Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The Barbecue Republic

In yesterday's post, I referred to contemporary America as a "Barbecue Republic" and a "militaristic, theocratic oligarchy." Since it's not my intention to toss out terms like this loosely, it may be worth spending a column or so discussing why I chose to use these terms.

"Barbecue Republic" is obviously derivative of "Banana Republic." I don't think "Banana Republic" accurately describes America because in a Banana Republic, the oppression of dissent is fairly obvious--armed troops marching in the streets, enemies of the state lined up against the wall and shot, propaganda that no one would mistake for entertainment or educational information.

A "Barbecue Republic" as I define the term, is one in which a civil veneer of equality and normalcy is maintained. It evokes a vision of Americans of all social and economic strata enjoying summer fun out on the back porch or the back forty, mutually sharing the benefits of living in a "free" country.

A Barbecue Republic denies or camouflages underlying realities. Enemies of the state aren't tied to a post and shot. They're smeared, their careers are ruined, their personalities are destroyed.

Giant posters of the Barbecue Republic's fearless leader don't hang in public squares, and nationalistic harangues don't blare from loudspeakers. Barbecue propaganda slips into the regular news and entertainment media, dressed up as...well, news and entertainment.

In a Banana Republic, citizens fear their own government. In a Barbecue Republic, citizens fear external enemies, and the government ensures that the citizens always have plenty of enemies to fear--axes of them, in fact. When one enemy bites the dust, two or three more are already on deck to take its place.

Banana Republics have one-party systems. Barbecue Republics have two or more parties, but it's a) difficult to tell the difference between them or b) one party has control of so much of the government that the other party doesn't constitute a true opposition.

In Banana Republics, the head of state has no constitutional checks and balances on his powers. Barbecue Republics have constitutional checks and balances, but the head of state ignores them and gets away with it.

Banana Republic governments are corrupt, but the corruption is legal. In a Barbecue Republic, committees tasked to investigate corruption find it at the lowest possible levels.

I could go on, but I reckon you get the idea. Please feel free to post a comment and add Barbecue-isms of your own.

Tomorrow, I'll delve into the "militaristic, theocratic oligarchy" thing.




  1. Barbeque Republicisms:

    Support the Troops yellow ribbon-stickers on cars.

    Viva Bush! poster on my of-military-age male co-worker's office wall.

  2. You're on to something, that's for certain. I wish the term 'barbecue republic' conveyed more vividly the hypocrisy of the system.

    "Militaristic, theocratic oligarchy" to me is self-evident and unassailable ;o)

  3. "Ya'll just have some of this here barbecue and don't worry your pretty little head about it."

    Cap, did you ever see the movie about Zapata with Wallace Beery. Interesting casting.

  4. Jeff in Florida1:57 PM

    The more I read the more amazed I am that we live in a society that seems to have been forced to wear blinders, earmuffs, and mittens so we can't see, hear, or feel what Bush/cheney/Rove are doing to all of us. The Echo of this presidency will reverberate through the Halls of HIstory for many years to come. A time that will show so many Americans were completely misled by the body that is supposed to be there to protect them.

  5. Agree, Jeff. Your key phrase, IMO--"the more I read."

    Keep reading... And keep coming back and writing your opinions (including and especially if they don't agree with mine).

    Thanks for stopping by and posting.

    Jeff in Virginia

  6. Barbecue Republicism - the updated version of the American Dream - everybody with their own little piece of the pie. Disney. The Stock Market. Politics. Fundamental Christianity.'Amway' and Big Business. All designed to convince the little guy that he's 'important'- and condition him to 'serve'.

    Problem is the 'dream' is unsustainable. And the 'real' America (if there ever was one - for this has gone on for a long time) is buried in a snow job.

  7. Thanks for stopping in and commenting on this, Pop. I'd forgotten that I wrote it almost three years ago.


  8. Last night's special on the Abramoff scandal is a perfect example of the slimebuckets festooned in red white and blue but looking out for number one.

    There may have been rogues like Gingrich, DeLay and Rove sliding around the corridors of power before - but how come nobody gets any better at spotting them before they wreak their havoc?

    Maybe it's because they make noises 'real' Americans like to hear.

    Betcha they've done some great barbecues, and dorm parties too.

  9. Pop,

    I've given a lot of thought to the question of why we don't learn as a society that these power creeps are up to no good. I have to conclude for now that the power creeps appeal to the worst in our natures and that's enough to sweep them into power and allow them to do a lot of damage before the better public angels get sick of them and toss them out.


  10. Anonymous11:01 PM

    Also popular as a way to fashion, China Wholesalers let people around the world about the wholesale from china , china wholesale purchase and let the world buy products wholesale to such a good product.

  11. Anonymous1:24 AM

    Ed hardy shirts to tattoos tattoo art and graffiti into the street among the ed hardy clothes. Puma basketby the majority of consumers, Puma basket of products that were sold out on a listing. Cheap puma shoes and match various types of clothing, belts, cheap jacket, Wholesale Handbags, watches, pens and other products are also beautifully designed, excellent technology, elegant shape. People buy nike max shoes, they are also no longer pick Association other goods.

  12. Anonymous1:24 AM

    Lacoste polo shirts to the people's feeling is natural and pro-and the Burbrery polos comfortable, affordable good wear burberry polo shirt both in Europe and the United States or Asia, almost Everyone must become a wardrobe in the style of clothing! There are so many beautiful coat, but also with the needs of others can be more perfect. Levi jeanshave a straight trouser leg, it looks clean and able; Diesel Jeans and Levis Jeansis pet fashion, elegance and fashion, with a polo shirt and holding babolat aeropro driveor cheap tennis racquets, what you can think of.

  13. Truely a nice blog and thanks for your great work. By the way, welcome to our websites: nike sports shoes and ghd hair straightners. Every men like sport, then, it is quite important to have a pair of right cheap sports shoes to make you fully enjoy the sports. We provide puma cat , cheap nike shox, cheap nike max, shox shoesshoes, nike shox r4 shoes, shox shoes, ferrari shoesrunning shoes which are brand new and in perfect condition but on discount. All of the shoes, including the popularnike tn dollarpuma running shoes, cheap nike shoes,which is the representative shoes of nike mens shoesshoes are authentic and original of top quality. For people like running and playing basketball and other field sports, nothing would be more suitable than the cheap adidas shoes and nike shox nz basketball shoes. In addition to the shoes mentioned above, you may also be interested in the cheap adidas shoes , puma shoes and, nike running shoesWholesale and retail are both acceptable to us. Welcome to our site and free to look! Thank you and wish you a nice day. Good Luck!
    Everybody like beauty, which is quite commen, especailly womens. Welcom to our store which is focused on sellingghd hair straighteners mk4and hair straightners. For women, especially the young girls, this ghd iv styler hair straightener is the best choice. ghd hair straightnersis famouse for the pretty outlook and the top quality. The price of this cheap ghd hair straightenersis acceptable and rational. Ed Hardy Jeans, Ed Hardy Hoodies ed hardy shirts ed hardy clothes ed hardy clothing
    ed hardy trousers

  14. Anonymous2:43 AM

    Your article is very good.I like it very much.
    Once upon a time, there was a mouse father.He wanted to marry his daughter to the greatest person in the world.But, who was the greatest person in the world?Oh!
    puma ferrari shoes
    cheap nike shoesThe sun! He must be the greatest person in the world.The mouse father went to talk to the sun."Hello! Mr. Sun.
    puma shoes
    ferrari shoes
    I know you are the greatest person in the world.Would you marry my daughter?""What? I'm not the greatest person in the world. The greatest person is the cloud.If he comes out, I’ll be covered."
    nike shox nz
    Ugg Boots
    The mouse father went to talk to the cloud. “Hello! Mr. Cloud. I know you are the greatest person in the world. Would you marry my daughter?”
    nike 360 air max
    nike shox shoes
    “What? I’m not the greatest person in the world. The greatest person is the wind.If he comes out, I’ll be blown away.”
    cheap puma shoes
    puma drift cat
    The mouse father went to talk to the wind. “Hello! Mr. Wind. I know you are the greatest person in the world.Would you marry my daughter?” “What? I’m not the greatest person in the world. The greatest person is the wall. If he comes out, I’ll be stopped.”
    cheap nike shox
    nike air max 360
    The mouse father went to talk to the wall. “Hello! Mr. Wall. I know you are the greatest person in the world. Would you marry my daughter?” “What? I’m not the greatest person in the world. The greatest person is YOU, the mouse.” “The greatest person in the world is … mouse?” “Yes, the greatest person in the world is mouse. See? If mouse comes out, I’ll be bit!”
    nike air max
    pumas shoes
    The mouse father was very happy. He finally knew mouse was the greatest person in the world. He would marry his daughter to the handsome mouse next door.

  15. Anonymous10:18 PM

    Your blog is very good, it's the best blog I've ever seen, thank you!
    By the way, do you like polo shirts, which are very chic, especially the polo t shirts, I love them very much. I also like playing tennis rackets, it can keep healthy, what do you like to do? I'd like to introduce myself as the outlet of polo t shirts women, polo t shirts on sale, and polo t shirts for women. These products are our masterpieces, such as polo shirts on sale, polo shirts men, men's polo shirt, men polo shirt, mens polo shirts, mens polo shirt, besides we also sell cheap polo shirts, discount polo shirts, men's polo shirts, women's polo shirts. We are also the outlet of, cheap tennis racket, discount tennis racket, we recommend prince tennis racquet, head tennis rackets, wilson tennis racket, babolat tennis racquet. And it is our great pleasure that you come to our store online!