Jingoism, in any form

Yesterday I purchased many, many bulbs for the front flowerbeds. Fifty assorted daffodil bulbs, fifty assorted tulips, and a combined package of grape hyacinths and some other small flower whose name escapes me.

I went out this morning to plant the bulbs, and found that the ground was virtually too packed for me to shovel. Alabama red clay mud, when packed solid and baked slowly until dry, is virtually impervious to all man and beast (except, of course, fire ants, which can tunnel through plutonium and survive, I'd think).I managed to dig a few small trench rows, in which I laid alternating bulbs—tulip, daffodil, tulip, daffodil. After that, having spent far more time than I wanted with far fewer results than I would've liked, I gave up, put the shovel back on the porch, and went back inside.

It wasn't until early evening until I remembered that I was supposed to return a movie today; a task forgotten amidst the attempts to get the bulbs planted. I put the curry on to simmer and grabbed keys and wallet, hoping to get to the store and back before the encroaching storms reached the house.

I turned on the radio, juggling stations until I found music. At that point I caught up with some traffic and stopped channel-surfing, so as to concentrate on my driving. My mind drifted, concentrating on accelerator, brake, and steering. The song ended, and the announcer began detailing their latest contest.

Caller number 10 on WZYP would be the latest addition to their pool of contestants for Smashmouth's San Francisco concert. The winner would be determined by—if I recall it right—having each contestant get into a crane while holding a pumpkin.

On the ground below them would be a large bulls-eye, with a picture of Osama bin Laden at the center. Whoever got the closest to hitting the picture with their pumpkin would win the tickets.

They followed this up immediately afterward by a song redone in "Blow Em Up Style," which had the entire first verse and chorus changed to detail exactly how we were going to blow up Afghanistan and bin Laden.

I was ashamed.

I didn't laugh. I didn't think it was funny. We are horrified because "they" glorify war; I'm horrified because we make such light of it. There's absolutely nothing funny about taunting someone that we're going to blow up their country; it's more akin to waving a red flag in front of a snarling, seething bull.

There's nothing quite like the braggadocio of saying, essentially, "We're gonna whip out the Good Old U.S. Military, whip your Middle Eastern ass, and make you like it!" to piss off the rest of the world.

When they do it, it's propaganda, it's attempting to incite the people to riot, to wage war. Yet for us, it's something funny and disposable to play on a radio station.

Then tonight the president refers to Muslim women as "women of cover." I groaned. Jeff groaned. Some speechwriter actually thought that was a good idea.

I don't deny the reason for our attacking Afghanistan. But if I'm going to question and make fun of the ads that appear on my television, I'm going to apply the same standard to the unofficial war ads that are being played as music on local radio stations. I understand the anti-bin Laden fervor. But I dislike jingoism in any form. Pro-American it may be, but it is jingoism nonetheless.