Trivia with a side of jingoism

Yesterday evening my wife had gone to Ithaca to practice with her a capella trio so I decided to stop into a local tavern, Irish Kevins, for a beer and a bite of dinner. As usual the beer was great (Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA, perfect for a hot night) and the food—I had the Reuben—was good if a bit greasy as one expects bar food to be. Three of the four large TV screens showed the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays listlessly scoreless halfway through their game (the Rays would win 2-1) while on the other the New York Mets were slowing succumbing to the Atlanta Braves. The bar was mostly full and, as 8 PM drew nigh, the high-top tables began to fill with groups of four to six. Tuesday, it turns out, is Trivia Night at Irish Kevins.

Now, I enjoy a game of trivia as much as anyone and considered joining in. But this game of trivia was unlike any I have ever seen. The host called out the first question, “What day of the week is named after the Norse goddess of love?” and immediately thereafter blasted the place with Lee Greenwood’s execrable God Bless the USA, the Reagan-era Horst-Wessel-Lied of gun-toting rednecks who would no more actually join the military than vote for Jane Fonda. As someone who wore our country’s uniform for seven years I find that song deeply troubling. I did not serve to defend the Christian religion or to promote the delusion that Americans are freer than the citizens of our peer countries. The entire notion of American exceptionalism sickens and frightens me because it is little different than the theory of Übermenschen that led to the deaths of tens of millions of “inferior” people before and during World War II. As it did in Germany, such jingoism appeals to the fears of the undereducated who are dangerously prone to march to the call of demagogues.

Still, I expect to return to Irish Kevins for the beer and food—and perhaps the baseball. I will just avoid Trivia Night. Anyway, the questions are far too easy. The second was “What does the ‘E’ in the name of the animal-rights group, PETA, stand for?” In case you are wondering, the answers (no, I did not wait for the host to confirm them) are 1) Friday and 2) Ethical. Just avoid 1) Tuesday and 2) Jingoism.

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2 Responses to “Trivia with a side of jingoism”


  1. 1 Ban Shredded Cheese: Make America Grate Again August 8, 2016 at 18:48

    Thank you for your service to our nation, and thank you for your opinions. I feel very strongly about misguided nationalism misappropriated references to God’s affiliation. Both are better felt and not worn on the sleeve. I wouldn’t, however, hold the song against the proprietors.


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