A Cynic's Dictionary

A Cynic’s Dictionary: F-I


flag, n.—A piece of cloth of no particular value or interest, that, when it comes to symbolize a nation, regardless of that body’s importance, significance, affluence, or influence, takes on uncommon and indeed unnecessary grandeur and symbolism; in American terms, the “Stars and Bars,” the addressing of which requires from military personnel a salute to the brim of a hat and from civilians a clutch of the left side of the chest similar to that which a person suffering a seizure might make, although the burning of which, held by the highest court to be somehow an act of speech (though no utterance of any kind need be involved), may be contrived by anyone anywhere without any prescribed forms of address.


Gettysburg Address, n.—A short speech by Abraham Lincoln to a crowd in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in 1863, in which he attempted to make “equality” a formal purpose of American government by claiming the Declaration of Independence as a founding document equivalent to the Constitution, the latter of which evinces no such purpose and indeed endorses slavery; as an example of successful deceit and duplicity, it is likely the most effective piece of rhetoric in American history, which has had much of that.

government, n.—An arrangement of human affairs...

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