Everywhere you look, there’s an American flag.
There are flags on buildings, flags on houses, flags on cars, flags on TV, even flags on pets. Americans are flag-crazy. But it works, in a strange kind of way. New York City seems a little nicer for it – that so many people are so proud of where they live (whether they know any different or not) adds a lot of charm and character to the place.
You would be hard pressed to find a flag flying in NZ on anything other than a government building. If you did see a flag flying, it would certainly be out of place and we’d be just as likely to regard the flag flyer as eccentric as we would patriotic.
Sure, you see flags flying at sport games back home – and mainly international ones, and this is where my flag theory comes in. Much of the main sport in NZ is really to do with international contests: rugby test matches, cricket ODIs, even the Super 14. Sure, there are domestic tournaments, but these are not very heavily attended at the best of times. NZers prefer it when we’re playing on the world stage, and we like it best when we’re playing against Australia.
Americans though, don’t focus on any international sport. For them it’s all domestic – NFL, AFL, NBA, NHL, MBL, Dancing with the Stars… the people they compete with already share the same flag as they do; so they need to find another outlet for their flag waving… thus dressing up their buildings (and pets).
Okay, so this theory is still in its infancy. But so was the child I saw wearing an American flag diaper.