“as freedom is a breakfastfood” –ee cummings
The smell of freedom. I hadn’t thought much about this idea until a few hours ago. What, in fact, does freedom smell like? While wandering aimlessly through CVS this morning I happened upon a new Old Spice product referred to as “Fiji”. It is a combination of unpronounceable chemicals that are supposed to save me from hours of social humiliation if I simply roll it onto my armpits. A sticker on the front announced to me and anyone else who passed through aisle 9 that it “smells like Palm Trees, Sunshine and Freedom”. Fantastic! I threw it in my shopping cart immediately. Four bucks for the scent of freedom?!?!? A bargain if you ask me.
This could be the beginning to one of those columns where the writer quotes George Orwell a lot and rails on and on about the dire effects of the degradation of language. I promise you, it isn’t. If you haven’t figured out that language has been cheapened I recommend that you get back in your spaceship and go home immediately. Instead, I’d like to take a few moments to genuinely appreciate how the word “freedom” has become a complete free-for-all of a word that may not mean anything but does so in the most convincing of ways. The Old Spice deodorant claim is a beautiful example of it. You can stick the word freedom on the end of anything and it sounds like a halfway convincing argument. Old Spice even manages to have the added dimension of irony attached to it. If you are a complete rube and you think that buying a specific brand of fumigant will make you more free, go ahead and buy the product. If you are one of those self-aware ironic types who looks down on those moronic enough to be influenced by this claim, go ahead and buy the product and laugh at those other idiots who bought the product. Freedom for everyone!!!
I must tell you that I happen to be an expert on the subject of freedom. I am an American. Many of my politicians have taken great pains to remind me that Americans are the freest people on earth. We are so free that former President and freedom lover George W Bush announced to the world that the reason 9/11 took place is that “they hate us for our freedom”. You have to be pretty darned free to be hated for your freedom.
Just in case those credentials don’t impress you enough I should tell you that if we could afford to own a house my family and I would most certainly get our loan from American Freedom Mortgage or American Freedom Lending and we would get our homeowners insurance through American Freedom Insurance. I am so free that I basically sweat freedom out of my pores. If an unfree person happened to get my sweat on them, they would immediately become free. Sweating is kind of a problem for me, which is why we will hire American Freedom Heating and Air to cool off the house that we will be able to afford at some point in the next 50 years. How will we get our furniture to the new house you ask? By putting it in a 2009 Pace American Freedom Cargo Hauler which we will fill with gasoline at American Freedom Fuel and Package Store. On our journey to our new home (located in Freedom, Wisconsin) we plan on letting freedom ring by visiting the American Freedom Bell in Charlotte, North Carolina. We are certainly not living the American Dream if we don’t have a dog in our new home, so we plan to purchase a cute little pit-bull over at American Freedom Kennels. Pit-bulls are expensive dogs, but after all, freedom isn’t free.
One of the great things about being an American is that I can freely use the word freedom anytime I want. “Freedom!” Want to see it again? “Freedom!!!!” Not convinced? “Freedom!!!” “Freedom!!!!!!!” “Freedom!!!!!!!!!!” See! Some places don’t let you do that. It is really important that you get to do that, because if you can’t, you are NOT free. That would be bad.