Developed with mentorship from Polyester Zine. Gratitude to Ione Gamble and Gina Tonic.
Models: Bethany Habegger, Huner Emin, Maureen Maryanski, Krisy Mahome, Danny Bolton, Lisa Spencer, Eric Agyemang-Dua and Sarah "Pixie" Conway.
Guest Creative Direction (Stranger in a Strange Land, Founding Father Reimagined): Eric Agyemang-Dua. Guest Photo Editor (Seeds of Destruction): Mike Waddell.
Location: Bloomington, Ellettsville, Martinsville and Spencer, Indiana, USA.
All Images © 2023 Kathryn Coers Rossman All Rights Reserved. Please do not save, share or distribute without permission.
Publication Date: May 23, 2023 in Polyester Magazine, London, UK (polyesterzine.com, insta: @polyesterzine). Link to published work: https://www.polyesterzine.com/features/punk-patriotism
Break the rules. Revoke your trust in authority. We have every right and, indeed, a duty to think independently and express suspicion and calculated disrespect. Go punk!
Photographer Kathryn Coers Rossman is a proud patriot, 100 percent hoodlum and product of American decline. She has channeled all her cultural anxiety about being an American into this project. Her aim is to take back the flag for those who feel disassociated from it.
Americans have become less patriotic than they were. A WSJ-NORC poll from this year showed a 32 percent decline in patriotism since 1998, finding that "patriotism, religion, having children and other priorities that helped define the national character for generations are receding in importance in America." Whether or not they are aware, Americans have become global inhabitants and are doing things differently because they can disregard boundaries. Especially online, pride in national identity is neither practical nor profitable.
The American flag is now associated with right-wing politics. Laced with irony, a tortured emblem flown after terrorist attacks and mass shootings, and in warzones and on Wall Street. Patriotism is now synonymous with nationalism. It has slid into nostalgia and cynicism.
Whereas British subculture has long embraced the Union Jack, the very idea of Punk Patriotism is “un-American.” This project attempts to exhibit the U.S. flag as slickly punk through political surrealism and our general disenchantment. It is possible to wear the Stars and Stripes unironically, but it is impossible to wear the flag without acknowledging how much we squandered—be it wealth, resources, goodwill or time.
Acknowledging all that is wrong with America, yet remaining invested in this democratic experiment, we turn to punk patriotism.
National Anthem: Punk Patriotism! — Polyester
Whether or not they are aware, Americans have become global inhabitants and are confronted with the belief that their patriotism may not be fairly earned.