Saluting the flag

I’m feeling rather sorry for the Peruvian model who is being prosecuted for “offending patriotic symbols”. All she did was use her country’s flag as a saddle while riding a horse in the nude. I’m sure she meant no disrespect – indeed, her purpose may have been to honour the flag in an unusual and imaginative way. I believe she’s going to auction the hallowed cloth on eBay to raise money for her legal defence. I won’t be making a bid myself, but will endeavour to contribute to her fund by other means. The State must never be allowed to curtail the artist’s freedom of expression, nor suppress the flow of her creative juices.

My only reservation about her conduct is the involvement of the horse. The conceited posturing of these stripeless zebra is something I witnessed in the circus. I remember watching one of our female stunt riders practising feats of gymnastic agility on a particularly cocky colt. All of a sudden, a dog scampered into the ring, causing the horse to halt abruptly. Luckily, the woman didn’t fall off because she was tightly straddling her mount – but her momentum caused her to slide jerkily along his back up to the nape of his neck. She then groaned and grabbed his mane, remaining motionless for half a minute, before dismounting breathlessly with a face as pink as smoked salmon. In the days that followed, the obnoxious animal couldn’t stop chortling and whinnying about the incident, as if he'd intentionally given her the mother of all gusset massages.

Now a lot of you are probably thinking that a gorilla could never understand the emotional significance of a national flag. Well I’ve got news for you: we gorillas have our own emblem. Before I describe it, I’m going to tell you a story that will make you ashamed to be human. The setting is again the circus, and the instigator of the drama was a clown who planted a flag above his trailer to celebrate a gay pride event. I later discovered that the ensign he raised was called “the jolly todger” (apparently the official banner of the “Bayswater Fairy Godfathers”) which is a fairly accurate description of its appearance. It had scarcely been fluttering for five minutes, however, when an irate posse converged at the clown’s door to demand that he take it down. It is fortunate I was there to intervene when I saw them haranguing the fellow.

“You are a mob of ignorant oppressors!” I cried. “Our fruity friend has every right to express his allegiance on this special day for his people! Disperse forthwith and repent of your bigotry!”

The persecutors silently and shamefacedly withdrew under my stern gaze. I immediately raised the standard of the gorilla nation over my own trailer, and I’m pleased to recall that several other performers joined me in this gesture of solidarity. Two flags that were proudly erected were the Red Dragon of Wales and the Blue Smurf of Phrygia, which immediately lightened the prevailing mood. A Smurf is always guaranteed to bring smiles to faces, whilst Welsh nationalism was invented largely for its comic potential (see the writings of
Mr Boyo).

So what is the emblem of the gorilla nation? It is the magnificent rump of a silverback in his prime, garnished with a pair of palm leaves. Anyone tempted to call it “the arse and wipes” in my presence should be aware that being sat on by a 500-pound gorilla can leave you with a permanent limp.

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