It’s (not) Flag Day.

When I was a kid I was assigned “Flag-Duty”, which basically meant that me and a classmate were responsible for raising and lowering the flag at our elementary school.  We were taught the special way to fold it and everything was fine, until one day the wind caught it when we were folding it and a corner of the flag touched the ground and my co-flag-folder lost. her. shit.  Then she confessed to the principal and he got pissy and said that now we’d have to destroy it because it had “touched the ground and been soiled”…which sort of seems like an over-reaction and I was like “Yeah, but it touched AMERICAN soil, so why would that dirty it?  It literally just touched AMERICA. How is that bad?” And then said he was going to have to burn the flag and I was like “You’re going to burn the flag?  Is that even legal?” and he was all “It’s illegal not to, and since you were so careless now we have to buy a new flag.”  But then the next day he gave us the “new” flag and it totally had the same tiny hole in the corner as the last one and it was really obvious that it was the exact same flag, so basically he just made me feel bad for grass existing while he lied about his flag-burning exploits.

I was reminded of all of this because I just saw a painting of Betsy Ross showing George Washington her flag, and she and all of her little child laborers are like “Look at this bad-ass flag we made.  The only thing that would make this better is if we had glitter, except that glitter hasn’t been invented yet.”

Via The Library of Congress, who might be fine with me not crediting them on this one, now that I think about it.

But George Washington is just ignoring all their hard work and he’s glaring at the corner of the flag touching the floor, like “OMG, I can’t trust you bitches for anything” and his compatriots are all “Bitches never have respect for anything.  And, by the way, you’re totally poking your sword into Betsy’s rug.”  And then Washington would be like “WHAT?  I NEVER” and then they’d explain that they meant it literally and not in some weird sexually metaphoric way.  And also, why did the painter purposely paint trash on the ground of her house?  And is that a turtle on a cushion using a cane to turn the pages of a book?  What am I even looking at?

PS. I actually wrote this on Flag Day, but I didn’t publish it then because it seemed like it would be disrespectful.  I mean, not as disrespectful as impaling other people’s rugs while criticizing the work of illegal child-laborers, but close.

295 thoughts on “It’s (not) Flag Day.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. What is that thing on the stepstool? It looks like a mutant horseshoe crab.

  2. Love this! Never understood the burning of a perfectly good flag all because of a little dropsy. God knows we dropped a lot them in Girl Scouts. Now that I think of it…maybe that’s how the camp burned down….

  3. This is not hate mail. I’ve never actually looked this up but I eavesdropped on an online discussion about it once and supposedly the U.S. are the only ones with these rules. P. sure Canada doesn’t care. FLAGS EVERYWHERE!

  4. Surely you can let it touch the ground in a respectful way? (but I’m not American, so maybe I just Don’t Get It)

    And no one is Ever supposed to mention the tortoise in that painting. Even *I* know that.

  5. I think his friends are saying: “I think it’s very becoming. What do you think, George?”
    George: “Well, I don’t know about those red stripes. It would clash with my upholstery!”

  6. Maybe it was all a really clever lesson teaching you not to trust authority figures? Mind = blown. AmIright?

  7. I am now completely focused on that turtle-on-a-stool-reading-a-book-with-a-page-turning-stick. Seriously. Forget the rest of the story of the beginnings of the American flag and tell me wtf is going on with the turtle.

  8. Well here’s some love mail, because this made me laugh so much that my co-workers must wonder what I’m up to.

  9. Flag Day is an under-rated holiday anyway. We should get the day off, and be given large glasses of Red, White, and Blue drinks to celebrate.

  10. When they burn the flag because it is old or was dragged on the ground by a fifth grader they call it “retiring” a flag. But they are burning it. Just not in some giant anti-American protest. Which you can do, too, if you are so inclined.

  11. That’s ridiculous and your principal was an asshole. But thanks for this post – a hilarious read as usual.

  12. My elementary school made us learn “flag rules” every year. And we had to take a test on it. I think they would have failed anyone immediately who allowed even a corner of the flag to touch the ground. Which means that if they had the power, Betsy Ross would retroactively fail elementary school. Take that early American hero.

    I am never going to be able to look at this picture and not wonder about the random turtle now.

  13. I remember getting that lesson when I was in scouts. It confused me as much then as it does now.

  14. It may be a one attenad slug not a turtle. Which is basically a one eyed slug… which also sounds like a weird sexual metaphor.

  15. They make American-flag boxers. I figure if the flag can touch sweaty balls, it can touch dirt.

  16. You’re supposed to turn the flag in to the police or fire station or something for “proper burial” – I solve it by just not flying a flag and then it’s not my problem.

  17. if a painter came and painted me at my house right now he would have to paint stuff on my floor if he wanted the picture to be historically accurate… but that is why I would choose a different painter because no one wants to see that! I want a painter who will replace all that stuff with frolicking unicorns and fairies and stuff and then people will look at the painting of me sitting on my couch working on my laptop surrounded by frolicking unicorns and kittens and fairies and think “wow, she has the best life ever” instead of “wow, that lady needs to pick up her crap and do some laundry”.
    Also no one is allowed to have swords in my house because for sure they would wreck my floors! You just can’t trust people with swords. Yep. Totally meant that.

  18. Don’t let the American flag touch the ground, but put it the image of the flag all over paper plates, cups, and napkins that get thrown away (and sometimes end up on the ground). And turn it into t-shirts, shorts, underwear, and bikinis, because that only shows the highest respect for the flag.

  19. I’m not seeing a turtle. I’m seeing a huge snail sitting on a whip. Which I will never, ever be able to unsee and will be checking under my bed for tonight.

  20. My friend in Australia was baffled at the number of flags in the US last time he visited (and that American’s can’t get out of the car for ANYTHING…apparently they don’t have drive-through liquor stores OR banks in Oz).

    Maybe the turtle is the kids’ nanny, and is ready to cane them for not paying attention to their lessons?

  21. +1 to Callie Leuck’ comment! You Yanks are an amusing bunch. Sincerely, Another Canadian Fan (please note for future book tours, pretty please?)

  22. What they taught us in Girl Scouts, where I also had flag duty, was that it was okay for the flag to touch the ground, you just weren’t supposed to leave it there. And burning or burying the flag are the proper disposal methods.

  23. Your retort about the flag touching American ground = not dirty probably sent that principal home with a one eyed, stabby headache! He may still be trying to work through that in therapy…good job Jenny!

  24. I’m not sure. I think it might be a rabbit . . . I mean, if that’s a turtle, it’s got some Nessie-ness going on. And it can’t have any Nessie-ness because we don’t have lochs in America, which just seems wrong. Those Scots have got it going on. They’re all ‘look at us, we have lochs *and* a Lochness Monster’. And they probably tear up the ground when the ground dares to touch *their* flag.

    Really, it’s shame about our lack of lochs.

  25. Spoiler: Betsy Ross probably didn’t create the American flag. Her story wasn’t told for about 100 years after the adoption of the flag. Who came out with the story? Her grandson. Is any account of Betsy Ross in the extensive memoirs of any of the Founding Fathers? Nope. That Betsy Ross is a big, fat liar. Like your principal.

  26. Note to your friend Neil Gaiman — going back in time to bring glitter to Betsy Ross. That totally NEEDS to be a Doctor Who episode. Please see to it.

  27. I got really upset when we learned the flag rules in school because right after we learned them, the teacher had us color the american flag and i was totally freaked out that i’d be sent to federal prison if i threw my colored flag away or mistreated it.

    I carried it around in my backpack (in a folder, so it didn’t get nasty) until – months later- i realized that the flag rules are arbitrary and the feds had better things to worry about than 3rd graders homework.

  28. To this moment, it cracks me up how absolutely insane people get about the flag and its official and unofficial usage.
    For example, an athlete draping their sweaty body and running around with it in celebration following a gold-medal-ish performance is bad. Like… who knew? Especially since athletes do it all the time.
    Furthermore, all of those cowboy-types with the flag in the back window of their really large trucks are apparently disrespecting the flag, as well.
    It’s crazy. I’m over here, all like, “I’d be happy if more people voted.” I dunno… maybe my patriotism has the wrong priorities?

  29. WTF is that thing on the stool? Now I have to search the internet to see if I can find it.

  30. Your principal was a dick! If he didn’t want it to accidentally touch the ground, for a couple seconds on a wind damned day!, he should have done it himself not put children out there doing it! Way to fuck over the youth of ‘Merica, sir!
    Can we please stop lying to kids to make them feel guilty? Clearly your co-flagger already felt guilty enough to tattle on herself, now she’s probably scared shitless of flags touching the ground and has nightmares of being chased by the burning flag she dropped! Poor girl…

  31. Saw a gigantic flag (hung on a crane) slowly be lowered into a giant Tupperware after a parade once. It had spotters so it wouldn’t touch the ground. It was cool, but part of me still doesn’t get why it’s a big deal. Almost seems superstitious.

  32. Oh geez, that guy must have been a really awesome husband or father. What an asshat.

    And also I’m really glad you mentioned that it was Flag Day because I saw a bunch of random people on the street waving flags over the weekend and I was wondering when the homeless got so patriotic.

  33. why are teachers sometimes, randomly seeming, assholes? Once when I was about 6 a teacher was super pissed someone kept kicking the ball over the fence on purpose, she told me if i was to see who had done that, I should tell. So I knew it was this snarky, little ass and when she kicked the ball over the fence again, I told my teacher. And that bitch stood me in the corner for tattling on the ball kicker. I tried to plead my case, but since she was the only teacher I didn’t have much of one. So, to this day I distrust all teachers. No not really, but I got my eye on them and if someone kicks a ball over the fence I am mum on the whole subject. “what ball?”

  34. Knowing that you grew up in Texas, I can’t help but wonder is you’re talking about the US flag, or the Lone Star flag. I imagine the rules were stricter for the Lone Star one.


  35. It’s always made me laugh how Betsy Ross and the girls are like, “Look at the pretty flag we have made for you!” And George Washington’s all like, “Hey, that’s pretty awesome!” but the other dudes are all, “Huh? What flag? What are we looking at? Where is it?” looking out the window, into the room, straight ahead, EXCEPT at the flag LOL

  36. That dude in the rust jacket in the back is saying, “Yeah, yeah… nice flag, but take a look at my schlong! I totally tried that nutmeg tea and holy shit, you guys!

  37. I see the object on the lower right hand stool as a funky colonial hat with a stick under it. Odd. Maybe they were playing soldier, Humm. But, what the hell is under the bottom of the flag? Is there a cat on a chair and they are playing hide and seek with the flag and the cat? No wonder George does not look amused. Rumor has it he didn’t have much of a sense of humor.

  38. We totally did this as sixth graders in elementary school. There were always two of us and we were responsible for a week at a time. We were careful, but damn, this is too much! What an asshole of a principal!!

  39. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to look at this painting the same ever again, without wondering about Betsy and George’s possibly implied love affair!

  40. A lot of the flags you see on clothing and such are not accurate depictions of the flag, so they don’t violate the Flag Code since technically it’s not really the American flag.

    One thing I like about the Flag Code is that if some idiot goes “you’re being disrespectful of the flag”, both of you have a set of printed rules to point to and say, “OK, this is what it means to be disrespectful.” It’s a great weapon against right-wing idiots who yell at hippies for burning the flag in protest (Flag Code says burning a flag is an acceptable form of disposal) but then fly flags from their SUVs (violation of the Flag Code for a few different reasons, like you shouldn’t fly a flag at night without shining a light on it, for example). If the Code weren’t there, there’d be more to argue about. The Code simplifies things.

    Your principal was still a jerk though. Best way to avoid the flag touching the ground is to not give over care of the flag to kids who are barely *taller* than the flag in the first place.

  41. Look at her face. She’s all like, “Fuck you, George. Touched the ground? Fine… I’ll just burn this shit NOW!” She’s totally headed toward the fireplace. Dudes are all back there like, “Whoa…bitch is crazy…whatchoo gonna do now, homie?” And all this foul language in front of the children.

    And aren’t there American flag condoms? Talk about sacrilege.

  42. I was just thinking about this not too long ago. When I went to camp in the summer, the different ages of girl scouts would lower the flag at the end of the day. I remember they would say they’d have to burn the flag if it touched the ground, but I KNOW that on more than one occasion it did, and I can’t imagine they just had stacks of flags hanging around camp for when it was inevitably dropped. I was pondering it recently (because at the ages of 8-11 I never questioned it) and I’m quite certain it was NOT destroyed. BUT the camp went so far as to play “Taps” if it had touched the ground to make us all think they were having a flag funeral after we returned to our campgrounds.

  43. The turtle needed the cane because his paws are too short to reach the edge of the page to turn it.

  44. Everything. Is. Better. With. Glitter.
    The sooner everyone, including irreverent crafters, realize this, the sooner the world will be a safer place.

  45. I was always taught when destroying a flag by burning it you are supposed to cut the Union (the blue part with the stars) from the stripes, thus no longer making it a US flag… Or something like that.

    I do get twitchy when I see people hang the flag backwards on their house… (for the record, if you’re hanging the flag either vertically or horizontally, as opposed to having it on a flagpole, you’re supposed to hang it with the Union in the upper left corner. If it’s in a window you’re supposed to hang it as it’s visible from the outside. If it’s hung where it can be seen from both sides the Union should be to the north or west.)

  46. Not hate mail at all here 🙂 So the rule is that the flag can touch the ground, but out of respect for it most people try not to touch the ground with it or if it does, try to pick it up shortly after.

    Regarding burning the flag to get rid of it. When a flag is worn out (not just because it touches the ground) it is supposed to be retired by first being disassembled (take the stripes apart so that you have 13 individual stripes and the blue field with stars) and then burned. The logic is that you are not burning the flag as it has been disassembled and is no longer an American flag (not sure who came up with this logic, but there it is).

    Oh, and not just anyone can retire a flag. It has to be a branch of the military, girl scouts, cub scouts or boy scouts. I think that’s it unless I am missing someone.

  47. Burning a flag is legal (part of freedom of speech), but it has to be done with the proper ceremony. Also, oddly enough, it is considered disrespectful to sing along with the National Anthem. You are also not supposed to put the American flag anywhere that is not a flag pole, so all those Americana shirts and things shouldn’t be made. Americans are kinda weird.
    P.S. Jenny you make my days so much better!

  48. That thing reading the book looks like it has the head of an armadillo on the body of a horseshoe crab. WTF IS IT? Also, your principal was a dick.

  49. So, as a Girl Scout I participated in several flag burning ceremonies (that’s the key, by the way: it has to be CEREMONIAL and then it isn’t illegal). They were actually very lovely and moving as the flag is gently cut apart into individual stripes and then each is laid on the fire while a reading is done about what that stripe stands for (not just one of the original colonies, they also stand for American values and such) and then the field of blue with stars is the last thing to be put on the fire and the readings are beautiful and will make you feel patriotic and maybe get teary-eyed. It is done carefully, with 2 people holding the flag and another cutting and still another laying the pieces on the fire so the flag is always treated with respect.
    If you have a flag to retire you can also bury it, but the fire ceremony is awesome.
    None of this, of course, excuses your principal for being a douche-canoe. Like….chill dude.

    *insert something funny here so my comment doesn’t seem like a lecture on flag-burning*

  50. The largest American Flag I have EVER seen waves proudly above a very large porn store in Chippewa Falls, WI.

    Also, I think that thing on the footstool is a hat

  51. So I tried to Google “what is on the stool in the birth of old glory” and all I got was information on how to analyze poop. Hmmmm.

  52. when I was in girl scouts we had a rule(?) that you could kiss the flag to “erase” the accidentally touching the ground. Probably more of a practical thing for when working with kids. So you didn’t have to replace your flag every three minutes.

  53. Oh, that’s the turtle that won the race. With the hare! So he’s just sitting there reading a book (and tearing out the pages that he thinks are toally BORING, obviously!) and is waiting for the rabbit to finally show up so he can whip him with his fancy cane. Because, you know, that’s how THAT story ends especially in this version of events for this particular artist who happens to think nothing of flags touching the ground or stabbing swords into carpets.

  54. But who did invent glitter? That’s what I’m left pondering….

    I mean, really Betsy Ross, pull it together and invent glitter. It can’t have been all that hard!!

  55. Love.

    When I was a Girl Scout, we had a ceremonial flag burning at Camp Edie (sorry to name drop like that). It was all fine and well but then they made us go around in a circle and say what the beauty of the burning flag made us think of. I mean…? It’s like the awkwardness of saying what you’re thankful for on Thanksgiving only x 10 because there were like 50 people there and you’re trying not to copy anyone else’s answer and also, it’s stupid.

    Sorry. I, too, have flag baggage. Flaggage.

  56. Your principal was wrong. According to the Flag Code, if it touches the ground you need to pick it up. You shouldn’t purposefully put it on the ground and you shouldn’t leave it on the ground. Only when the flag is damaged beyond the point where it can be flown as a symbol of our country do you need to dispose of it respectfully- burning is the preferred method. The reason behind that? So the enemies (think battle days) won’t find it or dig it up and use it in an undignified manner. Makes sense. And in regards to flags on things that are worn or disposable, they all go against the Flag Code. There is no punishment, as that would go against freedom of speech. So you -can- do these things, but you’re not supposed to and it’s considered disrespectful.

    Not hating, I laughed at your article. Just wanted to clear up some confusion.

  57. You have to burn it if it touches the ground? Fuck!

    Guess this means I’ll have to drape it tastefully over the pile of stuff for the July 4th bonfire.

    Burning a flag on July 4th. Because the law demands I do so. :::shakes head:::

  58. U.S. citizens (almost all of which are conservatives) lurves them dome flag. Because waving it, wearing it and demanding others to do the same requires zero intelligence or effort and is of minimal expense since most of them are made in offshore sweatshops. I have served under them but never for a flag. It guarantees nothing and are rarely soft and absorbent so flags are really only good for markers.

  59. Now I’m obsessed with wanting to know what the thing on the cushion is. Argh!

    Anyone know anything about Art History? The painting is called “Birth of Old Glory” (by Edward Percy Moran) but the interwebs are being unhelpful with any detailed analysis of the painting.

  60. I don’t think that’s a turtle. Betsy’s sex toy, perhaps? Ride ’em, cowgirl!

  61. If I have to dispose of a flag (torn or severely faded), it goes to the local Legion hall. (They have a “retired” postal box painted Red White & Blue for you to drop them, out in front of the building.) Every Flag Day, they dispose of the old flags by burning them. I am not sure if there is a ceremony or something?

  62. There’s a bow, so I’m thinking some lute-related musical instrument, except the neck doesn’t usually bend right at the body, but a bit up. Still no idea why there would be chewed up books on the floor.

  63. Ummm…turtle nor hat. That, my friends, is George Washington’s notorious wooden codpiece.

  64. I was put on flag duty as a kid too and clearly remember the day my pal and I accidentally let the flag touch the ground. We both looked around in wild-eyed panic like we were going to be arrested… lol. 🙂

  65. This is too effing funny. So true. I think at some point that the purpose of respect and the big picture of what the flag represents end up being overtaken by freakish zealotry.

  66. I think it’s a weird short-necked lute, and that’s its bow. No idea why there is chewed up paper around there.

  67. The flag is not supposed to touch anything beneath it. It should also not have a hole in it, so your principal should’ve had it replaced before it ever touched the ground (and then again after it did, though when you have children in charge of the flag I personally think a little leeway should be granted for accidents.)

  68. When I was a Girl Guide (Canadian version of Girl Scouts) I remember being so proud when I was assigned to the colour guard. I took it so seriously that I cried once when I accidentally let a flag touch the ground and an adult laid into me like your principal. (Mean people suck. Way to instill national pride jerk, it was almost enough to make me not want to carry the flag at all…almost.)
    But no way was I going to give up the honour of tying the special knots, keeping the flags in order and most importantly catching the flag (before it touched the ground) should one of us (the flag bearers) be _shot_.
    Seriously? What kind of adult trains a nine year old child what to do if someone shoots at you during a flag ceremony?
    Not that we questioned it for a moment. Nor did we question who would tend to the little girl who had been hypothetically shot, or why someone would want to shoot a little kind holding a flag…although we did have long conversations about what to do with the other flag you were holding and who would jump in to pick up the flag if all three members of the colour guard got shot. (I’m so glad I didn’t have to parent me. Although looking back on it…who was?)

    PS Alissa…Canada totally has flag rules. Less of us know about them…but they are there.

  69. Um, that’s a tortoise – not a turtle – turning the book pages with a cane.

    It’s like you didn’t take American History AT ALL.

  70. “OMG, I can’t trust you bitches for anything” and the Glitter ! LOL!!!!

  71. Glitter!! LMAO 🙂 But for reals… how can anyone take that painting seriously if they’ve ever SEEN Betsy’s flag in the Smithsonian. It’s BIGGER THAN THE ROOM in that painting!! Seriously… like the size of a football field or something. No truth in paintings…. sigh…. LOL

  72. I was on the Honor Guard, too (as they called it at my school) but I don’t remember it ever touching the ground. It still bugs me some to see tattered flags flying at used car dealerships because damn, can’t y’all take care of your flag?

    BTW, I bet if you measured it, George would have the biggest sword in the room.

  73. Washington totally looks like he’s thinking “I hate it. Do I tell her? I don’t want to look like an asshole but I am supposed to be known for my honesty. Fuck it…it’ll be fine.”

  74. I saw “Old Glory” in D.C. Whoever made that was shitty at sewing. P.S. Abraham Lincoln got one of my relatives killed. True story.

  75. It’s Washington’s hat. He was notorious for wearing reptiles on his head.

  76. Yeah flag rules are a bit weird, and it seems like you either give all the shits about them or none of the shits. I think when we started plastering the flag on everything (seriously how many people have EATEN the flag on a cake and that’s ok?) you have to let some things go before seeming silly

  77. All those Patriots including George have the who farted face on!! Really, Stabbing ones rug while a Turtle is watching while trying to read and turn pages with his own swords, is just tacky!!! As for the girl who ratted you out that the Flag touched American Soil, I would send her fruit of the month club items!!! The Principal, if he is still “walking” on American Soil, I would send him a flag pole and note!!! Hang your own flag, your liar, liar pants on fire!!!! So busted you with the same flag the next day! Now onto whom ever copies your photos and doesn’t give you credit..Hmmm they should lose their big toe nails and not be able to wear strappy sandals!
    Who doesn’t love your photos especialy the Cats Spying, Von Trapping and Poor Ferris Mewler being strangles by Thomas Hunter!!!!! Still waiting to catch my own cats von trapping, and I have seven so they are more like a pride so I can send it to you!!! There might be a dog in their as well! She could be “Maria”

  78. My entire life, I’ve been completely haunted by the fact that my mother made the mistake of telling me that I was conceived on Flag Day weekend, and now, FINALLY, I can throw that shitty memory in the closet, because this one is soooooo much better. Thank you…for finally making me laugh about Flag Day, instead of thinking about my parent’s doin’ it.

    Uh oh…it’s back…DAMN IT. Turtles…trash…Betsy’s carpet….annnnnnnnd, it’s better again.

  79. George Washington looks totally Photoshopped into the picture. Either that or the other guys brought a cut-out of George along. I remember reading in school that George Washington had wooden teeth. I always wondered if he was embarrassed by his teeth. Maybe that is why he was not really in the picture – he was too embarrassed by his teeth to leave home.

  80. History learned today:
    1) Betsy was a terrible house keeper, although better than my mother.
    2) Betsy used illegal child labor
    3) Turtles can read
    4) George Washington was kind of a dick

    History NOT learned today:
    Who the hell came up with such a stupid law…

  81. George seems to really, really hate the flag that Betsy designed. But she and Martha are friends, so if he says anything negative and Betsy runs to Martha and tells her that George made her cry, he is totally not getting any until the 19th century. Thus did George Washington invent the phrase FML.

  82. Why didn’t they just leave the flag up all the time?

    (Because flags have to sleep at night. Apparently. ~ Jenny)

  83. I recently read an article about some cooking show suggesting that people use flags to decorate their picnic tables–and the fuss that was made about it being illegal (actually it is not–for most of the flag rules are suggestions and not law).

  84. Your principal was an asswipe, and shouldn’t have been allowed within 50 flag poles of children (or anyone), and apparently scared your co-flag-folder shitless. (Or perhaps he was covering, because he was the thing that was soiled.) I hate people who misuse their power by intimidating others. (Sorry, I have issues.)

  85. *smiles* Loved it… Sadly Betsy Ross didn’t have illegal Child Laborers since the first child labor law was created in 1916. Unless you are trying to coyly tell us the Betsy Ross was a evil time lord in which would make you argument valid. Then you will need to add kidnapped illegal child labor. Of course it might have been George Washington fault because he was the real evil time lord and made Betsy use the children to create his flag…. oh I have a headache now.

  86. America – steeped in a rich, proud history that will name an entire day after a coloured handkerchief, but can’t be bothered to remember the names of the “three other men” in an iconic painting. Also, why is that one guy lifting his leg like that? Did he just let one go? Everyone is a critic.

  87. I laughed SO incredibly hard at this post. Most likely nets should have captured me and strung me up until all was peaceful again. You are pure comedy.

  88. Good job to #62, Johnny…that’s what I remember learning about how to dispose of a flag. Remove the Union from the stripes, and separate the stripes, though not individually, just the short ones from the long ones, and then burn it.

    I don’t see any turtle, nor a cat in the painting shown above. I guess I just lack enough imagination. It must be there if so many of your readers see it. Hmm.

  89. …now I am going to study a painting and try to figure out what drugs the artist was on while he was doing this strange artistic rendering.

  90. This whole Flag Code thing is the reason my husband & I won’t fly a flag – too many rules! I have a neighbor that flies the flag upside down and it makes me ragey. I’m not a flag-flying ‘Murrican, but DAMN IT show some respect for Old Glory, ya’know? I also think they leave it up 24/7 without a light on it. Lazy bitches.

  91. Betsy could be a hoarder. And not just one of those collector hoarders, but the type that was all, “OMGF YOU GUYS GEORGE WASHINGTON IS COMING OVER TODAY. We need to throw everything in the garage, NOW.” There’s why there’s so much dirt on the floor.

    And then they uncovered the giant snail (that’s what it is, BTW), who has now attached himself to the ottoman.

    I’m glad I could help sort this out for you.

  92. I firmly believe that the thing on the footstool is an obese rabbit. Or a deformed armadillo. Either one seems reasonable, right? But I am wondering why the guy in the teal-ish coat is sort of lunging onto one leg. It kind of looks like he’s about to attempt one of those one-legged standing yoga poses that always make me tip over.

  93. I’ve never commented before because who has time to comment when they have to read a bunch of blogs instead of work, but CHEEZUS JENNY. You need to go on the road.

  94. The turtle is obviously using an original Gutenburg Bible for nesting material. THAT’S how fucked up things were in colonial America. Turtles had $1 million dollar houses while little girls made flags until their tiny fingers bled.

  95. I’m glad I’m not the only one who was raised with a bizarre relationship to flag respect. Though I never dropped the flag, I remember being very careful not to in elementary school for just those reasons.

    Then I went to college, and it was 2001/2002ish, and everyone put little American flags on their giant SUVs because that was just what you did to stop the terrorists from winning in those days, and my highly-selective-liberal-arts-college friends thought I was a little off my rocker for picking up old, run-over flags in the parking lot and keeping them in my car in hopes I’d find some suitable way to destroy them respectfully. I’m pretty sure those flags stayed in my car until I sold it after I got my first job after graduation, because I have no idea where you go to respectfully destroy a flag to this day.

  96. When I was teaching my little Wolf Cub Scouts this year, I used that whole myth about having to burn it if it drops on the ground to get their attention even though I knew it wasn’t true. Then, of course, as we were practicing, one of them dropped his corner and we all gasped and they freaked the hell out. So I had to pretend there was a special clause where if a Cub Scout drops the corner of the flag while they’re just learning how to fold it and they’re sorry and promise to be more careful, we don’t have to burn the flag. That’ll teach me to be creative with my lessons.

  97. It appears to me by reading all of the comments, that some of your readers are unaware that Betsy Ross was George Washington’s wife. I’m not ragging on your readers, but I am ragging on the teachers of America. Why don’t people know this?

  98. No, no, no – not a turtle! It’s a tri-cornered hat placed over a walking stick. Though why a hat would be reading a random book is beyond me. I want a tri-cornered hat.

  99. FYI if someone hasn’t mentioned it, there was glitter back then. It was GROUND GLASS.

    Way more hardcore than this plastic crap nowadays. (Look it up, it’s impossible to get now. German glass glitter.)

  100. If you don’t mind me being patronising for a moment:
    Oh, you darn Americans are so weird! Very few people would bother flying a flag on Australia Day. Possibly due in part to the lack of handy flagpoles here. Our normal patriotism-ness is to have those clippy-flags on your car, those ones that clip to the roof through your door?

  101. Looking carefully at this picture makes me wonder what that creature is on the footstool? A hat or a gigantic beetle. This might be very Anti-American ( which is not my intent) but dies t it look a bit like they are walking closely to the fireplace deciding if it should be tossed in the fire and started again?!?

  102. Thank you, KatC. I was debating saying that, and kept second-guessing myself, assuming people knew what it was and were just playing along.

    Next question: Whose hat is it? ‘Cause it looks to me like everyone had hats in hands already. Does it belong to that guy in the back? If so, what’s he doing flinging his accessories across someone else’s parlor like that? Though he does get points for the way they landed.

  103. I remember learning all about all about the proper care and feeding of the American flag in Boy Scouts. It is true that you are not supposed to let the flag touch the ground, but burning it on the spot is going a bit overboard. If and when a flag is excessively worn, dirty, or damaged, THEN it is supposed to be disposed of, and burning it to ash is the only proper way to dispose of a flag. Another bit of flag etiquette that is often ignored is that you are NOT supposed to fly the flag when its raining.

  104. I found a large copy of that painting, and I’m pretty sure it’s not a turtle. I think it’s a severely deformed rhinoceros beetle. With no legs. Now he’s all sad because we’re making fun of him.

  105. WTF they posed for this picture with shit on the floor, dirty pants ,cane bearing turtles. That’s one dick move, Mr Painter. And oh yah Jenny, good blog about whatever 🙂

  106. Back in the 90s I was a federal prosecutor. One of my duties was fielding calls from various federal agencies and answering legal questions from federal agents.

    I used to get calls from an NCIS agent. From TV, you’d assume that the NCIS agent was calling for a search warrant to uncover a terrorist plot, or for advice about six Chechen separatists he’d just shot, or something.


    This NCIS agent called me about 10 times over the course of six months to try to convince me to prosecute a guy who was flying the flag incorrectly, in a way that violated the Flag Code.

    He was very upset that I wouldn’t indict the guy. He reported me to my supervisor. “I told him you’re just like that. I told him I suspect you’re a communist,” said my supervisor, who found joy in many elements of government service.

  107. Clearly the thing on the stool is trilobite.

    Stephanie (67) I googled as well and got this, “Fecal transplant from mom cures ailing toddler –”

  108. From all that I’ve heard, Americans are pretty anal about their flag, taking their patriotism to extraordinary levels. We Canadians don’t like to see our flag disrespected but we’re far more laid back about. We’re quietly patriotic and apologetic. Sorry 😉

  109. What’s with the guy in the back with his hand on his chin. It’s a fucking flag, Sir, not a conundrum. How are you not smart enough to handle 20 square feet of fabric without confusion? Please tell me this isn’t a founding father, and is just the guys someone was playing golf (croquet? what did they play back then?) with, and Washington said, “Hey, Bob…I know we have a 2 o’clock tee time, but I just need to swing by Betsy’s house….apparently, she’s been sewing something all fucking week, and I just HAVE to see it.” (eye roll)

  110. Is that an aardvark with a handlebar mustache on the little stool? Tha HELL, JENNY!!!!!!!! I think the artist rolled some doobies before he painted that shit…

  111. OK, here’s the thing. I have an American flag patch on the back pocket of my jeans, and I was sitting down in the grass at a concert. Does that mean that I have to… Like.. Set fire to my pants now!? Wow, that’s some serious shit. Can I at least take ’em off first?

  112. I’m pretty sure the painter didn’t paint garbage on the floor. It’s more like Panama Red marijuana on the floor… and rolling papers beside stool with the turtle. Only it’s probably not a turtle, and actually some sort of bong or bowl of the times. And Betsy looks all upset because she was high as a kite while sewing the flag, and was all, “Oh shit – I gotta finish this before Georgie shows up!” So she tries her best, but can’t sew the stars on straight, so decided, “Fuck it – I’ll make a circle! Bitches love circles!” But then George arrived early, and caught her amidst her hallucinations and circle-sewing… hence his disapproving look. As for his comrades… they’re CLEARLY sniffing the air. They know what’s up. True story.

  113. Iranians burn our flag but I don’t think it’s because someone let it touch the ground while some school kids were folding it. 😛

    Great piece. Thanks!

  114. “Officer it’s illegal for me *not* to burn this flag. I dropped it on the ground while laughing at a Bloggess post. I’m just trying to do the right thing here.”

  115. I’ve never understood why it’s a mortal sin to let the flag touch the ground, yet rednecks at NASCAR can wear flag shorts, flag bikinis, etc. From the flag’s perspective, it seems like it’d be way worse to be plastered on some redneck’s butt….

  116. Please tell me that you are re-creating this scene inside your dollhouse, complete with the random roving mutant turtle and pieces of trash on the floor.

  117. I quit Brownies because they made such a big deal out me allowing the flag to touch the ground. It was horrible. They made such a scene about it! Then of course all of the Brownies followed suit so I was berated for weeks about it. I’m sure I was about 7rs. old!! WTF!!! How can a seven yr old manage a huge piece of fabric without it touching the ground and who in the hell thought it was a good idea to allow her to touch the flag if it was so precious!!!

  118. Maybe the place is messy because it’s “The Birth of Old Glory”, and all births are messy. Perhaps this is really a painting of a girl named Glory being born, but at the time of the painting she was the old crazy cat lady in the neighborhood. The woman and girls are just holding up a starred and striped cloths to cover up the gory stirrup-ness while the unnamed patriots are standing around a white Whirlpool washing machine. The the media reported the story as it being about a flag, and everyone went “Oh, so THAT’S our national flag”, and Betsy Ross quietly folded up her purple and pink Honey Badger flag and kicked it under the davenport and said, “There’s 100 hours of my life I’d like back.”

  119. I don’t explicitly live by the flag code, but it pisses me off when I see a faded or tattered flag on display somewhere, or an unlit flag up at night. Mostly because if you’re going to do something symbolic, do it right. But I also hate it when very uptight Christians take the Lord’s name in vain. I’m not even Christian. It’s just the principle of the thing. And I capitalize God and The Lord, out of respect for other people. Plus it’s probably in a writing manual or something.

  120. I need “like” buttons on this page for your commenters, as well as your stuff. I’m not sure what it says about me that I am thoroughly entertained by ground glass glitter, Federal prosecutors who are likely commies, and principals who terrorized small flag-holding children. You all make the internet awesome.

  121. thing on the foot stool so looks like a rabbit laying on a riding crop…was it used for the inducement of productivity for the child laborers? if they weren’t working fast enough, was there the threat to beat the cute bunny? BUT then again I need glasses….

  122. My wife got a job in Utah so we moved there with the boys from Canada, and the house we rented, like every other house on the block, had this handy hook by the front door for hanging your garden hose. I was very pleased it was there, and very quickly had the hose in place. I actually think it was Memorial Day (when everybody in Logan picnics in the cemetery – really) when we discovered that the hose holder was actually a flag holder. Seeing how we didn’t have a Canadian flag on hand, we just left the hose there. Stars and Stripes as far as the eye could see, coupled with the steady drip drip drip at our house.

  123. That’s funny that an NCIS agent got calls about a neighbor who was flying their flag incorrectly. My friend was on the other end of that issue… her neighbor got his panties in a twist over her gay pride flag that had I think the blue/stars square in the corner like a regular flag would. The crazy neighbor put notes in my friend’s mailbox about the flag codes and how you can’t modify a flag, or use it on any merchandise and the like but it totally didn’t apply and he’s crazy.

    What made me laugh is he’d probably be in more trouble for putting things in her mailbox (it’s against the federal mail codes) than she would be for her supposed “violations.”

  124. Americans have flag day? Seriously? Do you actually like, get a day off and have a party or something? Also, as someone mentioned, in Canada when our flag touches the ground we scoop it up, (apologize, or course) and giggle that technically we are supposed to burn it but its not like we’re american or anything, and then we’d have to go to the trouble of finding a new one, which I gather is more difficult to do here than it is there. Then we all go have a beer. Also, what’s the point in bringing the flag in everyday anyways? We often leave them up all year and replace it when it starts to turn pink and is so tattered the leaf isn’t centered anymore.

  125. I notice that HER flag is touching the ground. And in George Washington’s presence, no less. I think burning isn’t enough at this point – they’re going to have to shoot that flag into the sun or something.

  126. 1. Turtles can read?
    2. Turtles can climb onto turtle chairs?
    3. They make chairs for turtles?
    4. Why is there a fire in the fireplace when it’s clearly summer outside?
    5. Glitter on the flag would’ve made a great case for our country being founded on gay values. Wigs. Silk stockings. Velvet jackets with gold buttons. Lacy ruffly neck thingies. AND glitter? The founding fathers were clearly all divas.

  127. I read this post twice and completely missed that my previous observation was the ENTIRE DAMN POINT. I am an idiot. Carry on.

  128. Now I have to go get lost in the interwebs, learning about the flag, the flag rules, and this damned painting. I’d come back and report but my ADD will see something shiny and forget.

  129. Betsy Ross had three husbands but none of them were George Washington.

  130. That is so fucked up of your principal to make you feel like crap when you had no clue.
    I totally see this picture the way you described it now, LOL

  131. I totally looked at that “turtle” and thought “horseshoe crab conducting a miniature symphony” and just about fell off my chair when I saw Sparrowgrass had the same reaction! Well, minus the symphony part. I think this picture should be the theme poster for male chauvinist pigs (look at that guy sniggering in the back!) everywhere and the painter was obviously OCD but trying to prove he wasn’t OCD by painting trash in it.

    I would love for you to do more of these art critiques.

  132. You are so fucked up in the head and I totally want to be your friend in the “real” world.

  133. …..thing on stool is some sort of musical instrument . Maybe a lute.
    Haven’t read all the comments so maybe this has already been mentioned
    Greetings from Melbourne

  134. Is the turtle holding a wand? Or a conductors baton?? Is the turtle directing everyone because the turtle is actually in charge??!? I kinda hope so.

  135. Just after I read this, they mentioned the rule about the flag touching the ground on “The Big Bang Theory.” Coincidence? I think not.

  136. Re: the person who said that the turtle might actually be a one antennaed slug… My gut-reaction was to yell “Slug-icorn! It’s a unicorn-slug! Ahahahahah!”

  137. I think burning flags in protest went out of style when burning bras in protest did. Pretty sure that was the mid 70s.

    Whoever said horseshoe crab, yes I think you are right. I was thinking the same thing.

  138. I too am Canadian, and I clearly remember specific rules around flags: my school board has a whole “flag raising policy.”

    Yes, I am a school principal, and it makes me sad yours was a jerk. Everyone paints teachers and principals the with the same brush (pun not intended) when they hear stories like this. You never read a headline saying “Blogger Charged with Flag Burning,” but you sure as heck will see one that says “School Principal Charged with Desecration of Flag.”


    Incidentally, I NEED to know what was on the stool. And . . . when I Googled it, it led me back here. Like some sort of break in the space-time continuum.

  139. Always good to read someone has good sense of humor.

    There are lots of people, like your classmate, that get too rigid by the rules and start overreacting. I’ve seem a lot of criticism in the photography world – and not the constructive kind.

  140. I googled ‘why is there turtle in betsy ross picture”. Guess what came up? Your blog. I can’t believe no one else has wondered about this and then ANSWERED THE DAMN QUESTION for the rest of us.

  141. I remember having flag duty as a kid and what a big deal it was… I wonder if kids are still trusted with that kind of “responsibility” anymore…

  142. There is only ONE reason g-dub has his sword out! To kill the turtle eating his book!

  143. How awesome it would have been for you to hang the flag upside down the next day. That’s apparently the sign for distress/call-the-damn-cavalry. When the cops showed up, you could have turned in your principal for not burning the flag, or for just generally being a dick.

  144. You should have pointed out the hole in the flag the next day and tell him, “OMG! This is the same flag!” And then whip a lighter out of your pocket and light the damn thing on fire. What could he say? Principals – dicks.

  145. The trash are fabric and paper scraps because they were so rushed and worked all night. The “turtle” might be a ham (a hard pillow used to iron curves), but I don’t know why a flat flag would need one. Or it might be a sewing case–fancy ones were often egg-shaped in that era. The stick? No idea. Looks like a teacher’s pointer or a maestro’s baton. (C) 1917 for that picture, so clearly the artist was reaching.

  146. Becca at comment 20….I am still giggling hysterically over that comment!! And I love you more every day, JL!!

  147. Oh, and Jenny, the flag doesn’t HAVE to be burned if it touches the ground. The rule is that the flag should never touch anything below it because it is showing disrespect to the flag. That’s all. Just disrespect, not a death sentence. Your principal was a dick.

  148. Maybe Betsy Ross had a new cat who was supposed to be mousing in the kitchen but instead had taken up a fondness for shredding books, and Washington had come by an hour earlier than usual, so there was no time to clean up after the cat, so Betsy Ross had to just roll with it and make like she’d been SO BUSY flag sewing that she couldn’t possibly also keep up with the house cleaning. She should’ve grubbied up the children, too, just to further prove it.

  149. I don’t think there are words to adequately describe your comedic genius!! I’m laughing so hard I can barely breathe!! And adding glitter to the flag? WHY HAS NO ONE SUGGESTED THIS BEFORE NOW?? Hilarious!!

  150. Clearly, your principal never recovered from the turkey shit incident, and decided to act like a douche about the flag. This post was hilarious, no hate from this corner..
    @ Lauren- yes, they are ( amazingly) still trusted with flag duty , at least here in Florida they are! 🙂

  151. The thing that really weirds me out is The Silence standing in the back of the room, next to… what was I saying?

  152. If the 3 second rule applies to cupcakes, it really ought to apply to the flag, as well.

  153. I am totally convinced that those three guys in the back are just checking out her ass as she bends over. After all. I don’t think guys have changed that much.

  154. I stopped reading comments after #62, so don’t know if this has been addressed already. The “turtle” on the stool is a lute. It’s possible that the stick under it is a bow, but I’m not sure why it would be as the lute is usually strummed or plucked.
    What really amuses me is the size of this room. I’ve been to Betsy Ross’s house in Philadelphia and the entire thing would fit into that room- both floors of it. Artistic license run amok.

  155. I sent this to my daughter in Philly. She laughed so hard and agreed with other comment that this is WAY too spacious for Ms. Ross’ abode.
    I decided in High School to stop doing the flag salute because a) I was Buddhist and b) because I wasn’t going to pledge allegiance to a piece of material no matter what it represented. I ended up in the vice principle’s office and did not make any fans when I explained in detail, all the Supreme Court cases that let me do this. I’m sure they put COMMUNIST in my permanent record and to this day the NSA reads all my email.

  156. I should have come over here to see what was going on a lot earlier today, and I would have had a much better Monday. Now I’m going to spend the rest of my evening wondering if Betsy Ross’s turtle wanted to whip George Washington for stabbing the rug with his sword. Okay, that is literally the strangest sentence I’ve ever written in my life.

  157. OMG I am laughing my ass of at the amount of right-ness you are about this subject and painting.

  158. I don’t fly a flag because I am very clumsy and also I set the smoke alarm off a lot in my house – basically every time I cook. so, I just don’t think it would work. and that turtle/mushroom/alien thing is creepy, and TRASH on the floor? the fuck??? this painting just kept getting nuttier and nuttier.

  159. Happy (not) Flag Day, Mrs. The Bloggess! I had a different experience with flag raising in middle school. My friend Bobby and I had that job you had. One day, Bobby comes to the pole with one of his mother’s bras and a pair of panties (Bobby’s mom was a large lady: warmth in the winter, shade in the summer).You can guess what flew from Thurston Junior High’s flagpole that day. We were summarily dismissed from our duties, and Bobby’s mom sent him to a shrink to find out if he were gay. He’s a Catholic priest today.


    And after further reflection…


  161. I think it looks more like a giant slug than a turtle. ‘Cause you asked.

  162. ha! i can’t decide what i like more. the fact that this is the funniest thing i’ve read in a while or that you actually decided not to post it on flag day out of guilt. hilarious.

  163. OK, I’m going to be a buzz-kill. That’s George’s hat (as in three-cornered) on top of his riding crop. He didn’t drive his Rolls to her house… I’m just sayin’.

  164. I think G.W.’s looking so pissy because of his false teeth. He had a set made with a cow tooth, one of his own teeth and hippo teeth, held together with metal and springs. True story, my daughter just wrote a report on him.

  165. Don’t you just hate it when you show up to an event and someone else is wearing the EXACT same outfit.. fashion faux pas…

    I remember watching the news and they were reporting that at an event (hockey game I think) the Americans carried in the Canadian flag upside down and we were like Stem. Goes. Downnnn. Mutherfuckers… it was funny…

    Why is the footstool in the middle of the room?


  166. Has Anyone Noticed They Have A Table In Front Of The Door? And Why Is The Guy In Red Missing A Leg? Orange Jacket Guy Is Looking At Him All…” What The Hell Bob?! Why Are You Dry Humping Furniture So Hard Its Blocking Doorways!?”

  167. Now you need a turtle on a stool with a stick to turn pages in a book that he/she is reading to add to your collection of dead animated animals!

  168. Shouldn’t it have been “The Birth of New Glory”? Or perhaps just “Glory”? Can flags get progeria?

  169. I think you should start an art appreciation course. I’d totally sign up. I’ll even bake cakes and bring gin….

  170. I’ve never been happier to be Canadian.
    My belated condolences on the death of your childhood joy and innocence, Jenny.

  171. I had flag duty in elementary school! Somehow knowing The Bloggess did too makes it COOL. Well, almost.

  172. Just thoroughly enjoyed this one… I may never look at another historical painting the same ever again.

  173. Flag day is my birthday. It’s also International Steampunk Day. Coincidence? I THINK NOT.

  174. Everything…I love everything about this post.
    Thank you for being an American.

  175. I’m trying to break the habit of leaning on my sword on the carpet but I can’t seem to remember not to, and my carpet is pretty much destroyed.

    Jenny, I would appreciate it if you would teach an Art Appreciation class. I would sign up, even if it meant I’d have to drive 500 miles each way.

  176. This is the best art criticism I’ve read in a while. Oh, let’s be honest. This is the only art criticism I’ve read since college.

  177. And not ONE hater comment. You either underestimated or overestimated your readers.

  178. @Jaime – it’s legal to burn the flag, with proper ceremony, to retire it. It is not legal to burn it in protest. And ‘legal’ is a loose term. According to, “This code is the guide for all handling and display of the Stars and Stripes. It does not impose penalties for misuse of the United States Flag. That is left to the states and to the federal government for the District of Columbia. Each state has its own flag law.”

  179. This reminds me of that time in 5th grade when the librarian at Northampton Elementary School accused me of keeping the book “Betsy and the Boys” and would not let me take out any new books ever for like two years. Then she ‘found’ it in the bookshelves those two years later.

    Wrong is wrong. And people working in elementary schools don’t understand how much they *ruin our lives* by being assholes.

  180. The same thing happened to me in 3rd grade! I got in trouble and was sent to the office and was told if it happened again, my parents would be called. I didn’t mean to do it and the boy that was helping me was being a goofball the entire time. I guess he thought he was “playing fort” under it. He smelled like horse shat anyways.

    I love what you write and LOVE your honesty, humor, and how you are 100% realistic about life.
    I hope you can visit my page and we can stay in touch. Ironically, we share so much in common I just don’t have the balls yet to let it all out. One day!

  181. Hi – I emailed you this too, but wasn’t sure you’d see it, based on your email disclaimer.
    I wanted to be sure you knew you were quoted in ‘O ~ Oprah’ Magazine in the new July, 2013 issue.
    In an article titled “May We Help You?” by regular contributor Martha Beck, she quotes you on page 41.
    “Mark this, gentle reader: Love and worry are not the same. (If you believe they are, I point you in the direction of blogger Jenny Lawson, who says: “A hug is like a strangle you haven’t finished yet.”)
    I haven’t seen you mention it on your blog, so I wanted to be sure you were aware of it. Anything to do with the big ‘O’ is exciting, right?!?!
    Congratulations! You rock!!!

  182. I totally agree with your logic about it being okay because it touched AMERICAN soil. What really irks me are the people who fly their flags 24/7, in rain, snow, high wind, etc. until they are literally hanging there in faded tatters. To me, THAT is the ultimate disrespect for the flag!

  183. Yeah, I never understood the logic of burning the flag after it touches the ground. Like ooohhh noooo a little dirt is just so damn disrespectful. So is wasting perfectly good fabric because you’re terrified of the ground you walk on. Fun fact: I hear Betsy Ross didn’t actually make the first U.S. flag.

  184. I would have been sooooooooooo excited if the principal told me that he had to burn the flag. Because obviously then I would have burned the flag. And it would have been glorious.

  185. I cracked up laughing at your made up dialogue. Apparently the correct thing to do is to bury the flag once it touched the ground. But what do I know, for me is just a cloth waving in the wind, but I am not american either. I loved your style and your alternative way to see things *clicks on follow*

  186. It is not a turtle it is clearly a hat and a conducting stick (or clearly not). Trash? Nah, that’s…huh. I imagine someone ripped pages out of that book. It’s almost like someone was standing there, (perhaps writing music) and left for a minute for the revealing of the flag. Betsy didn’t compose, I don’t think…

    Crap I’ve no idea.

  187. He was just trying to teach you the traditional rules respecting the idea of RESPECTING the flag and America. Guess you couldn’t handle it, or else you’re just ONLY trying to be clever. If I had been him, I would have used the opportunity to instruct you about the rules and say, NEXT time, if you do this, we will burn it properly because it touched the ground, but since you didn’t know, I’m telling you now. Nothing wrong with having respect.

  188. No, no…I think everybody’s got it wrong. George isn’t look at the flag…he’s looking at the shit that Betsy and the girls are trying to HIDE with the flag…the two boys in back are as disgusted as George…but the dude on one foot is trying to get George to STOP LOOKING AT BETSY’S SHIT because it’s not polite. The Colonials were heavy into decorum…

  189. I came to understand in elementary school that the job of a teacher was to confine us to our seats and lie to us. Oh, and in the case of my sixth grade teacher, it was also to eat her egg salad sandwich with her mouth open. To this day, egg salad grosses me out. Plus, sixth grade teachers.

  190. I think the “turtle” on the ottoman is a riding hat with a feather and crop/whip

  191. I just heard the most ironic story. Apparently a Muslim guy who wanted to protest against America burned an American flag and died from the fumes.

  192. I asked the Library of Congress. They’re going to assign a librarian and get back to me in 5 business days.

    I’m sure they’ll be pleased you credited them?

  193. Ha!
    I was also a safety patrol charged with taking care of the flag. My partner and I agreed from the start to keep any illicit ground touching hush-hush. An early start of conspiracy and crime. I went straight, but last I heard she’s behind bars now…

  194. That was funny!!!! Glad I had my “female absorbent device” on or I would have had to change.
    BTW Have you ever been to the Betsy Ross house in Phila? That painting is a lie unless everyone was 2 feet tall. The house is VERY narrow, the stairwell barely lets one normal size person up, the rooms tiny and I don’t know how she even got the flag in there much less 2 midgets ( excuse me ,little people. Seriously, excuse me) and a bunch of men and curtains on the window and junk on the floor. Is all history this faked??

  195. He’s not looking at anything because it’s photo-shopped!

    Sorry, I just like making fun of pictures like this because Betsy Ross was never actually involved in making the flag. Her decedents made up the story to bring tourism and make money.

    Love your blog! I hope you feel better soon =)

  196. Girlfriend, I know what you mean. But check it out, there’s a fire in fire place. Is that how that whole thing got started?

  197. #1 I LOVE YOU. As in if I were a lesbian and you were a lesbian and we were in a gay bar together I would give you a big old open mouth tongue-on-tongue kiss. I’m not even kiddin.
    #2 I AM SO EXCITED. I FINALLY got your box on my Kindle App today and I AM SO EXCITED!! I love your real you are. It’s AWESOME!! It’s so hard to relate to people and books. And you bring it to NOW. So I’m only at page 5. But that probably took me all of 34 seconds to get to. Than I wanted to let you know. Because all of us needs appreciation in our lives!!
    #3 I was reading this post and was like “TURTLES!! Crap. Where’d mine go??” And had to STOP and go look for mine. I let them out to wander around two hours ago… and had to go look for them…
    #4 I never though of your point “American flag accidentally touching American soil.” Good point. GOOD POINT!

  198. For some reason, the picture didn’t load, and I read it wrong and thought you were talking about Betty White, and I thought “touching her flag” was some weird sexual innuendo.

  199. This is art history at its finest. There is always sexual innuendo and turtle-related nonsense in good art.

  200. i swear…. i have read this post on 3 separate occasions… and i have laughed to the point of crying all three times. i forwarded it to my dad and sister. we had a flag pole in the backyard growing up and it was often up to my sister and i to lower the flag… and fold it all triangular and whatnot. i remember being all stressed that it would touch the ground… wtf! but the good news is my dad is decidedly easier going about following these kind of things these days. don’t even get me started on how he used to get on us when we would throw coins…..i thought i would spend my life in prison for a time there.

  201. Hahahaha! That was great.
    Yeah… your turtle… totally a hat. BUT, it would be great if it was a turtle turning the page of a book with a cane or stick… that image in my head, makes me super crazy smiley

  202. You make American history so much more interesting for us Canucks. I think Georgey (is it ok to call him that? My apologies if that’s a serious offense to anyone. I know he’s an American Idol and I don’t want to cause cross-border animosity) was feeling stabby that day, hence the rug penetration…

  203. I’m sure someone already said this, but that thing on the footstool is Washington’s hat (three cornered) and his riding crop. Just trying to be helpful 🙂

  204. Hey. I don’t know how to contact you other than here… So, I just wanted to share this ebay post my boyfriend found – Handmade CHAINMAIL and helmet for your GUINEA PIG!!! LOL!!! I thought this might be useful for future taxidermy finds. Better bid quick – the price is actually going UP!

  205. Two days later and I’m still coming up with dialogue for this picture.

    “No, Betsy. I DON’T want to see the ‘super cute’ hand towels you made to match. Just give me the damn flag.”

    “Honestly, George. You’re such a pansy. Horizontal stripes on the flag will NOT make you look fat.”

  206. Did you tell the principal you were folding the flag with the same arm
    that got stuck in the nether reaches of a cow once?

  207. We had to do this all the time at Girl Scout Camp. One time I saw the flag touch the ground and I was super freaked out that we were gonna have to burn it. But then I realized that no one else saw so I just didn’t tell anyone but I was worried for a few weeks that somehow they would KNOW.

  208. Agree with Peter Dingli (which, sidebar? I hope that my 12 year old reaction is totally an American thing and you weren’t saddled with that juvenile silliness your whole life) the turtle and cane are a lute and bow. God bless the interwebs.

  209. Did you notice that two of those guys are amputees? I guess that happened a lot when guys walked around with swords swinging from their belts. It was nice of George to take them over to Betsy’s house to see her amazing reading turtle.

  210. The Library of Congress wrote back!

    They treated it totally seriously, and didn’t joke at all.

    They think it’s a saddle and riding crop, meant to indicate Washington’s military prowress.

    I think that looks like a tiny saddle. And why did George take it off his horse and bring it into the house? No one else brought their saddles in! It just seems like a breech of etiquette.

  211. He brought the wee saddle in to ride the literary turtle. You’d expect the LoC to offer this sort of information up voluntarily instead of making us do all the hard work.

  212. I went to Girl Scout day camp when I was like 10 and every day we had an opening and closing flag ceremony. At the end of the day we all stood in a huge semi circle and did this flag shindig. On the last day of camp everyone was standing there in the semi circle and in the middle of the ceremony I turned around and barfed. I didn’t go back the following year.

  213. I think it is a hat and a riding crop. I have no idea about the paper. Maybe they were drawing the pattern for the flag on it? Or maybe they used it for the white of the stars?

  214. Amen, Hallelujah! I’m totally not religious but those words seemed just right. I love it! Faith in humanity/blogging/writing/etc. has been revived.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: