Monday, January 24, 2005

A New Pledge...?

Does Wiley's Non Sequitur feature a new Pledge of Allegiance, or did he simply give words to a subconscious understanding that has permeated our society? I've posted the first panel of the strip to give you the basic idea. Click the image to view the rest of today's strip (which will only be available for a week or so):

Pledging Allegiance Click to read full comic strip...

In case you miss it, the entire pledge reads:
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the corporate states of America. And to the Republicans for which it stands, one nation, under debt, easily divisible, with liberty and justice for oil."
There is also a Katie Couric slam which is tied to a general slam against network news. I guess that is the real punchline, but I think it soft pedals the message behind this pledge. In my opinion, Wiley should have been a bit stronger with the implied message of the first two panels (which cover the pledge). The young girl reciting this pledge -- and doing so voluntarily, almost gleefully -- sends a not so subtle hint that we as a society should not harbor any illusions that school age children are not picking up on the "lessons" that the current culture of greed pushes into the collective consciousness. If we ignore the affect on children, we do so at our peril. We cannot leave the cleanup to the next generation -- particularly if that generation has been taught to revel in the excesses of the current one. There is another point here, one that Wiley most likely did not intend to make. The strip itself buys into a common oversimplification of issues as "the current administration, all Republicans, and corporate America are bad, bad, bad, and the USA is going down the crapper with the media playing tour guide." The little girl in today's strip is a reminder of the fact that kids can pick up on this oversimplification and really digest it to the point that it becomes part of their worldview. And this will fuel future generations of partisan politics. [Not that there isn't at least a grain of truth in the oversimplification; but it is kind of an easy target for the funny pages.]

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