So I was watching The Daily Show last night, and on came a clip spoofing the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York City. That’s no surprise.
The twist came when host Jon Stewart noted that the movement had vowed to take over the park, “if only to erect a monument to what was perhaps the occupiers’ biggest challenge.”
That fictional monument looked like this:
The bit got a good laugh, playing on the perceived messiness of the “facilities” at the park, where protesters have demonstrated against the state of the economy, corporate greed, unemployment and other social ills.
“They truly were,” Stewart said, “the least toileted generation.”
Plenty of people have mocked the Occupy movement, but I’ll be the fuddy duddy who asks: Did The Daily Show go too far by using the famous image of the U.S. flag-raising on Mount Suribachi?
Every few years, the iconic World War II image of five Marines and a Navy corpsman erecting the flag on Iwo Jima is altered for another purpose. Typically, doing so is blasted by veterans groups and many Marines, whose own Marine Corps War Memorial near the Pentagon replicates it.
In 2008, for example, Time magazine came under fire after it doctored the image to replace the U.S. flag with a tree for an issue about global warming.
Last year, a British Airways employees union sparked outrage by altering the photograph to promote their cause during a labor strike.
And earlier this year, a cultural group in New Jersey apologized after veterans complained about them altering the Iwo image to promote a parade honoring Indian heritage. The Indian flag was super-imposed over the American flag in that image.
Those are just a few examples. The Daily Show wasn’t promoting anything specific with their version of the image, but it certainly had an edge to it. It’s a freakin’ toilet swapped in for the American flag, after all.