Adam Zero's ramblings and rants on popular music, culture, politics, folklore, religion and related skullduggery.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Rockets Redglare

This is one stupid story about a stupid boy in a stupid state with a really stupid law.

If you haven't heard it's flag-burning time in the sweet sunny South. Drunken flag-burning, that is. Right here in the great state of Tennessee.

You know, flag-burning. "Desecrating a venerated object," according to the legalese. Apparently it's the latest crimewave to hit redneck America--right up there with exploding mobile-home methamphetamine labs.

It seems that the Maryville "boy"--18 years old, high school dropout, has been adrift, according to his father. Drinking too much, according to his father, and not particularly good at it. He's a good boy, a church-going boy. Don't know how to hold his liquor.

So the boy got himself so drunk he decided to burn a flag. Not because it meant anything to him, according to his father. Flag don't mean nothing, dammit, it's just a flag.

It's uncertain what level of competency he had at the time--how much his decision-making was impaired. It's also uncertain what his blood alcohol level was.

The boy was not thinking symbolically or even literally. He was simply burning the flag because he was drunk. End of story.

His father claims the boy could have as easily burned a "garbage can" as a flag (that's according to the AP report--God, what would we do without the AP?). Personally I like the idea of a burning garbage can. That's a potent symbol of 21st Century America. Better than a stupid flag. Why, that's almost art. Maybe even performance art.

But a flag? A cheap Walmart flag? Where's the symbol in that? Where's the crime? He just gonna go buy anuther . . .

But the boy burned a flag in the town of Maryville in the state of Tennesse and he's got to stand trial in August. He's already spent nine days in lockup (that's some drunk, some flag!). But if he's found guilty, he could get up to a year and a $2500 fine.

That's an expensive flag.

Will the ACLU swoop down--like an eagle, or vulture--to save the day or at least exploit it? Will the case go to the Supreme Court? If the Maryville boosters play their cards right, it might just happen. Then East Tennessee can corner the market on judicial tourism--from Maryville to Dayton. From cretinous drunken flag-burning to monkey-man evolution.

Too bad that our present hero doesn't have John Scopes' quiet dignity and that his story sounds like something more for the Onion than the New York Times.

If Maryville is smart, they'll clean the kid up. Invite John Ashcroft in to prosecute; Johnny Cochran to defend (I know he's dead, but if you offer a lawyer enough money or audience, he'll show--believe me, he'll show!). And then sit back and let the circus begin! I can see the satellite trucks massing on the town square now--antennae vibrating in anticipation.

Fine the kid a hundred bucks--like they did Snopes. You know, historical reference. And then set up the lemonade stands and just wait for the suckers to come.


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