Monday, July 15, 2019

Robin Williams as the Grand Old Flag

I've never seen the following before, and I thought I'd seen pretty much all of Robin Williams's vast oeuvre, from movies to TV shows, from standup videos to interviews with late-show hosts. I wonder whether this comedy routine—in which Williams personifies the US flag—would pass muster today. Judging by the comments beneath the video, it might. But I know there are humorless PC scolds out there who would call Williams's impression of Hawaiian culture racist, and in the age of Colin Kaepernick and Kaepernick-wannabe Megan Rapinoe (US Women's soccer; her team just won the World Cup), this sort of unabashed, uncomplicated appreciation for the flag and what it stands for won't fly for certain Americans who cringe and wince at concepts like patriotism, liberty, and so on.

There's a moment in Williams's routine in which he refers to the flag as a symbol, and that saluting the flag basically means saluting ourselves. I can get behind that, although I know certain conservative readers think of the US flag as much more than a symbol. I don't stand with those people: if all the US flags were to disappear, there'd still be an America because America is Americans. If, however, all Americans were to disappear while all the flags remained, then there'd be no America. It's a little like what Odin said to Thor about Asgard in "Thor: Ragnarok": "Asgard is not a place; it's a people."

1 comment:

John Mac said...

I enjoyed that very much. Thanks for sharing.

Very interesting that it was produced by Norman Lear and the People For The American Way organization: "For more than three decades, we’ve been working with over one million members and activists to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values under attack.."

Watching this now I was agreeing with your assessment that parts of it would make liberal heads explode. Sad to think that so many on left see the flag as a symbol of hatred and racism.