Richard Frisbie
Author, advertising and
publishing consultant, former
editor of
Chicago and other
magazines, former creative
director of Campbell-Ewald and
other advertising agencies. For
more information, click here. Or
Who's Who in America or,

Margery Frisbie
Consulting editor, historian, poet
and author of several books. For
more information,  click here or

The Uncommentator
BLOGS and GLOBS:  I have
been writing a blog since 1966,
only I didn't know  it. In those
days, it came out in the form of a
newsletter on paper. Remember
paper? It never got lost in
cyberspace, although if it got wet
enough blog turned into glob. I
called it
The Uncommentator,
and tried to make it amusing.  To
read some of my favorites, see

Recent Books by the Frisbies.

No. 141

When the Supreme Court defined flag desecration as a form of free speech, protestors across the nation lost interest in flag burning. In a search of national newspaper and magazine indexes, I could find only four incidents in recent years. But there's a perennial push in Congress to amend the Constitution specifically to deal with this almost non-existent "atrocity."

The supporters haven't thought through the likely consequences. If it again becomes
illegal to desecrate a piece of striped cloth, people who want to attract attention will take another look at creative uses for the flag. There's a great new business opportunity here.

Someone surely will start manufacturing a line of protest flags that look enough like
the real thing to agitate the super "patriots," but are not legally the Flag of the United States. If you can stir up the American Legion without getting arrested, why get hauled off to jail, where the bunks are uncomfortable and you won't like the food?

The American flag was defined in 1912. The width is 1.9 times the height. Each of the red and white stripes is 1/13th of the height. The blue field is seven stripes deep. Its width is equal to the height of the flag times 0.76.

The mail order catalog for a Protest Flags Company would offer flags that don't quite
fit these specifications. The company would have to issue illustrated receipts with each sale, so if you burn a trick flag you'll still have evidence to show the judge that what you desecrated wasn't really THE flag.

Some possible items for a market that would embrace both conservatives and liberals:

* For tax protestors complaining about blood-sucking tax rates -- a flag with little
droplets of red blood in place of the stars.

* For artists defending the National Endowment for the Arts -- a square flag (for the
squares who want to abolish the NEA).

* For the let's-pray-in-public-school crowd -- a flag with black and blue stripes (might as well have some old-fashioned discipline too).

* For people opposed to mandatory sentencing and other elements of the police state apparatus that locks up a record percentage of our fellow Americans -- a flag with vertical stripes to symbolize jail bars.

* For environmentalists -- a flag with no stars, just a gray rectangle in the corner to
symbolize the sky you can't see because of air pollution by day and light pollution by night.

* For people who, in the context of our real problems, can't take the proposed
amendment seriously -- a flag with smiley faces in place of the stars.

* For people who believe that the freedom of expression guaranteed by the Bill of
Rights is what the flag truly symbolizes -- also a genuine American flag with all the right colors and proportions and stripes and stars. Long may it wave.

Richard Frisbie


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