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-   -   Fifty years later, does America need a stupider motto? (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=402071)

Terrifel 12-29-2006 09:32 PM

Fifty years later, does America need a stupider motto?
 
1956 was of course the worst year that the United States had ever faced. Wracked by turmoil and social upheaval, beset by enemies within and without, the nation thrashed about like a dying, constipated beast. Whole cities crumbled into ruin amid the chaos as American society teetered on the very brink of collapse. The horror of that time has made the name of Eisenhower synonymous with anarchy even to this day. My father would never talk about how he and his family survived those grim times.

Fortunately, in the very nick of time, legislators realized the true cause of the crisis: America's national motto wasn't stupid enough. Like all of the country's other woes, this disaster could ultimately be traced back to that most sinister of Americans, Thomas Jefferson. The same treacherous impulses that led him to betray his rightful King also inevitably prompted him to sabotage the fledgling nation by giving it the worst possible state motto: E pluribus unum. Not only was this an unforgivably pompous classical reference, its subversive message-- "out of many, one--" would result in a catastrophic tradition of escalating tolerance and unity that was doomed to tear the country apart in less than two hundred years.

With Jefferson's nefarious plan finally revealed, the government was faced with the challenge of selecting a stupider, less tolerant motto to more accurately embody the national character. A list was compiled of various candidates such as "no loitering," "if you're so smart why ain't you rich?" and "whites only." However, at last "In God we trust," a judiciously recycled version of the Confederate States of America's motto "God will vindicate," was chosen for its historical resonance, potential for divisiveness, and general inappropriateness. Legislators also remarked favorably on its weirdly bass-ackwards phrasing, "which calls to mind the speech of a comical Chinaman, or of some type of puppet from a science fiction serial of some kind." The motto proved its worth immediately, as its blandly pious presence on American currency spurred an unparalleled economic boom, resulting in an age of renewed prosperity that lasted until the Carter years.

Yet now, five decades later, threats to America are on the rise once more. There's the war on Christmas, of course; and also Iraq's unprovoked invasion of the United States, which continues to cost the lives of American soldiers. Iran and North Korea could launch a nuclear attack on American cities at any time, if indeed they haven't already, and Mexicans continue to occur. Is it once again time to safeguard ourselves with a new, even stupider motto? Perhaps "In God and Jesus we trust really; in fact their voices inside our heads we often hear," or "are you ready for some football?!"

Sevastopol 12-29-2006 09:44 PM

We just do.

Ice Wolf 12-29-2006 09:49 PM

I'm sorry -- foreigner here. Is this meant to be a spoof, and if so, what of? :confused:

Starving Artist 12-29-2006 09:53 PM

America...of course. :rolleyes:

RickJay 12-29-2006 09:55 PM

What's wrong with "USA! USA! USA!"

In the same spirit, I am petitioning my government to have the national anthem changed from "O Canada" to the theme song from "Hockey Night in Canada."

Pullet 12-29-2006 09:55 PM

Ice Wolf, there is a little thing called polictical satire that you should probably wikipedia.

I, too, have been troubled by the fact that Mexicans continue to occur. Clearly, America has not accepted Jesus as our lord and savior hard enough, or such horrors would not be visited upon the righteous.

Terrifel 12-29-2006 09:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ice Wolf
I'm sorry -- foreigner here. Is this meant to be a spoof, and if so, what of? :confused:

Merely a somewhat incoherent ramble on the significance of America's official motto, and how it might be altered or otherwise improved to better reflect the national zeitgeist. Any suggestions?

Out of curiosity, does Australia have a state motto? If so, is it stupid?

Biggirl 12-29-2006 09:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Starving Artist
America...of course. :rolleyes:

The United States new stupid motto should be "America" or "America. . . of course"? I'd vote for ""America. . . Of Course! but it's gotta have the capitalization and exclamation point or it's no go.

drewbert 12-29-2006 10:00 PM

"Trust us; we know what we're doing."

Revenant Threshold 12-29-2006 10:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Starving Artist
America...of course. :rolleyes:

Strikes me as a spoof of Americans, myself.

Frank 12-29-2006 10:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Starving Artist
America...of course. :rolleyes:

Not at all, just a very nicely tuned attack on our motto.

Of course, we had to do all we could to defend ourselves from the godless commies back then. We added God to the Pledge, McCarthy was a hero, and the Cincinnati Reds pretended that their name had always been the Redlegs.

Idlewild 12-29-2006 10:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Terrifel
Merely a somewhat incoherent ramble on the significance of America's official motto, and how it might be altered or otherwise improved to better reflect the national zeitgeist. Any suggestions?

Out of curiosity, does Australia have a state motto? If so, is it stupid?

Yup, it's
SPOILER:
Itís just not fair, But I donít care, As long as we beat New Zealand

Terrifel 12-29-2006 10:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mister Goofy
Out of curiosity, does Australia have a state motto? If so, is it stupid?

--by which I meant, of course, "is it as stupid as typing Australia in place of New Zealand?" Sorry about that; there's no excuse for confusing the Lord of the Rings with Crocodile Dundee.

Ice Wolf 12-29-2006 10:09 PM

It's all cool, guys. I just read the OP, thought "Bloody hell, that's clever!" -- but most political satire (yes, Pullet, we do have that down here, so I know what it is) is about a specific subject, not something general like "America." Begging all pardons -- I was just curious, and seeking, as I do, further enlightenment into the ways of your culture. Have done since the early good MAD magazines.

Oh, and Idlewild? Nice one! :D

rayh 12-29-2006 10:11 PM

How about "Staying the course" or "Not a success...yet"?

if6was9 12-29-2006 10:16 PM

How 'bout God is our co-pilot?

Evil Captor 12-29-2006 10:36 PM

I think the South Park guys nailed it:

"America - Fuck Yeah!"

Simple, direct and to the point. You don't have to understand it, because there's nothing to understand. "America - Fuck Yeah!" Only a Commie could be against that.

BrainGlutton 12-29-2006 10:44 PM

BOHICA!!!

Pullet 12-29-2006 10:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ice Wolf
It's all cool, guys. I just read the OP, thought "Bloody hell, that's clever!" -- but most political satire (yes, Pullet, we do have that down here, so I know what it is) is about a specific subject, not something general like "America." Begging all pardons -- I was just curious, and seeking, as I do, further enlightenment into the ways of your culture. Have done since the early good MAD magazines.

Oh, and Idlewild? Nice one! :D

Fine. Just shot my high horse, why don't you? ;)

Second vote for "America... Fuck Yeah!"

H3Knuckles 12-29-2006 10:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ice Wolf
I'm sorry -- foreigner here. Is this meant to be a spoof, and if so, what of? :confused:

What it is, is an absolutely hilarious and well-written mockery of the right-wing, conservative outlook on things as they stand today, while also criticizing the fact that we went from the tasteful aphorism "e pluribus unum" to adding "in God we trust" on our money (and shoe-horned a reference to God into our pledge of allegiance), despite actively promoting the idea that the original colonies were founded primarily to escape government enforced religion, as a paranoid reaction to godless communists.

Well done, Terrifel. Bravo!

waterj2 12-29-2006 11:02 PM

Looking at a 1922 silver dollar I have lying around, "In God We Trust" is on the obverse and "E Pluribus Unum" is on the reverse, just as it is now. So whatever developments happened in 1956, I don't see what difference they made.

Carol Stream 12-29-2006 11:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by waterj2
Looking at a 1922 silver dollar I have lying around, "In God We Trust" is on the obverse and "E Pluribus Unum" is on the reverse, just as it is now. So whatever developments happened in 1956, I don't see what difference they made.

So in other words, the OP is full of shit on this? Can't say I'm suprised.

Ice Wolf 12-29-2006 11:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BrainGlutton

Can a foreigner like me vote for that suggestion? We may need to borrow it sometime. ;)

Apos 12-29-2006 11:14 PM

The OP is quite correct. Thanks to the efforts of some decent people, Jefferson's motto is still around to some degree in the designs and plans. But it's no longer the official motto.

Carol Stream 12-29-2006 11:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Carol Stream
So in other words, the OP is full of shit on this? Can't say I'm suprised.

My bad, never mind. The official motto part does indeed date to 1956, the usage on coins goes back almost 100 years earlier. Sorry, Terrifel. :(

Frank 12-29-2006 11:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Carol Stream
So in other words, the OP is full of shit on this? Can't say I'm suprised.

"In God We Trust" was, in fact, made the official motto of the United States in 1956.
Quote:

A law passed by the 84th Congress (P.L. 84-140) and approved by the President on July 30, 1956, the President approved a Joint Resolution of the 84th Congress, declaring IN GOD WE TRUST the national motto of the United States.
From this U.S. Treasury site on the history of the phrase on money.

So in other words, the OP is not full of shit on this.

Dr. Rieux 12-29-2006 11:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Terrifel
--by which I meant, of course, "is it as stupid as typing Australia in place of New Zealand?" Sorry about that; there's no excuse for confusing the Lord of the Rings with Crocodile Dundee.

"You call that a sword that was broken? This is a sword that was broken!"

tomndebb 12-29-2006 11:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by waterj2
Looking at a 1922 silver dollar I have lying around, "In God We Trust" is on the obverse and "E Pluribus Unum" is on the reverse, just as it is now. So whatever developments happened in 1956, I don't see what difference they made.

E Pluribus Unum was the official motto (I do not know why a nation needs one) from late in the eighteenth century. In the middle of the nineteenth century, there was a mad drive by a few loons to make (Protestant) Christianity the "true" religion of the U.S. (Constitution be damned) to make sure that those horrible Catholic immigrants did not get any wild ideas that they might be welcome. The only result of their failed effort was that, in the midst of the Civil War, someone talked the Treasury Secretary into having "In God We Trust" placed on U.S. coins.

In the mid-1950s, there was a push to get the motto changed to "In God We Trust" that made it through Congress. (For some reason, however, they forgot to de-activate the first motto, so, technically, we have two.)

With the passage of the "new" motto, the government later got around to putting "In God We Trust" on our paper currency as well. (1960? 1962? I'm not going to look it up right now.)

So, coins between 1863 and 1956 carried "In God We Trust" (a platitude with no standing) as well as carrying the (at that time official and solitary) motto, E Pluribus Unum.

Der Trihs 12-29-2006 11:20 PM

Some good stupid mottos for America :

Our penis is HUUUUUGE !
Try and stop us ! ( Simpsons reference )
Resistance is useless. Your nation will adapt to service us.
God, guns and gays ! That's what matters ! YEAH !
Kill a Commie for Christ ! And there are too still Commies !
Me America. Me Strong !
Social Darwinism and random invasions ! USA ! USA !

tomndebb 12-29-2006 11:20 PM

I think we ought to honor our current leader with "Bring it on!"

Of course, I also think that BOHICA is a perfect choice.

I suppose we could merge the two.

Ice Wolf 12-29-2006 11:22 PM

All a lot clearer to me now, thanks, after tomndebb's post. I should have realised what it was all about. :smack: Cheers.

Bryan Ekers 12-29-2006 11:23 PM

How about "no fat chicks" ?

Rhubarb 12-29-2006 11:26 PM

BOHICA is a good suggestion, but I think that DILLIGAF* more accurately captures the pervasive American spirit.






*
SPOILER:
Do I Look Like I Give A Fuck?

manx 12-30-2006 12:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Terrifel

Out of curiosity, does Australia have a state motto? If so, is it stupid?

Interestingly enough, neither New Zealand or Australia have a national motto, although NZ's used to be 'Onwards'.

Boyo Jim 12-30-2006 12:49 AM

Isn't "We're number one!" good enough? Especially since there's hardly a category left in which we're actually number one.

Rick 12-30-2006 01:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Evil Captor
I think the South Park guys nailed it:

"America - Fuck Yeah!"

Simple, direct and to the point. You don't have to understand it, because there's nothing to understand. "America - Fuck Yeah!" Only a Commie could be against that.

I'll third this one.
If it doesn't get picked, how about
FUBAR

jabiru 12-30-2006 01:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by manx
Interestingly enough, neither New Zealand or Australia have a national motto, although NZ's used to be 'Onwards'.

Australia's motto used to be 'Advance Australia'. I think we're better off without one, if that's the best they can do.

jayjay 12-30-2006 02:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jabiru
Australia's motto used to be 'Advance Australia'.

It's just like basic Australia except there are nine alignments and druids and rangers are allowable player characters...

Ice Wolf 12-30-2006 02:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jabiru
Australia's motto used to be 'Advance Australia'. I think we're better off without one, if that's the best they can do.

It seems to be that was just the motto on the 1908 coat of arms, since replaced. Australia itself has never had an official motto. "Advance Australia" may have been a colonial hand-me-down.

jabiru 12-30-2006 02:57 AM

New South Wales does, though.

Orta Recens Quam Pura Nites (Newly Risen, How Bright Thou Shinest)

Catchy, isn't it?

Ice Wolf 12-30-2006 03:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jabiru
New South Wales does, though.

Orta Recens Quam Pura Nites (Newly Risen, How Bright Thou Shinest)

Catchy, isn't it?

Is there a prize for the best pronunciation of that? I'd lose immediately. :)

Looks like Auckland nicked your old motto. Or at least the first bit. ;)

jayjay 12-30-2006 03:01 AM

As someone in a recent thread on national coats of arms noted, the motto of Norfolk Island is "Inasmuch". How inspiring!

Ice Wolf 12-30-2006 03:34 AM

Apparently the Norfolk Island is supposed to be just that - inspiring, in a Biblical way. Some online sources say it comes from the Book of Matthew. Certainly is an open-ended motto, though.

Rysdad 12-30-2006 03:50 AM

"That's America, Bitch!"

MEBuckner 12-30-2006 03:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ice Wolf
Apparently the Norfolk Island is supposed to be just that - inspiring, in a Biblical way. Some online sources say it comes from the Book of Matthew. Certainly is an open-ended motto, though.

Hmm. Well, "Inasmuch" appears twice in the Book of Matthew, using the King James Version:

Matthew 25:40: "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

Matthew 25:45: "Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me."

As a motto, though, it still seems awfully...elliptical.

(Oh, and I'll fourth "America - Fuck Yeah!"--that song was probably the best part of that whole movie.)

jackelope 12-30-2006 04:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Evil Captor
"America - Fuck Yeah!"

BAM! Case closed. I already find myself mentally singing this whenever I hear/see a military jet fly overhead.

chowder 12-30-2006 04:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Boyo Jim
Isn't "We're number one!" good enough? Especially since there's hardly a category left in which we're actually number one.

Oh really?

Well just ask who won the world conker championship and also the world marbles championship.

Go on, ask!
:D

betenoir 12-30-2006 06:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chowder
Oh really?

Well just ask who won the world conker championship and also the world marbles championship.

And every year we win the World Series...

Isn't Canada's motto something like "Always Remember" (but in Latin)? Now there's a good motto, I take in Canadians never lose thier car keys.

MEBuckner 12-30-2006 06:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by betenoir
Isn't Canada's motto something like "Always Remember" (but in Latin)? Now there's a good motto, I take in Canadians never lose thier car keys.

Canada's motto is A Mari Usque Ad Mare, "From Sea to Sea" (which they obviously stole from us). The motto of Quebec is Je me souviens, French for "I remember" (or as I always like to say, it's Canadian French for "Fergit, hell!")

jjimm 12-30-2006 06:40 AM

Canada: "America's hat."

UK: "We used to run the world. No really. No honestly. Look it up. Right, that's it: conkers at dawn."


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