freedom is fireworks

My entire company (EchoDitto) went to the O’s game in Baltimore on Friday. It was a great, uneventful, summer game — complete with plastic bottles of beer and no score until the fifth inning. The night ended with a 15-minute fireworks display that was as much entertaining as it was uncomfortable (lighting the ‘works from within the stadium caused a smoky fog to quickly fill the stadium, and that was garnished with a a light rain of ash).As thousands of us filed out of the stadium and into our big cars waiting patiently in the humidity, I thought of how very “American” we were at that moment. We carelessly traded comments on the game, considered late-night social options, and let the warm summer evening dictate our moods. Our fascination with fireworks captures a great deal about the values we hold and self-perceptions we have as Americans. There’s something to be said for the symbolic power in them: Essentially, we have bottled light, sound, flight, and magic at our fingertips. We celebrate this power, and we enjoy using it. It’s a stretch to say that our fireworks represent the American perception of our role in the world, but sitting in that stadium and enjoying the sound and light show did make me think of the privilege we have as a society to (a) have this leisure time and to (b) not instinctively take cover when we hear the thunderous boom of the fireworks.It’s easy to forget how lucky we truly are. We Americans have very little first-hand experience with terrorism, crime, genocide, or disease. Somehow, the beer, baseball, and fireworks do a great job of keeping us mindlessly happy — and of further isolatating us from the rest of the real world.

2 thoughts on “freedom is fireworks

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