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Are all Flag Code violations equally disrespectful?

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On Saturday, a Twitter thread went viral after citing portions of U.S. Flag Code which, the writer asserts, are regularly violated by the average American.

Leftist media sources like Huffington Post and Quartz leaped at the opportunity to mock flyover Americans for their alleged hypocrisy, and a quick topical search of “Colin Kaepernick” on HuffPo shows that they’ve supported him and other kneelers over and over and over again, not simply in their right to protest but the overarching claim that an unjust America doesn’t deserve such reverence.

Quick digression: no one (intelligent) has made the argument that the Kaepernick crowd has no constitutional right to sit or kneel or otherwise peacefully protest the national anthem. However, I’ve heard several of my Leftist friends who are incapable of making a legitimate argument set this up as a strawman in order to pick apart an easy target. Of course he has a right to kneel, just as I have a right to call him an ungrateful moron for doing so. We have the right to do a great many stupid things in America, but that doesn’t mean that the proper response is to do every stupid thing at our disposal. The right to burn the American flag should not be celebrated by burning the American flag, just as the right to drink alcohol shouldn’t result in a constant state of inebriation. But back to the thread.

The Left may never understand this, but there is a massive difference between politics and patriotism.

The intent of this thread is clear: to equate touting a t-shirt with the image of an American flag with actively protesting America’s honor and virtue by kneeling during the national anthem and claiming that the country systematically “oppresses black people and people of color,” as Kaepernick has.

Many Leftists are branding this an epic “gotcha!” moment, but it operates on two flawed premises: 1) that all violations of Flag Code are inherently equal, and 2) that the tweeter’s interpretation of Flag Code is factually accurate.

When discussing apparent violations of U.S. Flag Code, there are three things that absolutely must be considered, assuming the intent is to have a reasoned, intelligent conversation.

As much as possible, I want to limit this discussion to the legal question at hand, shelving the broader debate concerning how the NFL, Colin Kaepernick, ESPN, Donald Trump, and the average American should respond. The NFL has already been clear that this is a political issue for them, not one of free speech. Their bias in selective enforcement of uniform policy, for instance, is obvious. So I’ll try to shy away from the politics of the debate and stick to the facts.

Here are the three steps to use in evaluating Flag Code:

1: U.S. Flag Code Is Empty Law

By this, I mean that it is unenforceable. As such, you might say that the provisions are more guidelines than actual rules. The Supreme Court decided in United States v. Eichman (1990) that the criminalization of flag burning was unconstitutional, making anything less (and almost anything else is less) unquestionably justified from a First Amendment standpoint. This also means that, should you and I disagree on how to interpret existing Flag Code, which is certainly plausible, there is no jurisprudence to back up either of our claims. If we can’t convince each other, we’ll have to agree to disagree; there’s not much clear-cut right or wrong here.

Additionally, as we’ll see in a moment, since Flag Code bears no legal weight, its adherence has traditionally become more of attitude than of action.

2: What Does the Code Actually Say?

Interpretations aside, several of the claims made in the Twitter thread are factually bunk. Some are true, and we’ll identify those as well. But it’s essential that we approach this topic truthfully.

One of the tweets includes this misleading statement: “Not covered in the ‘Respect for Flag’ section; standing/kneeling/sitting. That’s considered a conduct violation, not disrespectful.” The flawed premise here is that only violations of the “Respect for Flag” section are considered disrespectful, which is simply untrue; all violations of flag code are considered such. The tweeter assumes that because one item falls under Title 36, Chapter 10, §171. Conduct During Playing, and the other Title 36, Chapter 10, §176. Respect for Flag, that the two categories should not be measured equally.

But let’s address each claim individually, each from subsections of Title 36, Chapter 10, §176. Respect for Flag:

The first claim cites, “(c) The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free” and features images of the popular spreading of a large flag across a sporting field. This is accurate, but it will be discussed in my third section. Factually, it is valid.

Next, “(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery,” with images of flag-stamped clothing, such as shirts, socks, swimwear, etc. I take issue with his interpretation here, as I see a legal distinction between “the flag” and “the image of the flag.” A pair of pants made from a retired flag, for instance, would be inappropriate. A pair of pants bearing the image of the flag, I disagree. A more legitimate grievance for this section could have been the practice of Olympic champions to drape the flag around their shoulders following victory, though even this might not qualify as “wearing apparel” or “drapery.” This claim is murky at best.

The following excerpt is separated into three tweets: “(i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard.”

On advertising, I would again cite “the flag” vs. “the image of the flag,” although “any manner whatsoever” could arguably include both. The embroidery and printing/impression of the flag undoubtedly refer to the image, as these designs are inherently artistic reproductions of the flag, not the flag itself. Thus, for the three tweets in subsection (i), the first is arguable, and the other two are valid.

Lastly, “(j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform.” Again, there is a legitimate distinction between “the flag” and “the image of the flag.”

3: What Is the Intent?

If you see no distinction between burning a flag and putting its image on a throw pillow, you’re an idiot. I don’t know how to tell you more subtly that your brain cells are likely on the brink of extinction.

Flag Code states that the flag should be hung “union left,” meaning that the stars should be in the upper left corner, vertically or horizontally. So if a woman hangs her flag vertically but (mistakenly) simply rotates it 90 degrees, making it union right, is she disrespecting the flag? Legally, yes. But in her heart, not remotely. This is not the ideal, and it is technically inappropriate, but her intent is clearly to honor her country.

What if a man posts his flag just before leaving for work, rather than at sunrise as suggested? Again, this is not the ideal, but his intent is to honor the flag and display American pride.

Spreading the flag across the outfield at a baseball game, though technically inappropriate, is intended to declare the same message as the playing of the anthem itself: reverence, loyalty, and unity.

These infractions are in no way comparable to outright protest against the flag and the republic for which it stands. I would love to see the Left characterize kneeling, sitting, or stretching during the national anthem as a manifestation of love and reverence for America, or even a desire to unify the public around its ideals.

As a black, liberal, retired Marine expresses in Tim Allen’s “Last Man Standing,” it is undeniably your right to protest the flag and the anthem, but don’t pretend for a second that it makes you equally patriotic with those who stand at attention with hand over heart.

The Left may never understand this, but there is a massive difference between politics and patriotism.

Unlike the writer of this viral thread, I won’t conclude by suggesting that Leftists look in the mirror, as I support their Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment. But I will say this: if you want America to be Europe, go to Europe; if you want to show your love for America, display the flag proudly and don’t mislabel its mistreatment as heroism; and if you want to sound intelligent, read a book.

Richie Angel is a Co-Editor in Chief of The New Guards. Follow him and The New Guards on Twitter, and check out The New Guards on Facebook.

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Of course an 8-team college football playoff system makes sense

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Of course an 8-team college football playoff system makes sense

In just over two weeks, we’ll get to see who’s going to play for the national championship in college football. It all happens in two games with the current playoff system; the winner of #1 vs #4 will play the winner of #2 vs #3. It’s simple, elegant, and so far it’s been working better than any previous attempt at crowning a national champion.

It’s also inferior to what it could be. An 8-team playoff system would be ideal.

Detractors (and there are fewer and fewer all the time) have two primary complaints. The first one isn’t really an argument. Traditionalists believe the playoff system in general harms continuation of the rich history of the old bowl system. This is true, and frankly there’s no going back at this point.

The second concern is about where it stops. If 8 is better than 4, is 12 or 16 better than 8?

Let’s put that one to rest now. No. 8 is the ideal number for the playoff system. It is fair enough to allow all the teams that deserve a shot without being so big that undeserving teams might sneak in and make a mess of things.

Today, there are seven teams who have a legitimate claim that they deserve a shot at the national championship. The four teams that are in – Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, and Oklahoma – are the teams that had the best seasons this year. Oklahoma avenged its one loss in the Big 12 Championship game and the other three teams are undefeated.

Added to the mix are the three teams on the outside looking in. #5 Georgia had the two best losses of any team and is arguably the second best team in the country despite those losses. #6 Ohio State won the Big 10 Championship and has only one loss. #8 UCF is undefeated for the second year in a row. While #7 Michigan didn’t really have a shot at the top 4 after losing badly to Ohio State, they would round off a solid 8-team playoff if that system were in place today.

It would be perfect.

Not every year would end up like this one with 8 clear top teams, but even in disputed years where #9 or #10 complained, they would do so knowing they could have gotten in by winning. This year, Ohio State was penalized despite being the Big 10 Champion and having only one loss. UCF demonstrated it doesn’t matter how well they play for how long. Two undefeated seasons wasn’t enough to earn them a spot.

An 8-team playoff system with automatic bids for the champions of the five major conferences and three at-large bids would extend the season for one week, allowing the first round to be played on or around Christmas. It would make the whole bowl season more interesting and offer hope to teams like UCF who would otherwise need a perfect storm of major conference losses to earn a spot.

This really should be a no-brainer. ESPN won’t mind. Their contract lasts until 2026. They would happily expand to include another round of four games. Those who are making the decision should make it fast. We can get this up and running by the 2020 season.

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A Disney reboot of Daredevil would be a slap in the face to fans

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A Disney reboot of Daredevil would be a slap in the face to fans

Hollywood executives are cynical and it’s partially our fault. They’ve learned that they can give us the middle finger one day and we’ll come running back the next day. They’ve also learned they don’t need to be honest, honorable, or in any way caring towards the audiences who make their jobs possible because we are forgiving fools.

In the unique case of Daredevil, the extremely popular show on Netflix that was cancelled last month, there’s a very good chance some Hollywood executives are going to double down on their hatred for audiences. Their going to take the middle finger they already gave to fans with the cancellation and haughtily raise another middle finger by trying to reboot the series on Disney+, the upcoming streaming service that will rival Netflix.

According to Publicist-Whisperer Donna Dickens at /Film, the continuation of the story that the multitudes of fans really want isn’t going to happen:

Translating the Daredevil Cancellation Press Release

https://www.slashfilm.com/daredevil-cancelation-press-release/WHAT THEY SAID: “We look forward to more adventures with the Man without Fear in the future.”

TRANSLATION: Remember how I said they were buttering up the fans? That butter is to help cold, stark reality slide down our collective gullet a little easier. Because this sentence is a death blow via precision vagueness. The key is in what Marvel/Disney isn’t saying. They aren’t looking forward to working with Charlie Cox in the future. They are looking forward to the continuing adventures of Daredevil. At some point. In the nebulous future.

I’m sorry, y’all but this version of Daredevil is dead and it’s not coming back. Still in denial? Let’s look at some other context clues.

First of all, there’s Netflix’s own statement, which mirrors the precision vagueness of Marvel’s.

“[…] while the Daredevil character will live on in future projects for Marvel.”

Again, they promise the character will return, not the actor.

Everyone did their part

Cancellations happen. Hollywood is in the business of making shows and movies that make money, so there are many reasons why a good show can and should be cancelled. Low viewership, high production costs, unhinged actors, poor writing… there are plenty of valid business excuses that can be made for taking a show off the air.

But that wasn’t the case with Daredevil. It was the 4th most popular show on Netflix. Production costs were high, but Netflix seemed willing to push forward. The actors have been extraordinary on- and off-screen. The third and final season left fans with excitement over two emerging villains to add to the mix.

Things were going as well as anyone could have expected. The wildcard was Disney.

We did our part. We talked about the show and got our friends hooked on it. The actors did their part by not only giving great performances but also being awesome and supportive throughout the run. Netflix promoted it and continued to deliver excellent storytelling despite the high production costs. Everyone deserves better than this unceremonious ending to something wonderful.

Reboot insult

This is Hollywood. Reboots happen. In a business that relies on regurgitating old content, it often makes business sense to start from scratch. But in the case of Daredevil, a reboot is neither necessary nor wanted. Fans have invested into three glorious seasons of M-rated superhero television that gave some of us hope for greater things in the future.

As I wrote before, this should have been the template for superhero success. Tens of thousands of fans agreed:

Review: Daredevil season 3 proves Netflix finally perfected the small screen superhero show

https://www.reddit.com/r/television/comments/9tkgsk/review_daredevil_season_3_proves_netflix_finally/I’m late to the game. For the last few years, everyone has told me I should be watching the Marvel shows on Netflix, but my attempts to watch Luke Cage and The Iron Fist ended after 3 episodes and 20 minutes, respectively. It appears that the third time was a charm after starting Daredevil two weeks ago.

It’s 1:24 in the morning and I just finished season three after binging the first two seasons plus a The Defenders. I normally watch three or four episodes a night, but the final six episodes were so enthralling I had to brew some espresso so I could finish it off.

If Disney does try to reboot the series as a family-friendly version with a fresh story and new actors and directors, I won’t be watching it. You can’t serve juicy steaks for three seasons, replace them with fast-food beef-like patties on a greasy bun, and expect us to be happy. Fans didn’t invest time into the show only to have it wiped from official existence to make room for a Disney replacement.

Some would say I should give a new series a chance if Disney made one. Nope. They ruined Star Wars. They’ve started vomiting out live-action versions of their classics in a money grab that doesn’t require an ounce of creativity. The Daredevil betrayal is the last straw for me. They’ll never learn to respect their fans if we continue rewarding them for their abuses.

Everyone involved with Daredevil, including the fans, did everything necessary to keep the show going. Disney made a business decision to hurt a future competitor at the expense of their fans. A family-friendly reboot won’t draw a Disney+ subscription from me.

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Latest Godzilla: King of Monsters trailer may mean it’s actually getting released next year

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Latest Godzilla King of Monsters trailer may mean its actually getting released next year

One of next year’s early blockbusters will be Godzilla: King of the Monsters. It is scheduled for May 31 after being pushed repeatedly to position it against the competition. This newest release date will give Marvel’s Avengers: End Game plenty of time to eat up audience dollars before passing the baton.

Originally slated for this year, executives kept looking for the best window for their second installment of what they hope to be a franchise similar to the successful Planet of the Apes reboot. The first installment of Godzilla in 2014 was widely seen as the first legitimate blockbuster featuring the Japanese monster after a handful of clunky attempts. It did well with a strong cast (including Bryan Cranston) and chalked up over $500 million at the worldwide box office against 75% on Rotten Tomatoes.

This installment features Millie Bobby Brown who has experience fighting demonic beasts in Netflix Stranger Things.

My only concern is that they seem to be putting out all the major bad monsters in this one – Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah. It lends to the notion that this will be limited to a trilogy with the climax being Godzilla vs. Kong, crossing over the giant ape’s own franchise.

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