Thursday, January 25, 2007

Administrators at Wisconsin high school struggle to tell bad USA from good USA

Talk about the eye of the beholder -- nearly four years into an increasingly unpopular war, it was bound to come down to something like this. The exuberant chants of blind patriotism that accompanied the exultant, early days of the war are long behind us. It's reached the point where school administrators in Baraboo, Wisconsin have made national headlines for banning the USA chant for signifying a vulgar expletive, apparently unable to distinguish the bad USA and the good USA.
Administrators have discouraged student fans from shouting the "U.S.A." cheer, which some use as a three-word acronym beginning with "You" directed at the opposing team. Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association rules state only cheers supporting one's own team are permitted.

Students have said that the chant began innocently and not everyone uses it as a smear. But administrators said once they became aware of its hidden message — and other teams complained about Baraboo's poor sportsmanship — it had to stop.
How to distinguish the bad USA from the good USA? The rule is clear, according to Channel 15 in Madison.
Students are allowed to say USA only after the national anthem, if they use it any other time they will be punished.
Imagine -- being punished for saying USA. Kind of makes you wonder -- do words mean what they say or what people say they say? Have our patriotic slogans become so drained of meaning through overuse that we can no longer distinguish the authentic from the counterfeit? Is this how the American empire enters its decline -- not with a bang, not with a whimper, but in a tangle of double entendre?

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