28 August 2009

What we can learn about the United States from the new U.S. Passport

In this post I will be carefully ignoring the fact that my passport now has an electronic chip in it. We will be ignoring this because, due to the presence of that chip, the government knows everything I'm typing.

What we're going to do is learn about the greatest country on Earth from an examination of its passports. Each page has a ghosted background image. These images are, in order:
  1. Francis Scott Key watching the bombardment of Fort McHenry*
  2. A bald eagle
  3. A saguaro desert
  4. The Rockies
  5. Images of independence and Philadelphia related objects like the Liberty Bell
  6. A sailing ship off of a New England coast
  7. Bison and a bald eagle AND the rockies
  8. Mt. Rushmore
  9. A Mississippi riverboat
  10. A farmer using a hand plow and two oxen to plow a field
  11. Two cowboys herding longhorn cattle
  12. A steam engine locomotive
  13. A grizzly bear eating a fish next to a totem pole
  14. The Statue of Liberty
  15. A spacecraft (possibly Voyager) looking back at Earth
From these images I think we can safely surmise that:
  • The only building ever constructed in the United States was Constitution Hall
  • All methods of conveyance have paused at a technological level equivalent to the year 1850
  • America is populated by farmers, cowboys, and large, predatory wildlife.
  • Totem poles are a naturally occuring phenomenon.
  • The Voyager spacecraft was built by two cowboys using the scraps left over from the Statue of Liberty.

* - That's right, the very first thing you see in a US passport is my home city of Baltimore. Under fire, of course, but that's rather accurate these days anyway.

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