The Good, the Bad and the F*@%! Irritating!

By By Jennifer Mitchell

By Jennifer Mitchell

My commute to work on Saturday was no chore. The drive up Park City?s main street was absolutely breathtaking. Autumn touched trees framed the long row of American flags waving high in the air, and a huge ?grand finale? flag was draped over the bridge at the street?s end.

An instantaneous and uncontrolled smile stretched across my face at the sight?an expression that I am sure appeared as a cross between a prideful grin and an all-terrorists can-kiss-my-ass smirk.

I decided right then that I was going to have my own flag, damn it?go USA!

I learned later that day that finding a flag, of whatever sort, was no problem. On my way home, I stopped in at the outlet stores to do some shopping.

At the very front of the first store I walked into was a table of baby T?s (little tight T-shirts for you men out there) with an American flag across the front and ?Sept. 11-Guess? Jeans? written below.

Frighteningly enough, I started to say ?Ewwe, cute!? in typical female shopper fashion?before reason smacked me in the face.

All right, there is a big difference between having a flag outside of your house or on your car and giving into what is, in my opinion, consumer exploitation of a tragic occurrence.

It is a difficult line to draw, though, because while people want their ?Sept. 11? T-shirts, those who sell such items appear to be cashing in on the vulnerability of patriotically charged consumers.

The coffee shop?or coffee corporation some would say?that I work for, gave a substantial hunk of cash to the relief effort.

I was somehow bothered, though, by the fact that we posted a sign reading ?We gave one million dollars. We care.? It?s like saying, ?We are good, and gave money, so you should buy lots of coffee.?

After thinking about it for a while, I realized that my irritation was somewhat ridiculous.

America is a capitalist society, and it is capitalizing on whatever it can?so what? As long as I am spending three-fifty on my soy latte everyday, I have little room to complain.

Besides, it is comforting that we are back to good ol? consumer manipulation as normal.

Returning to ?normal? is, in fact, the central and most complicated theme in this whole disaster. Every previously normal aspect of American life is now a touchy subject.

I have heard Bill Maher say far more offensive things on ?Politically Incorrect? than calling American war strategies cowardly, and yet, in the current social climate, heis lucky to be alive.

We expect comedians and talk show hosts to tread lightly right now, but we will have to calm down if we want to move on.

If they don?t have the tact and good sense to ease back into their punch lines, just let them offend people; it will only make the nationalistic spirit that much greater.

Let Jay Leno continue his jokes about how Bill Clinton (when will it stop!) sleeps in as many beds as Osama Bin Laden; it only helps my argument that David Letterman is better.

As we all attempt to get back on our feet, we can?t reject that it is American?good or bad. If the networks want to entice viewers by making their logos red, white and blue permanently, it?s fine with me.

Comedians who offend us have also entertained us, so I say let it fly?at least they will create a heated argument somewhere.

I live in this over-spending, over-weight and often irreverent country and, to be honest, I wouldn?t want it any other way. If returning to normal means regressing to our old vices, more power to us.

Jennifer welcomes feedback at:[email protected]