DEAR MISS MANNERS: Does wearing the flag as clothes show that you love America, or that you hate America?
I was raised to believe that it was disrespectful, if not traitorous, to wear the American flag on your butt or anywhere else, except as part of an authorized uniform, or maybe a discreet pin like the ones that seem required for politicians.
And now I see people who identify as patriots using flag material for all kinds of things, including boxers, bikinis and everything else. Are they sending a double message?
GENTLE READER: On the contrary: They have received a double message.
The U.S. Flag Code -- written and published by advocacy groups in 1923, adopted by Congress in 1942 and revised numerous times subsequently -- states that "the flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery." The American Legion interprets that as referring to an actual flag, not a fabric pattern that looks like a flag.
Miss Manners' advice is to keep clear of any "More Patriotic Than Thou" contests.