May 13th, 2011 / 8:39 am

Flag Burn Attempt I Suppose I Guess

I read this article and watched this video and oddly did not think of the flag as symbol vs. flag as sacred, or really the entire flag desecration debate, or even a debate on the words, “Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech.” No, none of that was really running through my head. Why did I re-watch? Why did I find it intriguing?

  1. Screaming girl in sorority red dress.
  2. Policemen on horseback. (I lived most of my life in the south, specifically Memphis, TN and Tuscaloosa, AL. The mounted policeman, the nervous horse as very provocative image. I was cringing as I awaited the batons. Watch at 42 seconds where an officer sees a fellow officer in conversation, so uses the horse to actually swipe two students.
  3. Rhetorical move of screaming soldier. (about 1:25) Did he slip from “My brother died for you!” to “My brothers died for you?!” I don’t know.
  4. Also at 1:25, chant moves from USA! USA! To “Go to hell, hippie!”
  5. Sheer fumbling terror (understandable, BTW) of the communications student. He turns yellow to a sort of papery skin of pale.
  6. This student’s opening move as orator (2:06): “It’s funny. Facebook said that there was only going to be 64 of you.” As if baffled by Facebook world and the actual world not as one? I mean “Facebook said” so what is going on here?
  7. At 2:22 student is hit with something. This starts the idea, and he is repeatedly hit with something (water?). Cops sense a mood shift, and bail student out.
  8. Girl standing next to student. Is she a supporter? She seems proud of herself. Is she dancing? She is enjoying the moment. She’s got the attitude to pull this off. Such pluck and aplomb. And she is wearing an American flag as clothing. I believe that is also considered flag desecration. She might be high.
  9. Sorority girl (my lazy assumption on the sorority part) returns at 3:56 and tries to steal all the thunder. I was disappointed she went to the mothball line of “If you don’t like this country, leave it.” She needs some fresher material.
  10. Last observation: If dude was going to burn a flag, where was the flag?

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  1. the american kofi annan

      my favorite thing to do when aimless crowds start chanting U-S-A, U-S-A, etc. is to chant U-N, U-N, etc.

  2. Johnny Sakkis

      #3 “brothers” meaning other servicemen…

  3. Sean

       Oh yeh, I get that. But they are two different things to yell. If you say, “My brother died,” you are talking about a family member. If you yell, “My brothers…” you are talking about a community, much more abstract than my brother. If you say, “My forefathers did this…” versus, “My dad actually…”


  4. deadgod

      My brother(s) died for you.

      do not do me any ‘favors’

      examine what you take for granted

      “love” the first amendment or leave America

  5. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      ‘Men and women are dying for our country and we have people here burning our flag. That is an outrage.’

      Is there a term for the strategy of making your argument so insanely stupid that the other side gives up? Because pointing out all the flaws in said argument would be too much fucking work?

  6. Michael Filippone

      I need to know this term, as I seem to face this method of argument on a daily basis.

  7. kb

      Burn a Merkin Flag w/51 stars and 11 stripes, does it count?  

  8. letters journal

      The 1906 Independence Coyotes went 69-48 and won the Kansas State League championship. Ben Haas hit .341 to lead the league, while pitcher Chick Brandom paced the circuit with 16 wins and 121 strikeouts.

  9. letters journal

      The 1906 Independence Coyotes went 69-48 and won the Kansas State League championship. Ben Haas hit .341 to lead the league, while pitcher Chick Brandom paced the circuit with 16 wins and 121 strikeouts.

  10. Sean

      I knew I recognized that steely stare! Thanks for these stats.

  11. letters journal

      Luckily botched flag burnings don’t count against OPS.

  12. Daniel Bailey

       would it be protected by law if i burned an american and called it an act of free speech?

  13. Daniel Bailey

      my statement would be “it is easy to burn an american that is wearing a polyester suit.” 

  14. Sean

       Though they should, since flag burning is an act of hand and eye coordination.

  15. deadgod

      the person:  no

      the flag she or he is wearing:  yes, though local and state air pollution ordinances might apply

  16. Anonymous

  17. Logan

       Re #6: It’s pretty clear that his confusion presented ironically.

  18. Logan Fry


  19. Anonymous

  20. deadgod

      Yes; it looks to me like he’s actually reading the “Facebook” remark – that is, that it was a joke that he’d meant to start his speech with.

      re 10.:  At the end of the video, there’s an “up next” option titled “RE:  Ben Haas fails at his attempt to burn the USA Flag at LSU”.  This guy claims that Haas didn’t have a “burn permit”, and so was only going to make a speech instead of burning a flag:  the lynch mob was there to protect the sacred and holy flag from a speech in favor of burning a flag, not a flag from actually being burned (??).

      This “civil libertarian” is an amusingly aggravating – I think the Chicago Manual would accept that this guy is ‘aggravating’ an already-existing ‘irritation’ – smuglet.  He ‘wants to make it clear’ that he ‘supports Haas’s “freedom of speech”‘, but not Haas’s “poor taste [and] poor judgment” (he’s struck by Haas’s “fear”; ‘what kook would do something in spite of his own fear for his personal safety??’).

      Two groups of question:

      a)  what does the verb “to desecrate” mean? is it possible “to desecrate” James Madison’s national flag?

      b)  what does it mean to have a “right” that one should be “afraid” to exercise?

      – but the guy uses “intellectual” as a term of ridicule, which wouldn’t authorize much confidence in the intellectual coherence of his reply.

  21. Ryan

      To have a right that one should be afraid to exercise: “What is this
      famous ‘freedom with responsiblity’ if not a new version of the good old
      paradox of forced choice? You are given freedom, on condition that you
      will not really use it.

      “How, then, are we to break this vicious circle of endless oscillation
      between pro and contra which brings tolerant reason to a debilitating
      standstill? There is only one way: to reject the very terms in which the
      problem is posed. As Gilles Deleuze repeatedly emphasised, there are
      not only right and wrong solutions to problems, there are also right and
      wrong problems. To perceive the problem as one of the right measure
      between respect for the other versus our own freedom of expression is in
      itself a mystification.”

  22. kb
  23. Sean

       Fascinating response. Thanks for making me (re) think.

  24. Sean

       Drink more.

  25. Andrewworthington87

      why doesnt he just burn a fucking flag i want him to burn a fucking flag even though i dont really care i guess i suppose

  26. Andrewworthington87

      transmission ended

  27. Madison Langston

       Girl mentioned in #8 really stressed me out. Seems like she didn’t know any context abt what was going on but just happened to have a flag on and be really excited.

      Oh and this,

  28. DeWitt Brinson

      Ben Haas is a friend of mine. He was going to burn a flag but decided not to because he didn’t have a burn permit and he was protesting the arrest of a guy who went to jail for burning the flag. So, I guess he didn’t want to go to jail too. He wanted to keep it legit.

      He’s a peaceful guy. I’m not sure if he’s a hippie. He’s a good dancer though.

      Most websites seem to be against his poetry. I think I read one guy who was against him not being Emerson. People are weird and they spit at you sometimes.

  29. deadgod

      Thanks for the link; I just left several comments and hope to have made many – and good – friends by tomorrow!!

  30. deadgod

      – a site from which my or ‘my’ IP has now been banned, as well as one post scrubbed (so far), as far as I remember.

      Check it out – see if you think what I wrote (that’s still up) is as “incendiary” or as “stupid” as what I was responding to.

  31. Anonymous

  32. Anonymous