Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It's a free country

"It's a free country, I can _______ if I want to." Didn't you say that a LOT as a kid? I did. "It's a free country, I can take your clothes if I want to" (to my sisters). "It's a free country, I can eat chocolate before dinner if I want to" (to myself). Of course I couldn't say it to my parents, because talking back was the worst of all possible transgressions in my household.

But when was the last time you heard a kid say "It's a free country"? I have not heard it in a long time. Because now we're a "If you see something, say something" country. Now we're a "You will be photographed country."

How is this filtering down to the books we read? The books we choose to publish? It would be interesting to know.


paul aertker said...

I used to say, "My daddy can beat up your daddy!" A weak stab at oneupmanship.
I like the progression of expressions. Great things used to be "cool," and then they were "sweet," a few years back, and now great things are "sick!"

Christine Tripp said...

Growing up in Canada, the expression was the same and we used it often as kids (along with the classic, "I didn't ASK to be born"... when "It's a Free Country" failed to save us from the parentals wrath:)
I have heard it still being used but who knows how long that will last. As an adult, it's doesn't feel much like either is a free Country, when boarding a plane or crossing the border by car.
I just hope children still think it, true or not.

Unknown said...

I miss "it's a free country". The use of it meant that we were all orbiting the same vague, cloudy conception of America - and interpreting it in all different ways, but still: "it's a free country." And in its absence a lot of controversies make me more nervous. Even when it's not in a context that directly points toward something opposing "it's a free country", it's like the conception of America as being just "a country in which Our Side should win" has become a lot more complete and uninflected. You could be patriotic OVER AND BESIDES YOUR OWN SIDE about "it's a free country". In its absence, what you're "patriotic" about tends to BE your own side...

Anonymous said...

Yeah, this is a free country, I felt so identify with the first phrase because if I want to take generic viagra I can do it, that's perfect.