Pre-July 4 special: “English only” video insults U.S. flag

June 29, 2007

Okay. I’ve had five or six people send me links to a YouTube video of Ron and Kay Rivoli singing “Press One for English.” Ha. Ha.

It’s a rant about language accommodations. Some Americans, free marketeers for the most part, get all buggy when confronted with a free market in language choices. America is becoming more global, marketing more goods in more places, and getting visited by more people. This growth in commerce brings things like American Airlines’ Spanish language reservations center (Who would have thought? When they can make reservations in Spanish, Spanish speakers buy a lot more airplane tickets.)

And Ron and Kay Rivoli put these fears into a song. Funny.

Can we talk? Can I pick a bone? Ron and Kay Rivoli insult the U.S. flag. They may not mean to do it, they may have done it unthinkingly — but that’s the problem with the whole rant: It’s all unthinking.

Here are the flag insults:

  1. 44 seconds into the video three servicemen are shown saluting the U.S. flag, displayed with the flag of California and the POW-MIA flag. Contrary to the Flag Code and good flag etiquette, the U.S. flag is in the center, rather than to its own right. A center display would be acceptable if the center flag pole were higher than the others — but in this case the U.S. flag’s pole is lower than the other two. Two flag insults at once.
  2. At 2:59 into the video, the flag is shown as cut into an agricultural field of some kind. The Flag Code specifies that the flag is never to be displayed flat. The flag should fly free. Since this flag is cut into a crop on the ground, it cannot be displayed properly. Further, it is generally considered poor etiquette to make representations of the flag out of things other than cloth.

This is all highly ironic. At 1:37 into the video, a scroll of the famous Theodore Roosevelt quote on English as the only language scrolls by. “We have room for but one flag, the American flag,” Roosevelt said (oops — there goes the POW-MIA flag). “We have room but for one language, and that is the English language,” Roosevelt continues.

They use the flag they insult as a model for going for one language? This makes no sense.

Do I pick nits? No, I think that every educated American should know the flag code, and should avoid insult to the U.S. flag at least, if not honor it correctly. I am not pedantic about a lot of things, but this is one.

Ron and Kay Rivoli, you owe America and its flag apologies. Get straight with the flag, before you ask me to insult the traditional languages and free enterprise heritage of our nation. If you want my support, don’t tread on the American flag when you ask it.

The Rivolis owe apologies to the U.S. flag. Will we see it?


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