Monday, July 7, 2008

The Fourth in Boston

When it comes to patriotic holidays like the one we were just raked over, I'm more like a Jew at Christmas. I'd prefer to spend the time in a movie theater or Chinese restaurant.

It's not that I don't love my country. Albeit, I feel I'm patriotic in the same way I feel I'm spiritual: I don't have to wear either one on my sleeve by waving a flag or participating in organized religion.

It's just seems we do the dumbest things in the name of patriotism.

Because we did move nearer to Boston so we could just jump on the subway at a whim and do all things Boston, we did go to the Boston Pops Extravaganza on Friday night. The next day the Boston Globe declared it was the best Fourth ever, which gives you an idea of just how low that paper has sunk: It's now right on par with your weekly shopper.

The whole affair was pretty lame, and a big part of it was downright disorganized, but good lord, we can't actually say that, can we? Leaving that night in the crush of people (most of whom it seemed were young and white), I was thankful a crisis didn't occur. People would have been crushed. The exits were small and limiting for such a large number of people. It's just Boston's way, though. It's not New York, never was, never will be, as much as it tries.

They used to shoot off fireworks while the Boston Pops played the 1812 overture, which was so cool. The combination of the music and the fireworks really was awesome--in the true meaning of that word, and not the way it's been reduced to just a filler word.

Now, they fire some cannons and let off a few fireworks, take an intermission, then show the Boston Pops playing the 1812 overture on video.

The Pops still play a lot of the usual patriotic songs that you'd hear around bandstands of yore, like God Bless America and Take Me Out To The Ballgame. Take Me Out To The Ballgame? Don't ask me.

Rascal Flatts was the BIG DRAW, a band that I would actually cross the street to avoid. There were 50,000 people there, and 49, 998 were boogying to Life is a Highway. Sue and I were appalled.

We kept asking ourselves what our country has come to. From sea to shining sea we seem to have been reduced to people who can't wrap their heads around anything more complicated than the most base and simple concepts and arts.

The fireworks were cool, but since the last time I saw them, a few years ago, they've moved the barge farther upriver. Not a big deal, but halfway through the display the smoke from the explosives obscured a lot of the remaining fireworks. That was inadvertently kind of cool, though I heard a couple of people around me complain. I thought the fireworks began taking on the character of the pictures you see of galaxies in outer space, filled with smoke and stars and light.

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