The Austin Chronicle

Luv Doc Recommends: Austin Symphony July 4th Concert & Fireworks

Auditorium Shores, Sunday, July 4, 2010

By The Luv Doc, July 2, 2010, Columns

In America, we celebrate freedom by making a lot of noise … as opposed to say, meditating quietly on the blessings of liberty. No slam against meditating, mind you, but sitting calmly with your thoughts lacks the ostentatiousness (no, dudebro, it isn't spelled "Austintatiousness") of colorful, ear-shattering explosions that make dogs spontaneously urinate on expensive carpets and whine nervously into the wee hours – no pun intended. Here in God's country (that being the USA and not the 180-plus other God's countries) we get fired up about freedom. Our freedom is an awesome freedom, much better than the sucky freedom in countries like Somalia, Haiti, or Afghanistan. In America, a group of drunken teenagers can throw a string of lit Black Cats out the window of their parents' Ford Explorer at 3am in a quiet subdivision and the most that will happen is a few bedroom lights will turn on. If they were to try the same thing in Somalia (and perhaps certain parts of Idaho), they could expect their Explorer to be riddled with small arms fire or blown up by a rocket-propelled grenade. As any Somalian will tell you, sometimes it's a fine line between freedom and anarchy. Freedom seems to work best when guided by a system of laws that ideally keeps the dickheads from spoiling the fun. Of course, different places have different definitions for being a dickhead, so a certain amount of tweaking is involved. For instance, here in Texas there aren't many places you can't spit legally. You can pretty much cut loose with a huge roping arc of Copenhagen juice anywhere you please, as long as you don't hit a cop in the face. In Singapore, if the tiniest bit of drool drips out of your mouth and hits a sidewalk, you get burned at the stake, waterboarded, and thrown in a tank of piranha – or at least heavily fined. You can't chew gum either. No, seriously. You can't chew gum. It's illegal. Compare that to California where you can do just about anything except drive a car that burns gasoline. In California you can do naked bong hits while no-handing a unicycle along the beach in broad daylight. In fact, you can probably legally kill someone in California as long as you dispose of the corpse in an environmentally responsible way. The same is true of Louisiana, except that in Louisiana you can burn the corpse in a trash can in your backyard. What law there is in Louisiana derives from the Napoleonic Code, which is statutory, meaning that if some transgression isn't actually prohibited in writing, it's fair game – which just about everything is in Louisiana. If it moves, you can kill it, sauté it in butter, and eat it. That includes manatees, government bears, Bigfoot, and the lost Dauphin. Menacing oil slick notwithstanding, Louisiana isn't as bad as it sounds. In fact, Bigfoot and the lost Dauphin are probably alive and well and living in Alaska, where the only written laws have to do with milking Exxon for every last red cent. Other than that, Alaska = freedom. It's a magical place where a 46-year-old ex-cheerleader can hunt Bull Moose with an AK-47 in her red, white, and blue bikini; where polar bears can drive snowmobiles; and where the drinking age is 9 – whiskey included. Alaska makes California look like a gulag. The only place freer than Alaska is death itself … or maybe West Texas … it's hard to tell the difference. Regardless, they're both in America, the Land of the Free. Make no mistake, American freedom is something worth celebrating loudly, even if it means dogs pissing on expensive carpets. Why? Because American freedom was dreamed up by wicked-smart rich dudes and paid for by the blood of patriots. It's precious and delicate and frickin' awesome all at the same time – easily in the Top 10 freedoms worldwide, and that's reason enough to get out there and make some noise … or you could just relax, lay back on a picnic blanket, and have someone else do it for you. This Sunday at Auditorium Shores, the Austin Symphony and the city of Austin will be putting on their annual Fourth of July concert and fireworks display. Mission accomplished. The hardest thing you'll have to do to celebrate freedom is to load up your cooler and find a way down there. Easy enough, right?

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