Links: Immigrant experience science fiction; principal calls FBI over flag-tossing; Sriracha doesn't want trademarks

Two of these should make you smile, one should make you shake your head.

☣ School Principal Contacts FBI After Student Throws American Flag Out A Window [Techdirt]
Middle School Principal Robert Archuleta from Espanola, NM thinks that there's a federal statute against flag desecration. He's wrong. He thinks veterans died to defend the flag. He's wrong about that too. People die to defend the things the flag symbolizes, like the First Amendment.

☣ Sriracha Boss On Trademark: Mmmmm, No Thanks [Techdirt]
Huy Fong Foods CEO David Tran never filed a trademark on his family's famous Sriracha sauce, and he doesn't plan on it either: he sees every Sriracha-alike as a compliment and validation for his products. No one else in the industry (including the goofy people in the C-suite at Tobasco) can figure it out. Tran does a daily search to look for new Sriracha-style products, each of which brings a smile to his face. (see also)

☣ How to Live on Other Planets: A Handbook for Aspiring Aliens
The first sf anthology about the immigrant experience, featuring Sarah Pinsker, Nisi Shawl, Ken Liu, Bryan Thao Worra’, and Pinckney Benedict. Pre-order on Amazon now.

Notable Replies

  1. You lost me at "desecrate a symbol". That's ISIS/Daesh talk. A symbol of a human institution is not sacred, so it cannot be desecrated. And in the absence of proof of the existence of the god of any particular religion, symbols of that religion are not sacred and can't therefore be desecrated either. Desecration is a concept that belongs with prescientific societies (and is often used, as in Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and under Daesh as a method of social control by the old men in charge.)

    Two things:
    First, a quote which I was going to add to the original story but had already been beaten to:
    "A moth eaten rag on a worm eaten pole,
    It does not seem likely to stir a man's soul.
    'Tis the deeds that were done 'neath that moth eaten rag
    When the pole was a staff and the rag was a flag."

    And, second, the Zen Buddhist story of the Zen teacher who turns up at a monastery and is invited to deliver the sermon, which he announces will be about the perfected beings (Arhats).
    He climbs into the pulpit,surveys the audience, and announces
    "What can we say about the Arhats? They are like a dirty toilet!"

  2. I never understood the flag burning dilemma. The flag is a symbol that represents an principle. Destroying or harming the symbol does not hurt or destroy the the principle. If one went to the New York subway or the London tube and stole a sign would the trains stop? There is no greater sign of the principle of freedom than a government being unable to stop you from burning a flag. Burn a hundred and the principle is just reinforced. I hope all veterans do not think they served a piece of cloth, because that can be destroyed. What they fought for can only be destroyed by forgetting our principles.

  3. If I remember correctly, the section that would apply here only says what "should" be done, applies no penalties, and is provided "for the use of" civilians. Since it's a little difficult to have a law against something that doesn't have any penalty, the author's description would be essentially correct. And that's before considering the court rulings that applying a penalty would conflict with the first amendment.

  4. To use your wedding ring analogy, if someone grabbed my wedding ring and smashed it, it would demand a response because it was my property, and had a tangible connection to me. My wife presented that ring to me. If that ring was smashed, my feeling for my wife would be unaffected, but my ring is gone. If someone cast an exact duplicate of my wedding ring, and then, in my presence smashed it, that would not move me at all.

    The next point to remember is respect can never be demanded. Stopping flag burning does not mean people respect your nation. No flag burner, or sign carrier has ever harmed American, or any countries ideals.

  5. You do know that the US Flag Code is essentially a set of suggestions. There are no penalties for not following it, and Supreme Court has said that any attempt to apply penalties would be in violation of the 1st Amendment.

    And to quote a former Commandant of West Point (as best as I can recall) when asked about flag burning, "Every American soldier who has ever died in any war, died for the right to burn the flag."

    He got it. You don't.

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