Saturday, October 13, 2007

Conservatives Accuse Google of Being Unpatriotic on Columbus Day

Among the stupidest crap I've heard in recent months in the accusation (reported by CBS) that Google is unpatriotic because of the events it choose to draw attention to (or not draw attention to) by altering its logo.

The LA Times is among the sources that have picked up the story. A conservative web site is criticizing Google for acknowledging the 50th anniversary of sputnik in its logo design last week. The website complains that Google has never altered its logo for Veterans Day or Memorial Day. The sputnik was, well, communist. Google changes its logo regularly and has commemorated such dates, according to CBS, as "World Water Day, Persian New Year, painter Edvard Munch's birthday and China's Dragon Boat festival."

The idea that this discussion started around Columbus Day seems especially ironic to me. I'm not sure what's patriotic about Columbus Day. Columbus was an Italian working for Spain. He discovered Cuba, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and the U.S. Virgin Islands. My school system doesn't give kids the day off (which means I work), but my bank closes (so I can't cash my paycheck that day) and the mail doesn't run. To me the holiday is an inconvenience. Perhaps his trips would have been more meaningful if Leif Ericson hadn't discovered mainland North America over 500 years before Columbus. But I digress...

A couple of thought occur to me. One is that Google's logo is a type of pop art. The Conservatives who are complaining about it want to judge pop art based primarily on political correctness. That attitude and approach is part of what has led to the decline of pluralism in America. We don't tolerate people who think of act differently very well any more.

The other thought that occurs to me is that making Memorial Day and Veterans Day a measure of patriotism is a symptom of the narrow view of patriotism Conservatives take. Patriotism is about guns and war and beating the enemy to Conservatives. I'm not anti-military by any stretch; but I think patriotism is about more than war and uniforms. I agree with John Edwards: it's time to be patriotic about something other than the war...

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