“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.
#1 by Jim Wheeler on April 23, 2011 - 3:39 PM
Good post, Keith. American demagogues would be almost speechless without the word, “freedom”. Come to think of it, “demagogue” is almost as abused as “freedom”. Yikes!
#2 by Keith Spillett on April 23, 2011 - 4:20 PM
Ha!!!!!! Ain’t that the truth. If we throw the word family in there we have covered almost 50 years of American political speech writing.
#3 by nondualmind on April 23, 2011 - 3:54 PM
The politicians have to keep reminding us because deep down we know it’s not really true. Besides, how else can they justify war? By the way you forgot about “Freedom Fries”….
#4 by Keith Spillett on April 23, 2011 - 4:22 PM
I remember those! We are a very weird country.
#5 by Dave on April 23, 2011 - 5:24 PM
“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”.”
I know I’ll be at risk of sounding like I missed the entire point of this post, but I just need to ask: What does freedom smell like? I’m thinking of switching deodorant brands. For that matter, what does sunshine smell like?
#6 by Keith Spillett on April 23, 2011 - 5:34 PM
I meant to get back to that. Freedom smells great. It smells a bit like liberty. Imagine a cross between independence, victory and pina colada.
I can say it smelled a good deal more like moonlight than sunshine, but I have a mild sinus infection so I’m not sure that I’m completely correct on this one.
#7 by Jim Wheeler on April 23, 2011 - 5:27 PM
I remember Freedom Fries all too well. The phrase became popular when the Frogs denied our airplanes use of their air space when we needed it to avenge Gadhafi’s terrorism. They flew from England to bomb the jerk and because of the French, had to fly hundreds of extra miles. Ha. Now the shoe’s on the other foot and it’s France wanting our help against the same jerk. Funny how that works.
#8 by Keith Spillett on April 23, 2011 - 5:42 PM
I think the freedom fries thing also came up around 9/11 when they refused to deport all of their Muslims to Greenland. It seems like our only rational response to countries like France refusing to bend to our will is to change the name of menu items at fast food restaurants. If the Germans ever cross us, we will no doubt begin selling Sovereignty Schnitzel.
#9 by Phil Dai on April 24, 2011 - 9:24 AM
Sorry,I still can’t understand all though have read it twice.I don’t come for a slurpie,haha.But about freedom,I think,there is no one in this world can be completely free,even on future life…So,maybe satisfy at the freedom we can have is better.Then,yes,seek for more freedom…if can.
#10 by Keith Spillett on April 24, 2011 - 10:01 AM
I don’t think a Slurpee would last very long in the mail if sent to China. They are really good ice drinks. More freedom is a good thing (in some cases). In our culture we have these creatures known as politicians. They say the word “freedom” a lot so that people will like them. That isn’t so good.
#11 by Phil Dai on April 25, 2011 - 5:30 AM
Haha,I even didn’t know waht is slurpee before you explained it.Ok,I can almost understand what about you wrote now.You are great.Sometimes I like talking about politics,too.Sometimes feel hurt and will not.Be freindly for each other between each country,that will provide great freedom for us all:).
#12 by juan don on April 25, 2011 - 6:15 PM
I didn’t know Old Spice has a Fiji scent. Every year for Christmas, going back at least twenty years, my mother has gifted me with an Old Spice face and pit kit. I made the mistake of telling her I loved smelling like a merchant sailor with alcohol-related issues returning home after toiling for months in a Liberian cargo ships boiler room. The kits are still in their box somewhere in the garage. Each year I forget to re-gift them to very casual acquaintances. Once I ran out of pit deodorant and rolled some on. The next day I had an ugly red rash. There’s the distinct possibility that I’m not manly enough to wear the unforgettable aroma.
But if the Fiji scent smells like freedom, I’ll drop mother a hint that her boy is finally ready to cut the apron strings.
I hope you watched the Cards blank the Reds last night. It’s amazing what can happen when Franklin is in the locker room grooming his Troll Doll chin whiskers.
#13 by Keith Spillett on April 26, 2011 - 3:49 PM
My wife hasn’t been particularly impressed with my new freedom smell. It covers the formaldehyde up pretty well, but it’s certainly not the sort of thing she’s going to ask me to bust out for when we go out for our anniversary visit to the local Steak’N’Shake.
The Cards are certainly looking like they are getting it together. I was particularly impressed that they have made through several games with the Reds without force feeding Brandon Phillips his spikes. It is, after all, a gentleman’s game. The Cards are coming to Atlanta for three and will hopefully put a beating on them. The Braves have a rookie first baseman, Freddie Freeman, who looks alarmingly like Billy Carter. That sort of thing doesn’t go over to well in parts of the country where they have embraced the use of dentistry, but down here it makes him a fan favorite. Freeman and Tommy Hanson look like they would fit right in as attendants at Wally’s Garage and Gas Station. Apparently, Chipper has been mentoring both of them on how to disarm the press with blank, confused looking stares.
I’m digging this recently flurry of activity on the Juan Don Blog. The Easter article was a lovely mix of Harper Lee and Arthur Rimbaud. And what post is not complete without an Emo Phillips quote?
#14 by juan don on April 26, 2011 - 8:16 PM
I was just checking out Chipper’s career numbers. I’d say he’s a first ballot inductee. I didn’t know he was 6’4”/220. Around these parts a guy that big is called “Hoss.” Makes sense.
The Redbirds roll into town Friday. It’ll be Carp, Westbrook and Garcia. Before long Pull Hose is going to make a pitching staff pay. He’s resting tonight, sitting in the dugout talking to his off-shore bankers.
I’m not sure why the comment app is not working on the Juan Don blog. I thought I turned it on the other day. Google (or “goggle” according to Anson) is not an ideal format but it’s hard to bitch when it’s free.
Cards are up by three. Ah, how those two out errors come back to bite.
#15 by Keith Spillett on April 27, 2011 - 6:58 AM
Chipper’s had a great career. I can see the first ballot argument. My friend Matt and I have this argument about once a week. The thing that might hurt him is that he’s not a superior player in one particular facet of the game. He has one batting title, but really hasn’t ever led the league in much (got a batting title a few years back). That being said, being a first ballot guy is not what it used to be. Eddie Murray, Eckersley, Boggs (not the tomato can that coughed up the lead last night), Dave Winfield, Kirby Puckett and Paul Molitor have all gone first ballot of late. The Wizard of Oz got in as a first ballot guy (.262 career average and a satanic .666 OPS). I know he’s a good defensive player, but so was Mark Belanger and the only way he can get into Cooperstown is with a ticket. Being a third baseman helps him, but it might hurt him that Glavine and Maddux will probably go in first ballot ahead of him (I’m not sure the committee wants to put that many Braves in first ballot). Plus, he’ll be going up against a bunch of juicers with highly gaudy numbers. Can you put Chipper in first ballot and not Palmiero (who will end up with nearly 100 more HRs and 3000 hits which Chipper probably won’t get). It’s an interesting problem.
If things keep going this way for the Cards, Tony’s little Raiderette is going to be closing out games. They need to let Motte the Hoople close and be done with it.
#16 by Rich on April 29, 2011 - 12:59 PM
“Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose…”
(Me and Bobbie Mcgee)
#17 by MichaelEdits on April 30, 2011 - 12:30 AM
If your sweat dripping on others makes them free, then your Old Spice is stopping you from spreading freedom. That’s bad, right?
#18 by Keith Spillett on April 30, 2011 - 7:35 AM
Ha! Great point, sir. I’ll stop sweating immediately.
#19 by John Erickson on May 21, 2011 - 12:50 PM
You, sir, are a truly demented, lunatic, unhinged soul. You have severe mental problems, and need medication IMMEDIATELY!
In other words, I LOVE THIS STUFF! 😀
(Oh, and if you need help getting the medication, I’ve got some really great stuff! 😉 )
#20 by John Erickson on May 21, 2011 - 1:02 PM
Double cool – you’re the 13th site I’m following, and this is my 666th post. (On this Email address, anyway.)
What better way to start what I hope will be a long and enjoyable experience? 😀
#21 by John Erickson on May 21, 2011 - 2:50 PM
Ah, the Bedouin trade explains it. I thought perhaps they tried to rapture you and it didn’t fully take. You know, like in Star Trek, when they beamed Capt. Kirk up and split him into two.
(Remember, reality is a crutch for those who can’t handle science-fiction.) 😉
#22 by Keith Spillett on May 21, 2011 - 2:26 PM
Why thank you sir! You seem to fit our demographic (humans between the ages of 14 and 126 who suffer from extreme dementia). Welcome to the neighborhood!
In terms of medication, I am able to achieve this state through a mixture of meditation exercises, Alejandro Jodorowsky films and injecting tapioca pudding directly into my cerebellum. It works great but no one believes me and they keep turning into radishes when I try to convince them.
I love the unhinged soul line! If it appears that it is unhinged it is probably because I traded it to a bunch of Bedouins for some really funky beads back when I was wondering the lower Sinai Peninsula. I sure suckered them.
#23 by John Erickson on May 21, 2011 - 3:56 PM
Um.. that reply was directed to you, not me. (I, of course, know what I’m thinking … most of the time. Okay, occasionally. At least, most of the voices know what they’re thinking. A few, well….. 😉 )