Location: St. Vincent & Grenadines

You were driving home in the dark on one glass-slippered heel, window sliced open and bathing in the snowliquor of the night air. We heard you singing, and couldn't bear to wake you.

26 June 2005

All the falling leaves filling up shopping bags.

Over the course of the dearly departed 2004-2005 school year, I defined the word "symbolism" to my ESL students as "the practice of using a visible image as a shortcut to represent an abstract concept or idea". For example, a circle with a plus sign underneath it can be symbolic of women, a stylized fish can be symbolic of Christianity, or the number 13 can be symbolic of Mexican-born gang members. Or, a flag can be symbolic of a country.

I didn't get too far into the idea that language itself is a series of symbols just as subjective as any flag, and that the difference between a word and what it describes is enormous, because -- well, frankly, I was too busy trying to keep them from throwing paper airplanes. But they were 13-year-old Latinos. The idiots who put so much energy into making flag-burning a crime have no excuse. Certainly no more, and probably a good deal less, than the idiots who do the burning.

A first-rate illustration on the dangers of blind attachment to symbols is hereby commended to their, and your, attention. Meanwhile, the shopping bags keep filling up with falling leaves. Goddamnit.


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