Five Freedoms

PENNSAUKEN, N.J. — The following is an excerpt from the last page of the diary of Nathaniel S. Rakich, ethnologist

PENNSAUKEN, N.J. — The following is an excerpt from the last page of the diary of Nathaniel S. Rakich, ethnologist and professional snob. The diary was found in southern New Jersey on July 5, 2009, where Rakich told friends he was researching the indigenous population in its natural habitat. Tragically, due to the incompatibility of his “subjects” with his own elitist customs, he never returned.


Having arrived at the Let Freedom Rock Fest in Cooper River Park in New Jersey, surrounded by hot-dog stands and T-Mobile hawkers, music blasting in my ears, pale flabs of other people’s flesh bulging out between their shirts and their shorts—all in celebration of the Fourth of July—I naturally began to think upon the meaning of democracy. The low-brow music, the ungroomed children, the adults sans master’s degrees!—there must be a law against it. But no—here in the real Amerca [sic], they cling to their First Amendment as closely as they do to their guns and religion. I surveyed a passing native to glean the protections this quaint bill of rights affords and received only a blank stare. Thankfully, I was able to look it up on my iPhone.

Freedom of assembly. Outdoor concerts held by common radio stations seem to attract a certain kind of American—hairy men and obese women, mostly, without even a muumuu for decency. Around them gathered their main source of sustenance: vendors hawking fried Oreos and beer that isn’t even European. An entire chain of livelihood has sprung up around the park, and not a latte in sight.

Freedom of religion. I was shocked to discover that some remote pockets of this country have not yet accepted President Barack H. Obama as the true savior. Instead, when the crowd rose for the Pledge of Allegiance, the announcer proudly proclaimed, “And I say the ‘with God’ version!”

Freedom of the press. This provision appeared to be the crowd’s favorite. The denizens of New Jersey are unafraid to tattoo anything and everything on their bodies, and they are then kind enough to let us see it by removing most of their clothing. Don’t they understand that real art belongs at a gallery opening in Chelsea?

Freedom of speech. Even my ears, highly trained in the science of linguistics, were not prepared for the undeniable drawl, clearly not limited to these bumpkins’ Southern kin. And the content of the pre-concert (“recital” is too kind a term, fain as I am to use it) announcements dripped of corporate Kool-Aid. This audience’s blind obedience to whatever company “presents” their favorite gig or sporting event is what’s keeping them from buying some respectability at fine establishments such as J.Crew.

Freedom of petition. This was the impressive one. Apparently tiring of my genuine entreaties to help them help themselves, these concertgoers actually circulated a petition telling me to shut the [illegible] up. As I packed up my all-organic picnic in disgust, I could only marvel at what I had seen of the Untied States [sic] of America.

Nathaniel S. Rakich ’10, a Crimson editorial editor, is a government concentrator in Cabot House. He hopes you appreciate satire.