Monday, June 13, 2011

Coasters and Patriotism

A while back my parents visited my brother out East, stopping in Chicago both ways to see me. On the return trip, my mom gave me a gift she picked up at the Smithsonian Institute: a set of Beatles coasters. There's four of them (coasters, not Beatles), featuring the covers of my favorite Fab Four albums: Rubber Soul, Abbey Road, Sgt. Pepper's and Let it Be. It doesn't matter that our coffee table came from the alley, negating any need for coasters; it was a real nice thought.

It got me to thinking, though, "why would the gift shop from 'America's Attic' carry the penultimate British band's memorabilia". What does it say about America if our repository of pop culture ephemera has been infected with foreign elements. I decided, considering Fonzie's jacket is kept there, not much.


Beatlemania was an American invention just as much as an English one, so in a roundabout sort of way it makes sense to peddle knickknacks emblazoned with the Lads from Liverpool. Realizing that, it dawned on me that if it makes little difference to what America is, it might have something to say about who I am.

You might have heard that Superman has renounced his US citizenship and Mike Huckabee's a little mad about it, going so far to say he "won't buy the comic." I'm sure DC Comics has lost sleep over the loss of Huckabee's patronage.

Huckabee goes on to say that he doesn't cotton to any of this globalization garbage, which is interesting considering that he is a member of a political party which rewards multinational corporations for being, you know, global.

What he's saying is that he doesn't believe in being a citizen of the world, that American Exceptionalism is correct. I can't understand his position, considering that an ordained Christian minister maybe should be for the whole world like its Creator is, but maybe that's just, like, my opinion.

I hold it because I do consider myself a citizen of the world, and maybe that's why at a place where my mom could have bought me any neat little bauble, she chose a British rock band's. Granted, she and I have bonded over the Beatles, but we also share healthy, American appreciations for James Taylor, Carol King and non-coked up Neil Young (who's Canadian, but I didn't know that until just now).

Not my favorite

Huckabee's right in that there are a lot of great things about America, but there are a lot of great things about a lot of countries (not so much with Azerbaijan, but you can't win them all), and I'm going to embrace that every time I protect my table from condensation. Here's to being a citizen of the world.

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