Are you waving the flag at me?

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Baba Ryba

Senior Member
Polish
Hi Guys,
I am translating a movie about Sam Fuller - American director.
He has made a film "Pickup on South Street" Edgar Hoover - FBI chief does not like the script and is interviewing Fuller.
The scene Hoover refers to is a scene when FBI agent is trying to get a pickpocket to collaborate with his organisation.

" 'Are you waving the flag at me?' " said Hoover, quoting from the script. "What kind of a thing is that for an American to say?"


"That's his character," I replied. If it were another character, I explained, he might say, "By God, I'd do anything for my country!"

How to understand this "flag" idiom thing?
It should be something OPPOSITE to "By God I'd do anything for my country!" but I do not get it. I understand it as:
"Are you trying to get me to collaborate?"
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    " 'Are you waving the flag at me?' " said Hoover, quoting from the script. "What kind of a thing is that for an American to say?"

    I understand it as:
    "Are you trying to get me to collaborate?"
    That sounds about right. The subtext being something like: Are you trying to shame me into doing what you want by suggesting it would be unpatriotic not to co-operate?
     

    BLUEGLAZE

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Waving the flag (the country's flag) is a sign of patriotism.
    So waving the American flag is calling upon his sense of patriotism to act.
     
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