successfully completed the free art test from the correspondence school. This is crap.

posted on Tuesday, September 07, 2004 3:23 PM | Filed Under [ General Ramblings ]


Gravatar # Re: Patriotic Art
by Jonmichael at 9/9/2004 2:24 PM
On a recent trip to visit my family in the Lone Star State, I was constantly reminded of how important (albeit politically rather than socially) to "display one's colors" via patriotic art. The Texan's insistence upon wearing screen-printed eagle-carries-US-flag t-shirts and jackets. Even smartly crafted leathers give way to some form of patriotism in art that even the layman must lament at how a gorgeous article of clothing can be horribly scarred the instant that an ill-advised contemporary design shows its ugly face.

"Feh!" I would say to any objet d'art with even a pinch of patriotism about it until I realized how beautiful and symbolic flag art can be. Suddenly the vicious disease of patriotism feels much more like the blue pill. In moderation, of course.
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