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Hekka was just talking to me about a flag retirement ceremony, in which a flag that is too worn for display is quartered and burned. (people often skip the quartering step, which bothers me, but yeah…) I tried to explain to her that it was like in a show we saw recently, where a beloved leader’s body was set adrift on a burning boat. Why? That’s just how they do it in their culture. It’s hard enough grasping the meaning of many cultural observances, when there is such a fine line between shame and honor. In that same vein is the perennial argument over Washington’s NFL team name, which was denied trademark registration this week. Is the team owner more like an autistic kid or the neurotypical berating the autistic kid with their chorus of “But I didn’t intend to offend you. I meant to compliment you.” I don’t know. The word means something different to me than it does to you.

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