Flag Waving Ain't All Bad
July 5, 2003 9:18 AM   Subscribe

July 1942: United We Stand "Seven months after the United States entered World War II, magazines nationwide featured the American flag on their covers. Adopting the slogan United We Stand, some five hundred publications waved the stars and stripes to promote national unity, rally support for the war, and celebrate Independence Day."
posted by owillis (60 comments total)
Interesting piece - thanks.
posted by plep at 10:00 AM on July 5, 2003

Beautiful - thanks, O-Dub.
posted by davidmsc at 10:11 AM on July 5, 2003

Heh...even "Baker's Helper" got in on the action!
posted by davidmsc at 10:12 AM on July 5, 2003

At a traffic light in my home town recently, I counted eighteen full size American flags within my range of vision. This was not for any special occaison, such as the 4th.

I really don't like those American Eagle stickers people glue to their pickup truck rear windows. The eagles have flag transperencies - which I find them a little offensive - superimposed over their faces.

Maybe we could just breed a special gene-mode strain of red-white-and blue Bald Eagles? Or, perhaps, big carrion birds such as buzzards which we could turn red, white, and blue and train to pick at the corpses of our freshly fallen foes, to sow terror in the hearts of all the enemies of Democracy and freedom,
posted by troutfishing at 10:24 AM on July 5, 2003

Why, isn't that piece of history nice.

And imagine the surprising parallels....sixty years later we may have brand new challenges, but, folks, you can take pride that phrases like "United We Stand" still represent the absolute best critical thinking many Americans can muster.

And those grand American flags wave still....helping to sell everything from freedom fries to toilet paper. Long may Old Glory ripple above used car lots everywhere!

~tear of joy~

After all, slogans are such powerful tools to make us all One, don't you think? (Deutschland uber alles!). Here's a couple contemporary ones, inspired by support for Our Troops:

"United We Jingoists Stand, Believing and Propagating the Lies of Our Leaders, Cheering As Our 'Brave' Troops Kill Civilians and Die In A Technologically Primitive Nation We Preemptively Invaded Despite Worldwide Outrage."


"Let's Roll -- We Still Have More Women And Children to Gun Down at Checkpoints Before Nightfall."

Then there's the ever popular and patriotic

"Please Pass Me Another Flag to Slap On My SUV So I Can Avoid Raising My Head Out Of The Sand Long Enough to Realize My Country Is Becoming A Warmongering, Bankrupt, Police State -- In My Name."

But as for me, I think I'll just stick to the slogan adorning the seat of my best faded blue jeans (patch complete with American flag and Bush likeness):

"'United We Stand', My Ass."

~cue Souza march~
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 12:37 PM on July 5, 2003

i'm most definitely not a patriot (i took advantage of the holiday yesterday sitting back in my apartment and watching worn out movies. good stuff:)) but this is good shit, nice artwork. thanks! :)

on preview: jesus fucking christ f&m, go jerk off in some other forum
posted by poopy at 12:42 PM on July 5, 2003

Foldy, so help me god, if we were in a bar right now you'd be looking for your fucking teeth in the toilet bowl.

But as it is congratulations, you've solidified my decision to say goodbye to this place. Which should please you. or disturb you, since your all about "dissent" right? Oh wait your about dissent that agrees with you.

You wanna confront fascism? Look in the mirror.
posted by jonmc at 12:55 PM on July 5, 2003

Stick around jonmc, don't give foldy the satisfaction. I know it's hard to ignore users, (sometimes I wish usernames were at the top of posts so I could scroll past them faster) but quitting benefits no one.

f&m: Calm down a notch will ya'? You're scaring people away again. This isn't your private place to take a crap and wipe your shit on the walls.
posted by elwoodwiles at 1:10 PM on July 5, 2003

f&m: if we were in the same club talking politics then i would most likely be chummy-chummy with you (especially in regards to animal rights), but goddamn you have quite a knack for pissing people off with this 'charlie manson rage against the machine' attitude. it doesn't ALWAYS have to be about politics.... yesssss, we all know that owillis is a conservative, but does that make him evil or the content of his post? i'm sure that they're plenty of people out there in the world who judge me and you based on our beliefs.

just once in a while i would love to see a post like this not turn into a complete disatrous mess.

again, thanks owillis for posting this. i've seen something today that isn't within my usually liberal peripheral vision.
posted by poopy at 1:22 PM on July 5, 2003

Sheesh. We've got our problems and I believe in facing them, but America is not wholly evil. Would it hurt to say it? Even Uncle Noam does it....
posted by weston at 1:27 PM on July 5, 2003

just once in a while i would love to see a post like this not turn into a complete disatrous mess.

There's a reason mathowie has long said that MeFi doesn't do politics well. And, when certain people making "reacting violently against anything that doesn't conform to *insert groupthink here*" into their own form of identity-politics, that unfortunately wipes out great swaths of potential conversation.

Behold, the power of ignorance.
posted by jammer at 1:30 PM on July 5, 2003

Tangent: What's the origin of this "Groupthink" meme? it's often brought up, but I have yet to see a single instance of it.
posted by signal at 1:37 PM on July 5, 2003

jonmc: Foldy, so help me god, if we were in a bar right now you'd be looking for your fucking teeth in the toilet bowl.
You wanna confront fascism? Look in the mirror.

Well, yah, you've convinced me! See ya later, jonmc- they're holding a seat for you at LGF.
posted by hincandenza at 2:08 PM on July 5, 2003

Foldy, so help me god, if we were in a bar right now you'd be looking for your fucking teeth in the toilet bowl...

You wanna confront fascism? Look in the mirror.

An ignoble swan song, indeed.
posted by y2karl at 2:10 PM on July 5, 2003

You'd think fascism was tougher than a guy who gets his teeth punched out by some thug in a bar.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 2:13 PM on July 5, 2003

good riddance
posted by matteo at 2:17 PM on July 5, 2003

implied threats of violence are to be condemned rather than condoned, no?
posted by y2karl at 2:19 PM on July 5, 2003

You think I'm a thug, Armitage Shanks? what a sheltered life you must have led.

My god, are you all that gutless that you sit here and kiss the ass of the unrepewntantly pentulant little shitbag who rips apart you, your country and efveryone in it except those who follow his neurotic facistic ideology to the letter?

Jesus, grow some balls, girls.

and, hincandenza, your choice of usernames is a fucking joke. Wallace included some choice parodies of your ilk in Infinite Jest but you probably thought they were homages, nitwit.

And y2karl, maybe I'm just sick of filling the role of pyschophant , amiable puching bag and pet retard.
posted by jonmc at 2:20 PM on July 5, 2003

aside: namespan's post is a great counterweight for those here who don't necessarily want to celebrate any one nation. a fine fine example of the power of love. :)
posted by poopy at 2:23 PM on July 5, 2003

Here's an interesting article on the differences between the perceptions of Canadians and Americans towards their respective national flags, with an emphasis on how the symbolic value that Americans place on their flag is foreign to the Canadian sensibility.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:33 PM on July 5, 2003

yesssss, we all know that owillis is a conservative, but does that make him evil or the content of his post?

I always thought owillis was a touch left of center. but whatever.

interesting post. i like how so many different magazines joined together, regardless of politcal bent. try getting "field and stream" "stuff" and "women's day" to agree on anything nowadays.
posted by macadamiaranch at 2:34 PM on July 5, 2003

I guess ya gotta say it every now and again:

Do not feed the troll.

FWIW, while I find the current IN GOD WE TRUST -- UNITED WE STAND things exceedingly creepy (mostly just because I find patriotism, from anywhere, to be creepy), it's interesting to find out that the UWS is actually old-ish and not from the same tin ears that thought calling them Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Just Cause were good ideas.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:35 PM on July 5, 2003

Some threads don't need comments, this is one of those threads. This is not a political thread. There is no topic. I think metafilter does political threads ok; not great, but then we're not experts. To be a political thread though there has to be a topic. "Look, American Flag pictures!" is not a political topic.

I think this is a fine post however, as it point to something interesting on the web, just not something that really lends itself to discussion.

You may think f_and_m is crazy, or misguided, or simply abrasive, but he's not threatening violence.
posted by rhyax at 2:41 PM on July 5, 2003

Love, American Style
Truer than the red white and blue-ue-ue-ue!
Love, American Style
That's me and you...

And on a star-spangled night, my love (my love come to me)
You can rest your head on my shoulder!

And by the dawn's early light, my love
I will defend your right to try

Love American Style!
That's me and you!
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:46 PM on July 5, 2003

mr_roboto: cool article. I think it's largely on target, especially where it talks about America-worship as the public cult. Which goes farther than the author suggests; I think parts of the religious right derive their Christianity from that public cult -- some at least aren't conservative because they're Christian but Christian because that's what good traditional American Americans do.

But there's also some not seeing the water you swim in. My wife is from Toronto, so I'm there often enough to visit her when we were courting or to go with her to visit her folks (and also because almost anywhere beats the hell out of D/FW in summer). And as a foreigner (for now anyway) in Toronto, I can tell ya that the maple leaf pops up all over the place and in the most surprising places, like on the little dividers in a record store and in the McDonalds M.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:49 PM on July 5, 2003

Bad link, sorry. Should be thus.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:55 PM on July 5, 2003

mr_roboto: great read. Thanks.
posted by ehintz at 3:01 PM on July 5, 2003

I always thought owillis was a touch left of center. but whatever.

just my interpretation and i shouldn't have labeled owillis. i apologize if i was out of line.

rhyax, it wasn't a political topic really until f&m shit all over it with his *gasp!* predictable 'blah blah blah' tirade.

f&m, those stupid tildes are getting pretty fucking old. next time you post, please try to come up with something different.
posted by poopy at 3:02 PM on July 5, 2003

On and in honor of the 4th...
posted by jonmc at 3:11 PM on July 5, 2003

Oliver has always proclaimed himself a liberal. Not sure where anyone got the idea he was a conservative.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 3:32 PM on July 5, 2003

On and in honor of the 4th...

Well, it does beat the belligerent self-pitying drunk obligato. It's very sad to see you make an utter fool of yourself and then leave in a sauced snit. The sheer stupidity of it is astounding--you're a bright guy when you're not on self-proclaimed bender, so quit the fucking alcoholic bit already... It is such a waste of all our time. If you want to leave, fine--but do it another time when you are sober, OK?
posted by y2karl at 4:10 PM on July 5, 2003

When did jonmc say anything about being drunk? In another thread?

Seems like a waaaaaaaaay over-the-line thing to goad someone with unless you know something we don't, Karl. Apologies if I'm out of the loop.
posted by dhoyt at 4:19 PM on July 5, 2003

whoooaaa....y2karl... that was waaaaaaayyy out of line. if you have to say something like that, please do it privately.
posted by poopy at 4:22 PM on July 5, 2003

--you're a bright guy when you're not on self-proclaimed bender,

Or, do you mean when I'm agreeing with you and massaging you're ego, then i'm everyone's pet...barbecue a few sacred cows and I'm on a bender, huh?

I got news for you, foldy honest to god pissed me off. But i suppose that's uncool here. And I am fucking lucid, OK?
posted by jonmc at 4:22 PM on July 5, 2003

Oliver has always proclaimed himself a liberal. Not sure where anyone got the idea he was a conservative.

see, that's what i get for not paying attention. again, apologies all around.
posted by poopy at 4:37 PM on July 5, 2003

I don't care if you drink or not. It's uncool that you post about wanting to physically hurt other posters. It's uncool that you insult other posters using obscenities. But most of all, it is uncool that you don't know how and when to use the apostrophe.

Impotent, filthy-mouthed, illiterate flag-wavers are what makes this country great, eh?
posted by xowie at 4:57 PM on July 5, 2003

I think you are correct, dhoyt--I was out of line and I do apologize for it.

However: jon--you have just gotten on this tear about fold_&_mutilate recently--you seem to have chosen him as representing everything you are angry about in regards to MetaFilter, but if one look at f&m's comments page, for christ's sake, he hasn't made so many lately. It's mare like you have been lying in for him to comment so you can jump on him and blame him for your leaving--See? There he goes again! I'm out of here! See what he made me do?

Each time his so-called hateful comments have been trumped by your responses in terms of ugliness. Whatever he has become to symbolize in your mind, he's not the reason you are leaving, in my opinion. What the real reasons are, I know not but this thread is not about you--it's about Oliver's post.

More to the point: Scars And Stripes Are Dividing This Country.
posted by y2karl at 5:12 PM on July 5, 2003

More to the point: Scars And Stripes Are Dividing This Country.

Actually, overheated rhetoric from both sides of the fence is what's dividing this country. Which is why foldy irks me so. And nobody from either side seems willing to take that tiny little step--which is to step into the oppositions head for just a moment and see that they might have very good very vailid reasons for thinking the way they do.

Which is why I came in here prepared to enjoy this thread. Oliver, like me, often misunderstood, is actually one of the most evenhanded clear-thinking people around here, although me and you could work on his taste in music. But seeing the beligerrence in and the outright nastiness in what foldy said I cannot help but spring into action.

Look, I love my country, in spite of all the bullshit going on. I'm extremely grateful that my mother came here from overseas. I didn't approve of the war in Iraq, but most of the criticism I saw consisted of cheap shot redneck jokes and self-satisfied commentary about SUV's. This may give y'all a warm feeling in your stomach, but it dosen't actually do much to win people on the fence (and there are plenty of them) over to your side, which begs the question, is that what the critics of the war want? is their motivation concern for the people of Iraq and America? or is it merely an oppurtunity to act superior and show off how enlightened you are? If that's the case, it's making a lot of people who might want to be your potential allies (including me) not want to come within miles of you.

I dunno what's actually in people's minds but that's how a lot of it comes off.
posted by jonmc at 5:24 PM on July 5, 2003

thanks jonmc, for coming right out with it. unlike many of the well-known and obviously intelligent faces here on mefi, there's this huuuuge swath of average america, many many people who could lean left or right.

the democrats are caught in a trap right now: 'more social services, less government intrusion into privacy, equality for all', yet at the same time we (the common people) have to endure the outright indignation of the upperclass labeling us 'rednecks', 'apathetic', 'white trash', 'ignorant'; not what i would call a smart strategy.

i got news for the so-called enlightened ones: we're not nearly as ignorant as you think we are. you keep pushing us around like garbage and you'll be gone. period. like some people here have said recently: it's not so much a race war now as it is a socioeconomic one. go drink your caffe-latte somewhere else.
posted by poopy at 5:52 PM on July 5, 2003

Jon, you're one of the good guys...don't let threads like this get you down, or force you into "retirement."
posted by davidmsc at 6:23 PM on July 5, 2003

Am I really alone in finding foldy funny? Sometimes I agree, sometimes I don't, but he almost always makes me laugh.
posted by swerve at 6:38 PM on July 5, 2003

Swerve: Go back and pick from some of foldy's choicer comments--then read them aloud to yourself in the voice of Darth Vader. It's 10x funnier.
posted by dhoyt at 6:48 PM on July 5, 2003

What is striking and kind of sad about this post is that it's hard to imagine the nation's magazines coordinating with each other like this for any purpose at all in this day and age. They certainly didn't for 9/11. What would get them to do so? It would get in the way of their branding and their newsstand sales.
posted by furiousthought at 6:59 PM on July 5, 2003

I thought owillis pointed to a nice Smithsonian feature story, remembering a time when the bad guys wore black hats and America wore white, crystal clear, the survival of the free world depended on success and people pulled together, by gum, and waved Old Glory. The contrast with division over the current campaigns was implied yet unstated, but despite O-dub's gentle intro to a discussion musing on how nice it must have been to be the good guys back then, blowhards blow and owillis gets yanked across the political spectrum and back. Very sad.
posted by planetkyoto at 7:06 PM on July 5, 2003

This was an interesting look at another time and place that's always fascinated me - my father was a teenager at the time.

It's sad, sad, sad that such a post would create such a flame war. I'm as anti-Iraq war as anyone, and I've been quite vocal and sometimes bitterly so, but this wasn't the thread to do that in.

It makes me wonder what's happening to us.
posted by pyramid termite at 7:31 PM on July 5, 2003

"It makes me wonder what's happening to us."

There isn't an "us" any more, if there ever was. There's "us and them", and they take every chance they can to scream at us, while we yell back at them just as loudly, and neither side cares about right or wrong; each just wants to be louder.

The whole nation has gone Hannity and Colmes.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:07 PM on July 5, 2003

well, which side has the lattes?
posted by amberglow at 8:12 PM on July 5, 2003

The whole nation has gone Hannity and Colmes.

No, crash, it's only about 5% of the people, they're just the only ones you can hear nowadays.

I blame amberglow. :)

I think the main problem stems from the fact that both sides think that the world will come to an apocalyptic end if the other side wins <fill in election here>. When you've convinced yourself that your very survival is threatened, it makes it easier to use underhanded and morally bankrupt methods to try to get your way.
posted by deadcowdan at 8:31 PM on July 5, 2003

In times like this I look towards The Poultry Tribune for guidance.
posted by owillis at 8:50 PM on July 5, 2003

"Look, American Flag pictures!" is not a political topic.

Maybe not to you.

I felt that F&M's post expressed the horror and outrage felt by many at what Old Glory has come to represent, and therefore it made sense to post it here.

poopy, the class war that matters isn't between the latte drinkers and the beer (or whatever) drinkers, it's between the economic top 3% and the bottom 70%. And that 3% is happy as a clam that you're blaming some slightly-less-poor working guy.

jonmc, thanks for bringing out your case. We see things differently, but I appreciate your opinion.
posted by squirrel at 9:27 PM on July 5, 2003

owillis - that poultry tribune cover is priceless. The more I look at it, the more I like it.

jonmc - I've been behind you on some other MetaTalky issues, but let's be clear: it's not OK to make "conditional" threats of violence to other users based on their style of expressing a political opinion, no matter how irritating said style (or said opinion) might be.

However, I would not wish you to leave on that basis. No, I would ban you simply over that Metallica lyric. My fourth-grader could write a better lyric than that.
posted by soyjoy at 9:51 PM on July 5, 2003

so be it
threaten no more
to secure peace is to prepare for war
so be it
settle the score
touch me again for the words that you’ll hear evermore...

Hm. Yeah. soyjoy changed my mind. jonmc has to go. ;)
posted by squirrel at 9:58 PM on July 5, 2003

Metafilter: Impotent, filthy-mouthed, illiterate flag-wavers.
posted by majcher at 10:06 PM on July 5, 2003

Anybody ever catch The Siege of Firebase Gloria on TV? I like where one character mentions to another about the US flag, "I don't like everything it stands for, but what I do like, I like a lot." I think about that with increasing frequency lately.
posted by alumshubby at 10:36 PM on July 5, 2003

cue Souza march.

I was just wondering if this was, perhaps, the only moment of true subtlety in foldy's entire posting career. (Of course, he spoiled it by Godwinizing in the same post.) What did you do for fun, Friday, Keith -- go to the local park and call the families watching fireworks Nazis? Or is it only Metafilter you treat with such rude contempt?
posted by dhartung at 10:36 PM on July 5, 2003

I am not getting much from this metatalk thread ; )
It is interesting how quick some peole are to pile on, whilst lacking any content to their own posts. It seems swimming against the current is not only difficult, but also seen as a deviant behaviour which must be punished (in a drama queen-like way).
If you think a comment is troll-like, then treat it as such. If you are offended by a post, explain why, don't exascerbate a problem by aggitation. Sometimes, stamping on those who express an opinion that you don't agree with can be seen as control-freakery/fascism.
Anyhoo, f_n_m might be like Avid here - 'I like it, it's rough'. RealPlayer

dhartung, we tend to use people's screen names in this community, it is a polite way of refering to them which is obvious to other users. Also, ad hominem attacks are frowned upon.
So this is how you celebrate in the USA!
I would like to use the word recrudesce in this post. That's that sorted.
And Happy Fourth of July! Charmone motherfuckers, thanks for Jackass! I am seriously.
posted by asok at 1:39 AM on July 6, 2003

Jeez, I never got this much hassle for my Painting with Marxism thread. :)

My interpretation is that this exhibition is historically important and worth looking at simply for that reason - just as Communist art is historically important, or indeed religious art. Nothing to get worked up over. :) Thanks for an interesting piece, owillis.
posted by plep at 2:16 AM on July 6, 2003

Yes, it would have been nice if it had been July 1940's magazine covers. Still, better late than never. ;-)
posted by salmacis at 3:29 AM on July 6, 2003

I think Oliver would be quite perturbed to be called a 'conservative', especially considering that huge 'Boot Bush!' banner on his page. Unless you regard a statement like this:

It isn't right to whitewash history, to assume that all has been well and that America has done no wrong. This country has done some horrible and despicable things, both to its own inhabitants and to those who live in other nations. But it is equally asinine to denounce the idea of America as a corrupt one, completely disregarding the twin pillars of freedom and justice this country has championed in its finest hours both foreign and domestic. We will never be 100% right, no matter who is in charge - he's one of us, and are you always 100% right? (Though some of us are in the top 1%)

America at 227 years old is a work in progress, and we will get better. Guaranteed.

to be equivalent to the frothings of Coulter and Savage.
posted by darukaru at 7:03 PM on July 6, 2003

jonmc - re: "Foldy, so help me god, if we were in a bar right now you'd be looking for your fucking teeth in the toilet bowl." - did you forget to add: "because people I know, care about, or even love are caught in the growing mess in Iraq " [ ? ]

If you forgot to mention that - your concern for Americans holding the fort in an emerging fiasco - you have my sympathy. If you just threatened violence for no reason, I would consider that to be cheap bullying.

"...I didn't approve of the war in Iraq, but most of the criticism I saw consisted of cheap shot redneck jokes and self-satisfied commentary about SUV's." - Are you serious? If you are, try a Google search on 1) "Iraq, metafilter" and then 2) "Iraq, Metafilter, SUV" or ,"Iraq, Metafilter, redneck" Or even "Metafilter, Iraq, SUV, redneck". Let me know the results. Or construct your own search, and let me know the results.

What were those jokes? Please let me know. That sort of thing really pisses me off. I'd like to know who said that sort of thing on Metafilter.
posted by troutfishing at 9:21 PM on July 7, 2003

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