REAL VS. REEL – Richard Walter Commentary in The Script Lab

In a Los Angeles Times op-ed piece Mark Oppenheimer writes (appropriately enough on July 4th) of symbolism run amok: he complains specifically about flag-waving replacing true and thoughtful patriotism. [Full disclosure: At my house on national holidays and—displaced New Yorkers that we are—also on September 11th we proudly fly stars and stripes.]

In the late ‘80s when the Supreme Court declared flag-burning to be expression protected under the First Amendment, self-described patriots went ballistic. 

I heard a veteran’s son remark, “My father died for that flag.”

God bless the soldier for his service and sacrifice. That said, however, it was not a symbol– the flag– for which he died but that for which the symbol stands: the nation.

There’s the problem right there: We’re so inundated with media that people can no longer tell the difference between symbols and what the symbols represent.

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