"...everyone is bored,and devotes himself to cultivating habits..these habits are not peculiar to our town.." Albert Camus "The Plague"

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

So I'm Jingoistic....

Very well then, I'm a Jingo*. I was called Jingoistic in another forum after posting the above photo and a description of the event, where Barack Obama stands idle, while the others have right hands over hearts.

You can see a video of the event here; which, incidentally, plays the most hideously sung rendition of the national anthem I have ever heard. I am not talking PC here, but common decency and respect for our flag and our national anthem. I don't think the iconoclastic approach taken by Obama here and elsewhere is indicative of a personal character capable of leading our nation.

A section of U.S. Code pertaining to the national anthem and flag reads as follows:

a) Designation.— The composition consisting of the words and music known as the Star-Spangled Banner is the national anthem.
(b) Conduct During Playing.— During a rendition of the national anthem—
(1) when the flag is displayed—
(A) all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart;
(B) men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold the headdress at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart; and
(C) individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note; and
(2) when the flag is not displayed, all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed.

As a practical matter however no one is suggesting penalties here, rather that we recognize the custom of respect, honored more often in the breech than in the observance, for our national symbols. By the way, in all fairness, if the pictured individuals had strictly obeyed the above code they would have to be facing the flag behind them, unless of course there was another flag near the music source. See Snopes for more detail on this controversy.

By Jingo, I'm Jingoistic; I don't think I've ever been called that; although I recall using the word years ago as a misguided lefty. A little well directed jingoism now and then can do a world of good. In the 1960's to 1980's period there was a spate of spoken word records which I suppose one could label hyper-jingoistic, and I mocked them at that time. The progenitor of this genre might be Victor Lundberg's "Letter to a Teenage Son"(1967 MP3). An interesting discussion of hyper-jingoism can be found on the web site of WFMU, Jersey City, NJ. with many more examples. From the site:

The grand-daddy of them all, and the pathetic answer song it inspired. Lundberg was briefly the spokesman of the American Libertarian Party in the Sixties. The success of this single inspired Lundberg to record an entire album of such material, but no track came close to that majestic moment when Victor declares to his son "When you burn your draft card, burn your birth certificate too, because from that moment on, I have no son." Now that's the way this genre is done!

Oh, as to the origin of the term; it apparently derives from this ditty about the Russo-Turkish war (1877-8):

We don't want to fight,
But by Jingo if we do,
We've got the ships,
We've got the men,
And got the money too.
We've fought the Bear before,
And while we're Britons true,
The Russians shall not have Constantinople.

Jingo originated as a word from the patter and jargon of 17th century conjurers, possibly yet another euphemistic form of Jesus. The term Jingoism came in use after the above popular music-hall song by G. W. Hunt, which appeared at the time of the Russo-Turkish War (1877-8), when anti-Russian feeling ran high and Disraeli (theBritish Prime Minister of the day) ordered the Mediterranean fleet to Constantinople. The Russophobes became known as Jingoes, and any belligerent patriotism has been labeled jingoism ever since.
Source: http://ingeb.org/songs/wedontwa.html

An earlier use of the term is found in the poem "French and English" (1839) by Thomas Hood.
Never go to France,
Unless you know the lingo,
If you do, like me,
You will repent, by jingo.

Jingoism defined: ....advocacy of a policy of aggressive nationalism....an aggressive attitude combining excessive patriotism and contempt for other countries.. (2 sources)

Tags:jingo,jingoism,jingoistic,victor lundberg,snopes,us flag code,wfmu radio,belligerent patriotism,patriotism

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