Cultural Imperialist

"Scathing Spats on Shallow Subjects"


Sun Aug 20




Explonanism: Fireworks as Imperialist

Photo used with attribution

I've never been much for fireworks, at least on the city-wide level. The displays can only have so many planet shapes and smiley faces before they get old, and much of the show is repetitive, like returning to the same move in bed all the time, simply tweaking it with a swirl and a pinch. But now that I've learned that fireworks are "imperialist and hegemonic," I've fully embraced July 4's aerial orgy.

You're not just a shell-out anymore, you low explosive pyrotechnic devices: You're our Imperialist of the Week.

The Slate article above makes the argument that

The professional fireworks display is an exercise in pomposity, aggression, triumphalism, and hubris. The pyrotechnician—and, more importantly, his patron—intends to ornament the night sky beyond the powers of God himself. He means to inspire awe for little purpose other than to demonstrate his power. The first great fireworks nuts in the Western world were Peter the Great (who put on a five-hour show to celebrate the birth of his first son) and Louis XIV (who, with a specially equipped sundial, used them to tell time at Versailles).

If I may parrot my co-imperialist's favorite insult, listen, douche: That's what makes fireworks AWESOME. You may prefer to see a piano on fire, echo the Gavin Rossdale lamentation that there's no sex in the violence of fireworks, and complain that all fireworks offer is "bombast."

But much to the dismay of the French, Americans have long preferred violence to sex, at least in public displays, and we love bombast, as evidenced by our affinity for Shaggy and Rush Limbaugh. In fireworks, we gain release and nobody or thing gets hurt, like a certain activity championed by Joycelyn Elders. Sex can wait - detonate!

When Mother Nature halts oil-spill cleanup for weeks at a time and smothers East Coasters with oppressive heat, fireworks reassert Man's control over the sky. Unencumbered by gravity or enviromorality, fireworks pwn the sky and make the moon irrelevant, like Conan O'Brien taking the 25-54s to TBS and leaving the geriatrics to Jay.

Cultural Imperialist salutes you, inanimate objects. Never stop reaching for, and light-polluting, the stars.

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