Sunday, August 10, 2008

Anti-Americanism


I've been meaning to post an entry dealing with the image you see to the left for several weeks now. I first saw the image while visiting Dad's little shop in my hometown several months back. Dad had, prominently displayed on a wall of his shop, a T-shirt with this image on it. Does this image elicit in you the same level of anti-anti-American sentiment that it does me? And why?

BTW, my dad is one of the most "American" people I know. Indeed, it would take a book's worth of illustrations to account for all the pro-American principles I was taught as a child. So the question is, why would Dad display such an image proudly as he does? (Dad: you're free to answer the question yourself.)

12 comments:

stephenhopewell said...

Yes, that T-shirt, which I have also seen displayed in the fronts of shops (why has this become a meme?) is profoundly anti-American. It's the same joke as the New Yorker cartoon with the Indians seeing the Pilgrim ship coming and saying, "they certainly don't look documented to me."

I guess if you're a person who's not upset about the invasion of our country - and if you're inclined to mock "Homeland Security" with their silly Orange Alerts and searches of old ladies - you might just think it's funny.

It IS kind of funny.

Terry Morris said...

Stephen,

Thanks for dropping by. You're probably right. Maybe I shouldn't be so serious about something like that, but when I saw it in Dad's shop it just elicited in me disgusted and angry feelings.

By the way, that's a great post you've got up over at your blog -- The Spirit Lives Underneath -- I've been meaning to write about it here but I've been extremely busy lately. (I did manage to get it up under my recommended blogpost section, though.)

-Terry

stephenhopewell said...

Terry,

Well, I was just being playful, but I should have stressed "kind of" (=not really) funny. Just as when I see Jon Stewart with my liberal relatives I try to enjoy a few funny moments but actually hate his whole act. The thing is outrageous and the fact that (white) Americans mock their own borders and history and self-defense like this is a sign of sickness and blindness. But probably like you I associate with people all the time who laugh at this kind of stuff so I have to learn to take it in stride.

Thank you for sending the traffic my way! As you can see I have just as much anger as you....

Terry Morris said...

Stephen, thanks.

Yes, I see your point: The image is kind of funny in the same sense that wrenching passages from the O.T. out of context and mocking them for their cruelty towards women and children, their overt hatred and racism and so forth, is kind of funny -- something that liberal Christians seem to enjoy engaging from time to time, but that I personally and generally fail to see the humor in.

Call Me Mom said...

Terry,
For me it invokes that surprise/shock/twist reaction that is often used to create humor.

I read the words "Protecting America from Terrorism since 1492" and the initial part of the phrase registers as something very serious and increases the level of tension I am feeling.

Then I look at the picture and see that it is referring to something completely different than what I was thinking-which engenders a feeling of relief-which is generally enough to get the "this is funny" reaction.

After that the feeling goes back to negative because it is depicting those who were unable to prevent their nation from being conquered, reminds me that I am a member of that nations conquerors and attempts to instill some measure of guilt by implying that I am benefitting from something to which I have no "right".

Flatulent Fuzz said...

In the immortal words of Sgt. Hulka, from the movie Stripes... "lighten up Francis."

I think it is hilarious. Especially, considering the source. He happens to be my dad, as well.

Terry Morris said...

I think it is hilarious. Especially, considering the source. He happens to be my dad, as well.

He isn't the source, just one of its agents. And in what way do you think it is hilarious? I can almost guarantee you that it wasn't his main intent to be funny in displaying it on the wall of his shop. Indeed, he doesn't mock Homeland Security with its ridiculous Orange alerts and searches of non-threatening old ladies, to paraphrase Stephen. So his motive was/is something altogether different.

But the depiction of Indians protecting America from Columbus-style "terrorism", with Western firearms as opposed to bows and arrows since the year 1492 IS, as Stephen said, kind of (as in, not really) funny.

Flatulent Fuzz said...

I don't know any better way to define it than this...

hilarious: marked by or causing hilarity : extremely funny.

That about somes that up.

If you were inspired by his posting of it, then consider him the source. Regardless, of whether or not it originated with him. Let's not get bogged down in technicalities, like "the source" and "agents."

The saying goes... "To the victor goes the spoils." Well, the fact is, that we (whiteman) were the victors. We successfully conquered the original inhabitants of this land, for better or worse. There are always going to be those that feel that there is some wrong in that fact. I feel that it is a fact. Nothing more, nothing less.

I also feel that there is always a danger in taking yourself too seriously.

Flatulent Fuzz said...

Or should I say... sums that up.. :-)

Flatulent Fuzz said...

Now that I have a little more time, I would like to add a little more to my answer.

I really don't know how to explain, "in what way" I find that hilarious. Why do people find flatulence so humourous?

For me, that image does not conjure up feelings of anti-americanism. Native Americans claiming that they are/were victims or have been wronged, in some way, doesn't scream anti-amicanism. People burning American flags in the streets of Islamabad or wherever, now that is anti-american.

Terry Morris said...

JM, the question "in what way do you find it hilarious?" is perfectly legitimate given that in the original entry I asked whether the image in question elicited the same kind of negative feelings in readers that it does me, the point being, of course, to get a feel for what others (readers of the entry) think about the image ... and why.

Defining the term "hilarious" is not an appropriate answer to what was, as I said, a perfectly legitimate question. We all know what the term means, which is precisely the reason I asked for clarification on why you chose that particular term to describe your own feelings about it. There has to be some reason that you find it "hilarious", I'd just like to know, for the record, what that reason is, if you don't mind.

Also, we can fun around and all, I'm fine with that, but on the whole this blog is and always has been, from its inception, a serious site dedicated to broaching serious subjects ... seriously. If you think I'm taking myself too seriously, well, that's your opinion which you're entitled to, but it doesn't change anything.

Flatulent Fuzz said...

I answered your question to the best of my ability. I believe that I said, I can't explain why I happen to find that hilarious. If I could better answer it, I would.