Thumbs Down: Flag Flap Tweet Goes Too Far

Mean-spirited tweets should have been left on the cutting room floor

By Jessica Greene
|  Monday, May 10, 2010  |  Updated 3:11 PM PDT
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Thumbs Down: Flag Flap Tweet Goes Too Far

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When it come to the story about five students at a Morgan Hill high school who were sent home from school on Cinco de Mayo because they wore clothes depicting the American flag, everyone's a critic.

The debate has garnered national attention and drawn passionate response from people on both sides of the political spectrum. And now, one of the most well-known film critics has stepped into the limelight over the issue.

Movie critic and cancer survivor Roger Ebert sent a tweet about the story of the Live Oak High School incident that so upset some people, it set off a flurry of responses from the outraged twitheads.

Here's what Ebert tweeted:

Kids who wear American Flag t-shirts on 5 May should have to share a lunchroom table with those who wear a hammer and sickle on 4 July.

The 108-character comment didn't sit well with some who identify themselves with the Tea Party movement and responded with some rather nasty jabs at Ebert's medical condition. Keep in mind, Ebert had his lower jaw removed during his battle with cancer.

Gawker.com reprinted this tweet Caleb Howe, who blogs for Redstate.com, and many others that are not only NSFW, they're just downright mean-spirited:

I mean honestly. How many pieces need to fall off @ebertchicago before he gets the hint to shut the (expletive) up and You know, @ebertchicago, I’m not as expert on flag etiquette as you. Tell me, which do I fly when you die of cancer?

Over the next few days, Ebert took to Twitter with more of his thoughts on the flag flap debate and his take on it, with tweets like:

I did NOT equate the American Flag with the hammer and sickle. Some people can't read, or deliberately falsify.

In other words, wearing a Flag t-shirt to school on 5 May is like wearing a Soviet flag on 4 July. You are being insulting and you know it.

I love the U.S. Flag. On Paddy's Day, I love the Irish Flag. On 5 May, Mexican-AMERICANS love the Mexican Flag. Get over it.

Finally, on Sunday, Ebert addressed his attackers head on in his blog. Not only did use his post titled "Hey, Don't Call ME a Dirty Commie," to clarify his opinion, he offered a list of brain exercises aimed at putting the reader in an uncomfortable position in various other cultural celebrations. His final suggestion? Wearing a hammer and sickle shirt to a NASCAR event on July 4.

We'll be keeping our eyes peeled for a sequel to this politics meets fashion meets tweet attack saga.

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