Independence Day OPEN THREAD: Like Sparklers For Your Heart

Jeez, what does an American have to do around here to get a freakin’ day off so we can drink some beer, grill some animals and light some damn explosives?! Ugh, you know?

Look, I’m gonna be honest: I’ve tried to write this post for about three hours and it’s officially become impossible to talk about this holiday, either sarcastically or sincerely, because it seems like every American holiday is so problematic w/r/t origin and commemoration and it’s like, I just want an open thread with pictures of fireworks.

And I was going to complain about how much food we consume during national holidays and how each holiday is more or less just an excuse to eat 7,000 calories in one meal, but you already know this, so I’d just be doing that thing where a person of privilege apologizes for the privilege but then eats two cheeseburgers later.

But I don’t like loud explosions and any sort of gloating, self-important national sentiment makes me a nervous wreck. I know that this is about pride for one’s country — patriotism? — but I don’t understand pride at this level. I get the concept of pride as it pertains to groups that have faced decades or even centuries of oppression and hatred, but I can’t wrap my head around the outwardly boastful sort of pride portrayed on days like this.

HOWEVER, that’s just me and my own little brain! Your brain is probably different and holy holy holy, that’s why there are so many of us — so we can feel all the feelings at once! I love you. I have a drink recipe to share with you, so that we can all forget about Sacajawea, Chinese explosives and embellished stories of Boston harbors for a minute and just get wasted. It’s a watermelon martini and you’re going to fucking love it / me. Let’s not fight.

Watermelon Basil Martini

[photos forthcoming, maybe]

Ingredients per martini
4 1″ watermelon cubes
1 basil leaf
2 oz. vodka

Cut or rip the basil leaves into itty bitty bits. Put all of the ingredients into a shaker and shake the living hell out of it. Ok now stop. Strain everything into a chilled martini glass or, if you’re accident-prone, a plastic cup from the kids’ meals at Red Lobster.

Garnish with your lips. Repeat.

So! Um! Happy 4th of July, Americans! And happy 4th of July to you, too, world. And hey, Australia, happy 5th of July!

You probably have things to say about your day / life / family / lack of / cheese and cracker situation / the merits of the Roman candle and we encourage you to do just that! Right here!

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Laneia is the Director of Operations and founding member of Autostraddle, and you're the reason she's here.

Laneia has written 922 articles for us.


  1. My best friend is American and stuck over here in nowhereville, New Zealand. The 4th of July is almost over, and i’m at the other end of the country. BUT I’m flying up there soon, and we’re going to have a rocking 8th of July party to make up for no-one wanting to celebrate the 4th with her. It’ll almost be like that one time we tried to make these people play baseball to celebrate. They all called us lame, but they did it. Though… I think we had to use a cricket bat from lack of correct gear, so it was probably just messed up cricket.

    Apparently so far our party involves only s’mores. This is a thing I could get used to.

    • I stayed up ’til three a.m. last night folding origami, watching BBC Sherlock, and playing chess. I’m craving curry, I can’t find any sparklers, and it’s raining so I can’t barbeque, but I keep forgetting what day it is anyway so it’s cool. This is basically how I celebrate every year.

  2. I’m a park ranger, so the 4th of July and I are not friends.

    My weekend so far:
    – Woman who claimed that her lovebird is a service pet. What service do you provide, bird? What service?
    – Man who told me to go fuck myself because directions involving three left turns are too hard.
    – 15 year old boy who had his right nipple bitten by a fish. It was bleeding.
    – Anti-Islamic man who said (while holding a guide to understanding the bible), “Are they (pointing to a group of Muslim people) allowed to be in the campground with the rest of us? I don’t want to camp here again if they’re going to be here.”
    – 5 year old boy with an allergic reaction to “shrimp on the barbie.”

    I’m about to go to work. I hope I survive the day.

      • There is a bit, but the folks who are active in it tend to be mostly an older/wealthier/more pretentious crowd that I prefer not to bother with. Which isn’t to say there aren’t Americans my age living here (there are, and I’m friends with some of them) but we’re all pretty disconnected from each other.

  3. I am not an American, but if I was I would totally raise a glass to history for ensuring I didn’t wind up British ;)

    As it happens, today I got my university results back and turns out I’m all good to graduate, so this July 4 is my own independence day… from law school.

    I don’t think there’s a national celebration that isn’t fraught, certainly my own country is an example of that, but I still feel comfortable celebrating the great things about my country and using the day as an opportunity to use what we have as a base to forward and redress the injustices that still exist. Happy Independence Day :)

  4. i have two gallon-sized bags full of frozen watermelon chunks in the freezer and two bushy basil plants bursting with leaves that i need to pick. this recipe is fucking perfect. brb, going to buy vodka

  5. Current feelings revolving around jetlag and watching hotdog eating build-up on TV.

    Afterwards I may celebrate by making homemade fireworks with the non-dairy creamers in hotel room. What the fuck else are they good for anyway?

    Happy independence, Americans!

  6. “But I don’t like loud explosions and any sort of gloating, self-important national sentiment makes me a nervous wreck.”

    You just summed up my feelings absolutely perfectly. Also, that martini sounds yummy. Wish I had some vodka in the house.

  7. I am spending the day chilling in Santa Cruz with my brother and his roommate. We will probably do nothing patriotic all day, except maybe go look at fireworks being shot into the ocean when the sun goes away.

    All in all this sounds pretty okay, especially the part where I’m not in Sacramento where it’s 100 degrees, surrounded by adults who disapprove of underage drinking.

    Happy fourth, emancipated-for-the-day-underage-drinkers-at-the-beach?

  8. In celebration of all the fireworks going off at 7AM this morning (7, what? Are they that anxious?) consequently making me think either a car had exploded outside, or someone had run into one — I am playing nine inch nails as loud as as my speakers will allow for the next few hours. I suppose there may be some guitar playing along with it involved. I love fireworks but I don’t care much for this holiday. American flag themed outfits are very annoying and I am going to do laundry, clean my apartment, and do some work related stuff while drinking rum/lemonade.

  9. My not really ex/person I used to talk to *intensely* wants to go climb up somewhere real high and watch fireworks. This could go well. It could also be horrible.

    If it’s a train wreck I’ll be back later, commenting and cramming coconut milk ice cream down my throat.

  10. I got born 27 years ago today (i quite like the way 27 looks and I am happy to be it, is that weird?). So when I get home from work, I intend to recline with some Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey and The X Files.

    I mean… what more could I ask for.

  11. Okay this is my first comment ever even though I made an account about a month ago and usually want to comment on every single article but then I get shy so I don’t. SO HI AUTOSTRADDLE, I love you very much and read you religiously and sometimes refer to things Riese has written as if we are actual friends IRL (is that awk?) Anyway hopefully I will comment more frequently in the future. But why am I choosing to comment now, you might ask? What broke my perpetual shyness?

    Well. I’m a Canadian living in America and I’m celebrating the 4th by spending the day in my pajamas, writing cover letters, desperately hoping I can move out of suburbia and back to NYC asap. But.


      i still haven’t made it past the first half of the first season of the l word, mainly because i’ve heard how horrible it gets and i don’t want to be disappointed so i had to google who you were referring to BUT – holy hell was she ever naked and do i ever want to do her. godDAMN. here’s hoping she’s in this entire season and naked for most of it.
      i was pleased with the amount of boobs in this episode. here’s also hoping the amount of boobs increases with each episode. it’s true blood, so i don’t think this is an unreasonable hope.

  12. I’ll probably catch a fireworks display someplace.

    I’ll also be rocking out in my room to my two favorite Fourth of July classics: the 1812 Overture and the Stars and Stripes Forever. When I was a kid, my parents took us to Greenfield Village where there would be fireworks and the Detroit Symphony was playing, and those were always the last two pieces they would perform. Which is really funny in the case of the 1812, since it has nothing to do with the Fourth of July or America. I guess the cannons just make it a good piece for starting up the fireworks?

  13. I’ve always found it ironic that today is called “independence day” when there were still millions of people being legally enslaved in the United States for nearly a century after we defeated the Brits 235 years ago…

    So, I just call today July 4th. A random holiday with fireworks where we barbeque and watch cheesy Lifetime movies. Even though this year I’m bemoaning the fact that the FIFA Women’s World Cup isn’t on today thus no Simone Laudehr running around in soccer shorts…

  14. Today I was suckered into marching in the town 4th of July parade with the float for the animal shelter I volunteer with. My camo cut-off shorts and alternative lifestyle haircut(e) may have been too much for my small town… but no one can deny the awesomeness of a dyke with a dog! Yay America!

  15. Normally on the 4th of July I feel annoyed/terrified/ambivalent, so I was planning on hiding in my house today watching Dr Who. Yet somehow I ended up sitting in a bookstore cafe reading Slaughterhouse-5, then crying over X-Men: First Class in the theater. Now I’m drinking beer. I feel strangely American.

  16. spent the day wrangling my lil’ niece and nephew, hanging with my family. good day.

    happy fourth to one and all. here’s to the hope that everyone will be able to celebrate true independence in their livetime.

  17. I’ve spent the day going back and forth between jumping in the pool, laying outside and watching the Twilight Zone marathon on SyFy. Instead of going out with friends, I think I’ll continue to be anti-social and watch more Twilight Zone.

  18. I’ve had it up to here with extended family members policing my gender. And the thing is, they think they are being nice/helpful/complimentary, so I can’t flip my shit at them without feeling like the asshole.

    They are totally the asshole in this picture.

    • Ugh, I know what you mean.

      “You’ve got such pretty legs, why don’t you shave them?” Thanks, I like my legs too, but I also like not cutting my knees up trying to shave them.

      “I like your hat, but it’s so boyish!” What? Really?! …Um, that’s partly why I bought the damn hat.

  19. I’ve just been lurking all day hating my stupid family and freaking about the countdown to THE BIG LIFE MOVE. Has to be all caps. You guys are so rad though. And I watched baseball and I was in charge of the grill which I guess is American…but anti-American bc I’m a chick. Regardless. Yes. I did that.

  20. Hey guess what you guys! We found our lost cat! We moved to a new town a few days ago, which is right next to the town my sister lives in, and we had to give our outdoor cat to my sister because our new apartment would only let us have two cats and we chose to keep our two indoor ones. Well, my sister had that cat for less than 24 hours before she got lost. The vast majority of lost pets are never found again and after a few days we were afraid that would be the case with Chiana. But no! A little bit ago, my sister just happened to see her streaking across the neighborhood and ran after her and brought her home!

    Like sparklers for my heart indeed :)

  21. I just moved from Michigan down to Indiana where there are fireworks stores all over. I’m guessing these stores sold out judging from the 3 hour long, 360 degrees surround sound barrage that has finally ended, for the most part.
    I’ve never seen or heard anything like it.I feel combat tested. I was wondering why Michigan City, IN wasn’t having their fireworks until the 10th. They don’t want to compete with the neighborhoods.

    • Yeah, I’m glad I grew up in MI rather than IN. For a lot of reasons, but legalized civilian fireworks being a big one.

      Of course, even in Michigan we still had dickhead neighbors who just didn’t give a crap and set off fireworks anyway. But we did threaten to call the cops once when one landed near our house.

      • I’m still in Michigan, and it was so annoying last night. I think all of my neighbors had incredibly loud civilian fireworks. Apparently the state government is thinking about legalizing them, in addition to removing the motorcycle helmet laws. Ugh.

  22. I got a mild concussion in the least cool / most lame way possible…but other than that my fourth of July was quite pleasant as it tends to be every year. Pool / grilled foods / beer / cheap yet still entertaining fireworks.

    And now I’m supposed to be studying numbers in Arabic & the use of Ta Marbuta but I’m just here drinking a Dr. Pepper & listening to Katie Melua.


  23. It’s 12:30AM in California and there are STILL exploding things really near my apartment. I do not like it, and neither does my dog, who has been hiding under my desk/bed/pillow all day.


  24. Yet another year of lamenting that I no longer live in a state where setting off fireworks in your own backyard is legal. Also open containers. Although come to think of it, that’s probably not a great combination.

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