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F News Question

What's the most ridiculous expression of patriotism you've seen in the past two months? What's the most genuine?

The most ridiculous: A sign in the window of a travel agent on Michigan Avenue. "Support the U.S.A., book a holiday to-day"
-Peter Power, Assistant Professor, Printmedia

The most ridiculous claim of patriotism I've seen is two power-shoppers interviewed outside a Wal-Mart on the infamous day after Thanksgiving. They said they were Christmas shopping for the sake of the American economy, not, of course, for their families (and probably themselves too).

The most genuine was probably the night of September 11 at Phyllis's Musical Inn, where at least 50 people, undoubtedly still in shock, came out to hear some live free-jazz, enjoy a few drinks and simply be together as free people.
-Bill Voltz, Assistant Coordinator, Information Services

Most ridiculous: Patriot Act.

Most genuine: In the middle of Vermont on a hill there is a wooden bear with a flag taped to his outstretched arm. The bear belongs to a store which is behind it, but the image is simple and touching. The tape looks like a bandage. The U.S. has been damaged, but through our faith in the potential of our country and in each other we will triumph.
-Mary Hardenbergh, student

Aside from American flags being sold and flown everywhere, the most ridiculous (so far) is the TV ad for a commemorative silver dollar (99 percent pure silver) with the twin towers of the World Trade Center printed on the face of the coin. Americans can turn even tragedy and grief into crass commercialism.

The most genuine was a flag hung upside down from an apartment balcony - a signal of distress.
-Barbara DeGenevieve, Professor, Photo Department

What's the most ridiculous? The near ubiquitous display of the flag. What's the most genuine? The near ubiquitous display of the flag.

And I'm not trying to be a smart-ass.
-Shawn Huelle, student

Recently my mother sent me an American flag pin and sticker. I do like the American flag and I don't consider myself to be supporting patriotism. I put the sticker on my guitar case and put the pin on my cork board. Is that genuine or ridiculous? It's hard to tell the difference sometimes.
-Christian Foster

This question is hard to answer because I don't feel any of the flag-waving and red, white and blue donning behavior is patriotism. I feel it is legitimate fear, transformed into misplaced behavior that borders on nationalism. I can't say that I disapprove of the benefit concerts the "stars" have put together for the firemen's families and other survivors, but calling it patriotic seems an error in semantics. It's a benefit concert, simply. The families that it will aid are probably devastated by the loss of their loved ones, and need as well as deserve this help, and more. The emphasis on patriotism to me seems reactionary and lacking reflection. Red, white and blue leather pants and spending your last dime to aid the latter half of a historically boom and bust economy will not change what this country has done in the name of "freedom" (for whom?) every day from Columbus's landing until September 10.
-Ria Fay-Berquist, student

Most Ridiculous: Major League Baseball owners (and many corporations) seizing the moment to tighten belts, lay off thousands and thus be deemed "responsible citizens" - the most cynical of acts.

Most Genuine: A teacher who, when forced to begin each day with either the Pledge of Allegiance or the National Anthem, responded by playing the Jimi Hendrix version of the "Star Spangled Banner" - the most moving rendition to date.
-Randy Adamsick, Gene Siskel Film Center

Ridiculous: On the day of the memorial at Daley Plaza I saw a person who had painted the American flag across their entire face.

Genuine: The kindness thousands have shared with strangers.
-Monica Blaeser, Development, Alumni and Public Affairs

Honestly, the coolest thing that I have seen is a household that turned their entire garage door into an American flag. Definitely a traffic jammer!
[email protected]

One of the most ridiculous was an enormous SUV covered with little flag stickers and flying a little flag on the antenna. And it probably gets six miles to the gallon . . .
-Lynn A. Bruner, counseling services

The most ridiculous expression of patriotism I saw was back home in Howell, Michigan. There are a lot of hicks and white trash there. This guy had in the back of his dirty blue pick-up truck a giant erection of wood that was bolted to the bed. Attached to this monstrosity was a pole and a huge American flag. He was definitely American.

The most genuine was when my boss at work said, "Well, he might not know how to think or speak but he is our president so we should stand by him. He is what we've got."
-Brad ([email protected])

I think the most radical, craziest showmanship of patriotism is when people beat up those who have similar characteristics of Middle Eastern ethnicity. But the most genuine I believe are the pictures of the soldiers over in Afganistan or the firemen in New York. Another genuine show of patriotism is simply the American flags everywhere, silent but strong.
-Rachel McDermott

There is no such thing as a "ridiculous" expression of patriotism. If you are talking about hate crimes towards minority groups, that is just what they are, crimes. Nothing more. It didn't come from love of one's own country, it came from hate of another.

I read in a newspaper about teenager who talked about his willingness to accept the responsibility if he was drafted. And he didn't talk about hate towards other groups of people or anything like that. He simply felt that he owes it to the country he lives in to serve it when the time comes. No politics. No agendas. Just a simple obligation that he felt as as result of the privilege of living in a great nation.
[email protected]

Cardinals dropping dynamite flavored food baggage

Flood of innocence souls preventing soldiers from cultivating shining medals

Annihilation is the enemy of civilization

Indigenous eradication

The accomplishment of the object

And many secret....
-Wafaa Bilal, student

A woman painted the whole exterior of her house as an American flag.
[email protected]

The most ridiculous? The 9/11 show in Gallery X. The most genuine? The cancellation of the NAB project.
[email protected]

It's so funny you guys should ask about the most ridiculous forms of patriotism displayed. I have been pondering to myself and to peers of mine about where the line is between showing patriotism and using that patriotism as a marketing ploy. The first signs of the use of the American flag to lure a customer must have shown up when the Chicago Tribune printed the flag on newsprint and inserted it into their regular paper. Suddenly the flag was everywhere: busses, corporate offices, restaurants, corner stores. The point that it really started to become absurd was when car commercials started to echo, "Help keep America rolling!!!" At one point, during a bus ride down Michigan Avenue's Magnificent Mile, I saw a display window at Neiman Marcus. The display case was empty and on the glass in clear lettering on a frosted surface were the words, "WE GRIEVE." That was the point when I began to say to myself, "Yeah, right." Sure you grieve - your company's sales have plummeted. A friend even pointed out that he saw a Ralph Lauren denim jacket with the American flag embroidered on the back, but instead of white stars, there was simply a giant "RL" in the blue field. It has gotten to the point of disgracefulness. Personally, I feel this war is more against consumerism than getting our grasp on Osama bin Laden, who even shows up on a T-shirt that depicts his mug shot with "Wanted, Dead or Alive" as if it was an old West type bulletin. It is just disgusting to me. [email protected]

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