Sunday, July 01, 2007

Take Down the Union Jack, It Clashes with the Sunset, And Put it In the Attic with the Emperor's Old Clothes

This weekend I finished The Progressive Patriot, A Search for Belonging by Billy Bragg, an excellent read, history through storytelling, and the man certainly has further etched his mark as one of my heroes. An English buddy of mine Neil introduced his work to me, at first glace he seems 'unpatriotic'.....I don't get that message, what I get is a detailed version of what it means to love where you're from, and to be proud of it, to be an individual, without all nationalistic rhetoric. I guess many people from different places will take different things from the narrative.

The sleeve of the book --
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Britannia, she's half English, She speaks Latin at home....St George was born in the Lebanon, How he got here I don't Know....And those three lions on your shirt, They never sprang from England's dirt....Them lions are half English, And I'm half English too.
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BB prides himself on being 'anglo-saxon'.....why? It was a time of simplicity, a time of meaning, a clear message of what it meant to be anglo-saxon. As things have evolved, everyone and their dog has used the Union Jack as a battle cry for their appropriate causes. The lush history of England lends itself to make the flag ambiguous, all because over time it has taken on so much meaning.

Symbolism and nationalism, where is it all going? What is the stance for people against globalization? Where is the identity? I often hear people brag about their countries, these are the people who get out and get around, however, the majority of a nations citizens never see past their own borders. What does their flag mean to them, and what 'percentage' of their proposed meaning is actually representative of the true history and heritage of the symbol? Once a country has some years behind it, and flexes on the foreign or domestic playing field, what it means to be a(n) *insert your nationality here* takes on different meanings. Throw a layer of partisan poison in the mix, individual identity and responsibility are lost.

To me, its a book that speaks of history, culture, heritage, individualism and great storytelling. Don't you wish everything kept up with Web 2.0, for instance politics 2.0, culture 2.0, etc, etc? Why isn't it cool in other facets? Well Billy Bragg makes it cool. :-)

1 comment:

Robyn said...

hey robert. robyn here. i need your address so i know where to mail things to.