- Nov 22, 2003
Note that while they do recognize the increase at 9/11 and War in Iraq, they still have to credit it to commercial reasons! :rotflmao: :rotflmao:
It's Agence France Presse via Yahoo!
It's Agence France Presse via Yahoo!
US 'flag epidemic' reaches peak on Fourth of July
by Chantal ValeryTue Jul 4, 1:16 PM ET
It's a true epidemic: the red, white and blue, stars-and-stripes banners are everywhere in the United States - on house facades, front lawns, cars and clothes.
Hitting an high point on the July 4 US Independence Day holiday, it is a genuine phenomenon of American national pride that, inevitably, gets a good but also sometimes unwanted boost from commercial exploitation.
"It's a little strange, this obsession of the flag," French author Bernard-Henri Levy wrote after traveling across the country.
"Everywhere, in every form, flapping in the wind or on stickers, an epidemic of flags that has spread throughout the city," Levy wrote in "American Vertigo" of the riot of banners he saw.
"Old Glory," as the US flag is affectionately called, can be seen in abundance through the year in the American heartland and the South, and to a lesser extent in cities like New York and Los Angeles.
Patriotic flag-waving strengthened in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and increased even more with the beginning of the war in Iraq as a testament of support for President George W. Bush.
But the phenomenon hits its peak each year around the Fourth of July, when it becomes the focus of intense advertising and commercial promotions.
At shopping malls, big and small national banners show up on jeans, baseball caps, dinner plates and swimsuits. The Stars and Stripes decorate everything -- from tattoos and fingernails to huge cakes.
The flag also pops up on lawns and balconies, sometimes to the ire of local residents. In the Washington suburbs of Bethesda and Chevy Chase, real estate agencies stick plastic signs adorned with the flag next to people's front porches and stuff mailboxes with flag-adorned advertising materials.
Such tactics have sparked controversy in Maplewood, a Bethesda neighborhood, where some 20,000 such flags have been distributed under the so-called "flag project" over the past 15 years.
"They send fliers so people think how patriotic they are," Mary Rainey complained to AFP. "Our flag doesn't deserve that. It's extremely inappropriate. The flags are in the gutter, yesterday my car rode over one, so did the car behind me."
"If they don't like it, put in the trash. We don't force anybody," retorted Jane Fairweather, a real estate agent who participates in the project. "It's only a good-will gesture... Just a celebration of America," she said.
But like other residents of Maplewood, Rainey, who advertises her own patriotism on her home's facade "365 days out of 365 days" of the year, complains the flag is being left on properties in violation of rules.
An official federal government code sets very specific rules on how the US flag should be handled. The national banner cannot be thrown on the ground, hung upside down, torn or allowed to become dirty.
It must be illuminated in nighttime and, the code says, cannot be used as a prop for advertising activities.
However, there is no sanction for violating these rules. The Supreme Court ruled in 1989 that freedom of expression guaranteed by the US constitution includes the right to burn the flag, an act frequently observed during protests against the Vietnam War.
Last week, the US Senate barely rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that could have led to criminal penalties for desecrating of the flag.
"I doubt very much that it is the end of the story," said William Galston, an analyst with the Brookings Institution.
"Global public opinion surveys regularly put Americans at the top of the patriotism index," Galston told AFP. "The US flag is the visible symbol of that strong sentiment... Even our national anthem is about the flag."