Celebrating America’s Birthday

Yesterday was the first time in a long, long, long time that I said out loud “Washington, DC, I love you– but are you kidding me?” This was in response to the Fourth of July celebration in my favorite city in the world. If you were here or watched any part of it on PBS last night, you know what I’m talking about.

First, there was the music. This is the capital city of one of the most patriotic countries in the world celebrating the biggest American holiday and they choose to celebrate having some guy sing “Footloose.” While the movie “Footloose” features the very American theme of rebelling against silly laws, the singing of “Footloose” on the Fourth of July does not in any way remind us of that, particularly since Kevin Bacon wasn’t even there to dance. To be clear, Jimmy Fallon could get Kevin Bacon to dance  for no good reason, but Washington, DC couldn’t get him to do it for America. Instead of Kevin Bacon we got some shots of the audience having spasms. Or maybe that was dancing. Not sure. Some other town had Meghan Trainor, not sure what the patriotic connection is there, but it seemed slightly better than what we got.


This is what I wanted to see last night. Not tourists shaking and swaying.

Second, the Olympians. I am a sucker for all things Olympics and World Cup and after the announcer made some reference to “something that happens every four years” that wasn’t the election, I was ready to start crying. I pictured rows and rows of Olympians, a big flag and someone carrying a torch. Instead we got a couple of dozen athletes standing about 10 feet apart on a platform while some lady sang a semi-inspirational song. I have the utmost respect for these people and think they deserved a tear-jerker, not an end-of-the-schoolyear type song-and-awkward standing.


This is what I imagined the part with the Olympians would look like

Third and most un-American of all PBS lied to us all. It was a cloudy and very un-summery day in Washington, DC. It was pouring right before the concert and very overcast by the time the fireworks went off. PBS decided to alternate between images of the Mall last night and shots of fireworks from who knows when. And they didn’t tell us about it. I expect NBC to lie to me. I definitely expect Fox News to lie to me. I never, ever expected that the super nice people at PBS would deceive everyone like this. Sure, they apologized the next day but the next day everyone has moved on. People are back at work and other people (Venezuela, in this case) are celebrating their independence now.


This is what the fireworks actually looked like last night

I hadn’t been in Washington, DC for Fourth of July in a few years and I have to say that yesterday (except for the exceptional company and food) was a big disappointment. Washington, DC, I love you, but you definitely need to step up your holiday game.

At around 10pm we gave up on PBS’s fictional coverage of the Fourth and watched an episode of Parks and Rec. That made me feel better. At least I don’t leave in Pawnee.


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