Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Freedom Fries and Liberty Measles

The points of view to which people ascribed to are often strange things open to change at the fickle drop of a hat or the frightened switch of political winds.  There are a few historical examples of this that were as swift a change as a fad and lasted just as long before otherwise fading into obscurity.  These changes fall under the scope of propaganda and fit in all friendly-like with nationalism of the dark stripe that shares a bed with rank racism.  The case is made in defending choices like these that the opposed lack patriotism, morals, and make even their grandmother's sick.  Side with them or with the so-called enemy, no fence sitting is allowed.  Of course such cowing is never seen as such, and the possibility that it is an overreaction is entirely outside the possibilities of reality.

These points of view changes hinge on transferring ideas, or exchanging them.  A 2003 political disagreement with France, for instance, led American Congress to force menu changes to include items such as 'Freedom Fries', and 'Freedom Toast'.  They could not do away with such iconic foods as such, but the name could certainly be changed.  A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.  A similar backlash against Germany around WWI led to some people renaming Dachshunds as 'Liberty Dogs' and talk of cases of 'Liberty Measles'.  To untangle the need to change the names from the impression that these are good, wholesome, American things was impossible.  It was convoluted logic to rename the measles rather than use it to lay blame, but the initial base logic was specious to begin with.

The measles example is indicative of the length that was gone to in distancing things.  Changing the name altered its perceived origination and excluded the discoverer's and the disease's heritage.  It also protected any fine, upstanding citizens from the stigma of contracting something from somewhere else, no doubt--in the view of ignorance--from someone who was not so fine or upstanding.  Us versus them paradigms take many forms beyond just these two examples.  They colour and taint perceptions and twist reality subtly.  When they are not so clear, so easily spotted, they can be put to good use to create conflict and tension between characters in plots and settings.  Or in the alternative they can provide otherworldliness to the most mundane of scenes and peoples.

Mood: drained.
Music: Desert Rain by Iced Earth and Ashes to Ashes by Blind Guardian.

Iced Earth: Night of the Stormrider
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Blind Guardian: Somewhere Far Beyond
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