Men and Their Fireworks: Exploring the Joy of Explosives


Instant Gratification, and the Freudian Angle

Diamond suggests that the explosions are ways of releasing this pent-up energy in a way that provides instant gratification.

He also presented a more Freudian view that the fireworks represent "a repressed sexual dimension," with rockets as very phallic symbols.

"The explosion kind of represents that discharge," Diamond said. "There are a lot of sensory aspects to these explosions, a lot of discharge for things that aren't socially acceptable."

In young boys especially, Diamond said, the activity can provide a release for anger and a desire to break free from a dependence on others, especially mothers. He said that it is easier for girls to be comfortable with the type of close relationship they have with mothers, but, for boys, there can be a conflict between that same closeness and a societal pressure for separation.

The fireworks are a "temporary resolution of conflict," according to Diamond. "With time, this diminishes with healthy development and becomes diverted into more socially acceptable ways, like films or various kinds of technologies."

The manifestation of these socially acceptable outlets are everywhere, from explosive summer action blockbusters like "X-Men" and "The Green Hornet" to the Discovery Channel's popular "Mythbusters," a show that uses science and often-explosive experiments to answer questions like "Can combining Diet Coke and Mentos make your stomach explode?" or "Can plugging your finger in a gun barrel cause it to backfire?"

"I have no idea why we love it," said Greg McCutcheon, 30, a middle school band director from Fort Worth, Tex. "It's the fascination with explosives and the rush. I remember shoving fireworks into anything that would explode—apples, G.I. Joes, whatever."

Whatever the reason, it's easy to guess what these men will be doing on the 4th.

Additional reporting by's Susan James and Nancy Ramsey

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...