Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Britney Spears in the Refuge of Scoundrels?

Samuel Johnson once said; "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." I'm sure the "patriotism" Johnson was talking about is that variety practiced by Messr's Bush, Ashcroft and company. One only has to look at the fine print of the "Patriot Act" to see that the very fabric of our constitutional democracy is being rent for short-term gain. In fact, the very website, "Preserving Life and Liberty"*, set up to alleviate our fears might possibly be one of its creepier aspects. Take this little gem for example:

"Historically, terrorists and spies have used libraries to plan and carry out activities that threaten our national security. If terrorists or spies use libraries, we should not allow them to become safe havens for their terrorist or clandestine activities."

Historically? Of course, they give no examples of these nefarious library activities in American history. I suppose, to Mr. Ashcroft's mind, libraries ARE dangerous places, what with them being full of ideas – many of them contradicting his narrow views.

Another outstanding patriot I would like to salute today is the Queen of Pop Tarts – Britney Spears. In a recent interview, Ms. Spears took time out from removing even more of her clothing, snogging with Madonna, and singing badly to give the following piece of sage political advice:

“I think we should just trust the president in every decision he makes,” she told CNN, “and we should just support that, and be faithful in what happens.”

Every decision? This, of course, would be laughable except it reflects the views of a surprising majority of citizens in this country, if the polls are to be believed. It is exactly this kind of "monarchial patriotism", as Mark Twain described it, that gets people to march on the Reichstag and wear really tasteless uniforms. Fortunately, most Americans still don't have much of a penchant for dressing up, much less marching and saluting.

Still, if we see Britney decked out in her next video in black leather, knee-high boots, riding crop, and SS victory runes, we'll know where it's coming from.



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