I used to like fireworks a lot. When my boys were of an age to enjoy them we would always purchase a few, sometimes within the boundaries of loosely enforced laws, sometimes just a bit over them. Nowadays it is not a particular interest of mine, but I still wander by the colorful fireworks stands once in a great while, just to see how things change.
When I was a young lad with a book of matches, most fireworks were made in the Portuguese colony of Macau, one of those odd little dots of foreign territory grafted onto the coast of China. All of these have since been absorbed by their gigantic neighbor, so most of the fireworks we see for sale today are from the original home of gunpowder, China.
This makes for some interesting twists. The Fourth of July is the quintessential patriotic American holiday, but these highly visible symbols of it are made in a Communist nation that varies from lukewarm alliance through opportunistic neutrality and on occasion out into patient opposition to American interests. I wonder how the pitch meetings go between the fireworks art designers and the Party Commissar at Pyrotechnics Factory 77.
"Your request to include Frodo Baggins is approved. He demonstrates appropriate anti-fascist politics. Your request to include 'Rambo' is denied. Please report to the Re-Education committee to begin the self denunciation process as outlined in your Employee Manual."
It has been a while since my last trip to the Fireworks Stand. I remember then seeing quite a few items referencing the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent War on Terror. I think these will all be gone.
So, in anticipation of my visit I am wrote down four themes that I figured would be present in 2015.
1. Drones. Hey, in the news. They fly. The blow up, makes sense.
2. Kardashians Because American Pop Culture is pretty much everywhere.
3. Non specific warships and tanks The Chinese military is doing a little flexing these days...
4. Retro military art. I don't even recall just what I had in mind on this one.
Well, never mind what I expected to find, what I actually did come across was....tacky and egregious Copyright Infringement.
Tutti Frutti...a Little Richard song and a brand of yoghurt. Also 48 dollars worth of brief, explosive entertainment.
I rather doubt that the cultured Hannibal Lector would approve of his image being used this way. And whose disapproval would you most dread, his or the legal team from Orion Pictures?
I expect a certain level of cheerful low brow culture at the fireworks stand. This is frivolity, plain and simple. But there are lines they should not cross. With apologies I present something that is way over such a line...
Shame on you Pyrotechnics Factory 77. Shame, shame....