Starnes Freaks Out About Flag Tablecloth

Todd Starnes, Fox News’ Executive Vice President for Pearl Clutching, is having one of his usual tantrums about HGTV offering a tip to use a nylon American flag as a tablecloth for 4th of July picnics and celebrations. ZOMG! That’s a violation of the flag code!

HGTV viewers are expressing outrage after the network suggested they use American flags as table cloths for Fourth of July celebrations. Many viewers called it offensive, un-American and an insult to the American military.

“Using an American flag as a table cloth dishonors all Americans who love Old Glory – especially those who gave their lives defending it,” one viewer wrote. “No one dies for a table cloth.”

The HGTV website featured a segment titled, “Classic Fourth of July Table Setting Ideas.”The photographs show bowls of fruit and a jar of lemonade sitting atop Old Glory. They called the flag an “unconventional table” linen…

The U.S. Flag Code states: “The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water or merchandise.” It only allows for the American flag to be draped over a coffin – not a picnic table.

So I’m sure Starnes is going to hammer David Barton for wearing his flag shirt, right? Because that’s also against the flag code and he’s worn it on Fox News. And all those Tea Party types wearing clothing with the flag on i, that’s a violation too. So I’m sure this criticism will be applied to everyone who does it, right? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

43 comments on this post.
  1. Gregory in Seattle:

    And don’t forget US flag swimsuits, ties, pants, panties and other items of apparel THAT FAUX NOIZE ITSELF HAS PROMOTED.

  2. Gregory in Seattle:

    What about when Sarah Palin posed using the flag as an armrest?

  3. Pen:

    “Using an American flag as a table cloth dishonors all Americans who love Old Glory – especially those who gave their lives defending it,” one viewer wrote. “No one dies for a table cloth.”

    What kind of person dies for any piece of cloth? And hasn’t he just insulted all Americans who gave their lives defending, err…., um…., the economic interests of their nation? their personal hopes of a future in it? err…

  4. busterggi:

    But reducing the flag, that symbol of freedom & liberty which hundreds of thousands have fought & died for, to a piece of costume jewelry, i.e.: a flag pin, is a requirement for Faux & its right-wing base.

  5. arakasi:

    And don’t forget all of the flags that George W. signed during the runup to the 2004 election.

  6. machintelligence:

    The United States Flag Code establishes advisory rules for display and care of the flag of the United States. It is Chapter 1 of Title 4 of the United States Code (4 U.S.C. § 1 et seq). This is a U.S. federal law, but there is no penalty for failure to comply with it. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that punitive enforcement would conflict with the First Amendment right to freedom of speech.[1]

    So what is the big deal?

  7. Raging Bee:

    “No one dies for a table cloth.”

    What, this childish little wanker thinks anyone died for a piece of cloth hanging from a pole?

    I wonder if any other nation’s flag has ever attracted such an infantile fetishistic cult as the one that’s accreted around ours. I learned the basic rules of “flag courtesy” in first grade, but it was never that big a deal. Seriously, these people make the $cientologists and RCC-apologists look downright mature.

  8. Zeno:

    Roy Rogers and Dale Evans had garish Old Glory cowboy outfits, but patriotic kitsch is apparently okay if you’re a Republican.

  9. marcus:

    The American flag is a symbol of our liberty, as such I consider using an actual flag as table cloth to be fairly tasteless (as opposed to a flag-like motif, such as the swimsuits noted earlier, which were rather tasteless also but for a different reason). That being said, the flag is merely a symbol of that liberty and to limit that liberty to protect the symbol (as the anti-flag desecration laws and amendments attempted to do) would be almost criminal irony.

  10. skinnercitycyclist:

    I wonder if any other nation’s flag has ever attracted such an infantile fetishistic cult as the one that’s accreted around ours.

    This may be what you’re looking for: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blutfahne

  11. JJ831:

    The American flag is a symbol of our liberty, as such I consider using an actual flag as table cloth to be fairly tasteless

    How so? Using a “symbol of freedom” as a table cloth is tasteless?

  12. Robert B.:

    Because then one spills mustard on it, JJ. Honestly if I were invited to a table so decorated I would feel awkward through the whole meal, especially since I’m a bit of a messy eater.

    I don’t necessarily object to other people using a flag this way – the thing probably gets more respect than is quite healthy – but anyone who does so should at least be aware that they’re making a sharp break with tradition. You need to know the rules to break them properly, and all that.

  13. richardelguru:

    I’d have thought all those giant flags proudly flown by used car salesmen were the real insult to America’s values… Oh!… Isee… Never mind…

  14. marcus:

    JJ831@ 11 That’s just my personal feeling, you may, of course, do as you will and I reserve the right to consider it tasteless. Since I have “pledged allegiance” to that flag, and sworn to protect the country it stands for as a soldier, I would feel remiss in using it in such a way that would allow it to end up splattered with ketchup and chicken gravy, but that’s just me.

  15. Synfandel:

    “No one dies for a table cloth.”

    No one dies for a flag either.

  16. Raging Bee:

    Okay, we’re tied with the Nazis in the “Number One for Infantile Fetishistic Flag Cults” sweepstakes. (But would the Nazis have freaked out over swastika tablecloths?)

  17. Avery Thompson:

    But all those flag shirts aren’t real flags. Real flags are made of 100% nylon, sewn by hand in Amurka, and blessed with the tears of the baby Jesus or something. Obviously.

  18. Pen:

    @10 & 7

    I wonder if any other nation’s flag has ever attracted such an infantile fetishistic cult as the one that’s accreted around ours.

    Yeah, this also gives me flashbacks to the time I learned about massacres organised by Napoleon in Spain, I think. His armies were to be utterly merciless because ‘they must learn to respect our symbols’. I hate Napoleon with a passion and symbols be damned.

  19. Modusoperandi:

    How do they get the picnic table all the way up the pole?

  20. dingojack:

    My dear Mr Raging Bee –
    *ahem*.
    ‘One flag, one people, one nation’*
    Dingo
    ——–
    * [seig heil x 3 optional]

  21. dingojack:

    oops.
    I meant: *ahem*
    Dingo

  22. slc1:

    Re dingo the bingo @ #20

    Link doesn’t work.

  23. dingojack:

    SLC – you were saying? :)
    Dingo

  24. slc1:

    Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer

  25. dingojack:

    I was quoting a chant to be uttered after the oath under Bellamy’s instructions. The similarity is striking.
    Dingo

  26. randytoad:

    Those little flag lapel pins, that identify all REAL patriots, also violate the flag code.

  27. shouldbeworking:

    @24 slc1
    Ein fuehrer as along as he’s a white republican.

  28. JJ831:

    Since I have “pledged allegiance” to that flag, and sworn to protect the country it stands for as a soldier, I would feel remiss in using it in such a way that would allow it to end up splattered with ketchup and chicken gravy, but that’s just me

    Why do you pledge allegiance to a flag? I’ve always found the pledge to be mighty creepy on it’s own, let along pledging to a flag. I can see pledging allegiance to the country or possibly the constitution , but to a piece of cloth? And it’s not like it’s some unique cloth. It’s taking symbolism too far, much like Catliks and their crackers.

  29. Nihilismus:

    @28 JJ831

    Why do you pledge allegiance to a flag? . . . I can see pledging allegiance to the country . . .

    Well, technically the Pledge of Allegiance is a pledge to a country. “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands . . . ” But most people who recite it learned it by rote during childhood and only think of it as a pledge to a flag.

  30. beezlebubby:

    @ 26: Damn right! I’ve read those flag codes. News organizations using the flag as part of their on-screen imagery probably wouldn’t pass muster, either.

  31. marcus:

    JJ831 As I noted in my post “Since I have ‘pledged allegiance’ to that flag, and sworn to protect the country it stands for as a soldier, I would feel remiss…” You can piss on the damn thing for all I care, just sayin’.
    Thank you Nihilismus.

  32. velociraptor:

    As someone who has been in a war, and actually IN firefights, I can tell Mr. Starnes that the LAST fucking thing on my mind during those engagements was the fucking flag.

    This dipstick is probably another Chickenhawk as well.

  33. marcus:

    “No one dies for a table cloth.”
    This fine person has obviously not seen some of the fine examples of table cloth art presented in the Google ads in response to the post title. Some of those table cloths are absolutely to die for!

  34. dan4:

    “So I’m sure Starnes is going to hammer David Bartoon for wearing his flag shirt. right?…And all those Tea Party types wearing clothing with the flag on…”

    Except, unlike the “using-a-flag -as- a-tablecloth” issue at hand here,those don’t involve ACTUAL flags.

  35. Akira MacKenzie:

    Yes, Americans, BOW DOWN to your cloth idol! BOW DOWN to your red, white, and blue god!

  36. birgerjohansson:

    (sings) “Die Fahne Hoch… Dum duuum dum dum dum dum dum,
    SA marschiert, dum dum, de dum dum dum”

  37. birgerjohansson:

    dingojack,

    Queen/Freddie Mercury’s text sums up my beliefs on the subject (I forgot the title of the song)

  38. dingojack:

    I Want to Break Free? Fat Bottomed Girls? Seaside Rendezvous? Flash? Bohemian Rhapsody?
    Dingo.

  39. birgerjohansson:

    Queen: One vision (excerpt)

    One man one goal Har! one mission.
    One heart one soul just one solution
    One flash of light yeah one god one vision

    One flesh one bone
    One true religion
    One voice one hope
    One real decision
    Wowowowow gimme one vision
    Eh!

    No wrong no right
    I’m gonna tell you there’s no black and no white
    No blood no stain
    All we need is one world wide vision

  40. lofgren:

    If the flag you use for a table cloth has gold tassles on one side, does that make your picnic a navy tribunal?

  41. dingojack:

    Birger – One Vision (track1 side A) from “A Kind of Magic” (1986).
    Hope that helps
    Dingo

  42. dingojack:

    Lofgren – or, more to the point, does it make your picnic oranges, always Navels?
    ;) Dingo

  43. democommie:

    “Except, unlike the “using-a-flag -as- a-tablecloth” issue at hand here,those don’t involve ACTUAL flags.”

    This:

    “(i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.”

    is from here (http://www.usflag.org/uscode36.html#180)

    It indicates that use of reproductions of the U.S. flag for advertising or merchandising are prohibited on disposable articles or seating or noseblowing devices.

    And this:

    “The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.”

    is just plain creepy.

Leave a comment

You must be