026: American Idol Worship


(American History F-ed #3) The third installment in a series of shows about government school's history curriculum. We'll explore the lies, myths, omissions and distortions used to indoctrinate blind patriotism (aka nationalism aka mysticism).

Critical Thinking Question:
How does the supposed mistreatment of a piece of cloth by the owner of said piece of cloth become a more serious offense than the violation of the property rights of the owner of this cloth?

The Pledge of allegiance. Enough said.

1. An image used as an object of worship. A false god.
2. One that is adored, often blindly or excessively.
3. Something visible but without substance.
[Middle English, from Old French idole, from Late Latin dlum, from Greek eidlon, phantom, idol, from eidos, form; see weid- in Indo-European roots.]

Bumper Music:
"Nothingness" Living Colour

Look Closer:
The Strange Origin of the Pledge of Allegiance

Rockland residents outraged by auto dealer's upside-down flag

Upside down flag causes controversy


"Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen

McCain, National Socialist "POW Story About The Pledge Of Allegiance" Speech

Jason Osborne's Movie "Chartarum" (Teaser)

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  1. Dear Brett,

    In one of your older podcasts I have recently listened to for the first time (0:26 American Idol Worship) from your American History F’ed series, you asked for a high school student’s story of how not standing up in order to pledge allegiance to a flag was received by the school’s authority figures.
    Previous to knowing of your work, I had shared with my two children, who are 9 and 11 years old, how as a junior in high school I boycotted the pledge. My English teacher tried to admonish and humiliate me but I argued atheism and not liking the God terminology and she decided to shut up and leave me alone.
    My daughter, who is eleven, loved the idea and of her own volition (on the 4th day of 6th grade) decided to test out this theory. I was unaware of this happening until after the fact. The story ensues as follows:
    The school my children attend is a public school. My daughter’s sixth grade is contained in middle school. The pledge is announced first thing during homeroom. Her homeroom teacher is also her Math teacher. When the pledge was announced this day, my daughter opted to remain in her seat. According to my daughter, the teacher gave her a funny glance because she happened to be seated directly beneath the flag. The child also happened to be seated right next to the doorway. This allowed a teacher’s aide to witness my daughter’s nonconformity and upon seeing that decided to rush into the classroom and physically grab her arm and force her to stand up. The aide then asked my daughter her name which she answered and in reply the aide said “Oh I know you Tapias.” (This statement baffled me a little since I am aware of knowing exactly zero people who work as a teacher’s aide.) The aide then threatened my daughter with being sent to the principal’s office.
    When my daughter arrived home that day, she relayed this story to me. The rest of that day and the next day was spent being ridiculed and harassed by the aide. The harassment increased in a juvenile fashion after I had sent a note to the homeroom teacher asking her to work out a win-win solution with my daughter and to please ask the aide to refrain from placing her hands on my child in order to force her to stand up. The teacher responded graciously to my note, phoning me in the afternoon and thanking me for letting her know where my daughter was coming from and the two of them were able to work out a solution.
    The aide, on the other hand, spent the 2 days bullying my child, telling her she was disrespectful, scarey and generally giving her a hard time.
    My husband and I were so shocked by the aide’s reaction that he decided to broach the subject with coworkers and friends. Some coworkers were respectful of children’s will but most were aghast at the thought of a child being “disrespectful”. He also decided to ask a couple we have known for 2 decades their thoughts on a student not wanting to say the pledge. The wife is a high school physics teacher. (They are both naturally loud people.) This question somehow increased her volume and she vehemently opposed any child from being so disrespectful to not want to stand and say the pledge. She proudly exclaimed, “I will force them to stand!” Her official reasoning for being so angry about such a “lack of respect” was this, “It’s in the handbook!” This conversation was very distressing to this woman, so much so that she visibly sat quietly and recomposed herself for a few minutes. I felt bad for her, however my respect for this woman diminished greatly. Her husband also got angry and shouted at my husband and myself, “It’s disrespectful! Like wearing a hat at a funeral!” The first sentiment was clearly a knee-jerk reaction but the latter half was just plain weird. Clearly this man has heard of fedoras and women who wear hats with veils on them to funerals, has he not?
    Also, while writing this letter to you I have been playing online poker. During this time I have posed the question to poker players at my tables who come from all over the world, “How many Americans get angry when someone does not stand up and say the pledge of allegiance?” Not surprisingly, most Americans respond, “I do.” And then when I question that with a “Why?”, their immediate response is “it’s disrespectful” and “if you don’t like it, leave.”
    This is my family’s story regarding the pledge of allegiance and I am very proud to know that my eleven year old daughter has better thought processes than most online poker players and teacher’s aides.

  2. This was a great podcast, high lighting the current mindset of society in the USA. Without questioning the actions of specific events based on the “nationalism” instilled in the populous, Brett simply presents the cases as is and lets you come to your own conclusion.

    Edward Bellamy seems to be quite the character, it reminds me of the movie ‘Citizen Kane’. There is no doubt that the media has been granted way to much power than deserves. His magazine ‘The Nationalist’ and book ‘Looking Backward’ and all of his other works seems to fit perfectly in extending the notion of Carl Marx’s work from what I have read in review online. So it’s very clear not that we can “look back” on the history of literature what was going on. Ironically with all this information available to each and every USA citizen who is placed in a position agains their free will, ironically, the character of the average citizen is not developed in such a way to see the facts as they stand. This falls quite well in the new term found after Trumps election being ‘Post Truth’ age, it’s not about truth it’s about emotion, society seems to have digressed to emotional unstable children.

    It’s interesting to read MayaShimmyPop’s experience with here two daughters, it just goes to show that all of the principles and truths that are pasavely imposed on people are nothing more than just children imaginary play play scenarios that we all are forced to play along with. I can’t help wonder what I would do if I was in her situation but from what I can see the best thing to do would be to either leave the entire institution; country, job, family everything to get away from it or let your kinds know that they need to pretend it’s just a fantasy, which it is, and not take it seriously just to fit in until they get out of the crazy house. If I reflect back to my years in school, I hated all of it, but instead of fighting it I got along to be left along and this in a sense bought me the “space” for me to do the things I really wanted to do, it was a complicated matter because my parents did not see the schooling system in the same light that I did, so I would have both the schooling system and the parents against me if I showed any opposition.

    As I was listening to Brett, I thought to myself that this “Nationalism” thing is not mach different than a religion, or for that matter the idea that neanderthals started to believe in the after life through burial ceremonies. As I write this, I realize that there is a side of me that wants to feel like I’m part of the greater “Whole” and that the “Whole” supports me in what I am. This starts to play in the psyche of the mind, most of all this feeds off the ego and the need to belong, it’s a child like quality that pushes humans to deal with insecurities and fears, though entire process leads populations into the heard mentality which is then used against each other, it’s a self monitoring system putting neighbour against neighbour.

    Socialism is a sign of a sick system of individuales who are unable to look after their own and are still in infantile mind sets, the challenge comes that the current condition of global societies are filled with damaged individuals based on the history of prior generations. Simply even if we wanted to implement a kind of self governing society, we are generations away from the actual materialization of that and as a populous parents in the majority are far removed from thinking in terms of intergenerational progression because the majority of humans are currently seeking a better life now for themselves and are not willing to sacrifice their comfort for their children. Until parents start to change their attitudes towards the way they spend time with their children and see the process of intergenerational progress as a cause to participate in, children are not going to be given the chance to fully develop themselves and their full potential.

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