I am about to run away for the weekend with some friends to play with fire art and motorcycles. There will be no ball games, fireworks, or kegs for me. There will be no Janet Jackson, no proud Amerfican Eagle, no barbecues, and no flags. I just never could connect with the symbols of the American Good Life. We do have propane, admittedly, but we have 800 pounds of it. We’re running a thing we built called 2piR, a sort of interactive magic platform. Standing on it, you can direct huge gouts of flame from 16 nozzles ranged around you in a 50 foot diameter circle. This is what we do for fun. This is our little piece of the future we’re building for ourselves — not the hardware, but the fact that we built it.
I am, I suppose, an American. I had the good fortune to be born a citizen of the United States, yet grow up elsewhere. My Canadian roots give me just enough perspective, I think, to see that I never want to wave a flag for any country.
Everybody has to belong somewhere, but we shouldn’t take that too seriously. I believe in identity, but not nations. I believe in humanity, but not patriots. I believe in creating your own culture instead of waiting for someone to tell you what to believe in.
So instead of celebrating this great nation — and it is a great nation, I’ve traveled enough to know that — instead of celebrating the symbol, I am going to go enjoy the freedoms that it took me years to understand, and try to create the future as best as I can envision it. This weekend, my vision of the future, my idea of fun, my impossibly non-consumer creation, includes fire art and motorcycles.