Saturday, September 2, 2023

Too Many Ugly Flags

They're ugly and there are too many of them.  Sorry!

Mark and I were remarking that the various gay pride flags (and there are now dozens of different varieties of them) are not really very pretty, from a design standpoint.  In fact, they are so ugly you'd think a straight guy designed them.

The history of the gay flag is [not that] interesting.  Someone came up with the idea of rainbow colors, which I think was meant to represent the diversity of all peoples and all orientations.  It was also a shout-out to "somewhere over the rainbow" which became something of a gay anthem, because the gays love camp, and we love drug-and-booze addled divas who die young (why, is beyond me). Someone else took out two of the colors to make it fit a display and the modern gay flag was born.

Simple?  Yes. Garish?  You bet! The use of simple, primary colors is reminiscent of decorations in a kindergarten or a child's room, or the colors used for Pla-Skool toys.  And today, people are freaking out because a classroom has colored construction paper which no doubt means the teacher is grooming the kids!  They fail to realize bright primary colors predate the gay flag.

But from a design standpoint, it is a nightmare.  It looks like something a child would draw - a poor child whose Mother could only afford the cheap crayon set from the dollar store, that came with only seven crayons.  It is... tacky.  There I said it.

But OK, so we get this garish flag.  No sweat.  But that wasn't enough for some folks.  They started adding colors and designs and logos, because the rainbow that represented inclusiveness wasn't inclusive enough for them.  Worse yet, what that wanted was a flag of their own that separated themselves from everyone else.  So today, we have dozens of such flags, for every person and purpose, and to what end, I am not sure.

The latest variation is the "trans" flag.  Again, the rainbow is supposed to represent everybody (even straight people!), so there is no need to add more colors or images to include more people.  But they went ahead and did it anyway, adding a weird triangle with pastel colors (clash!) on one side.  They took a design for a flag that was at least simple, if not inelegant, and made it into a mish-mosh of primary colors and pastels, stripes and triangles, angles and shapes, all in the name of inclusivity - from an original flag whose very rainbow was meant to represent inclusivity.

And a gay man designed this?  The myth of gays having talent and sophistication has been shattered.

Of course, it isn't just the gays flying ugly flags these days. The Trumpers have a whole set of ugly flags that keep morphing and mutating. The flag business must be pretty brisk these days!  There is the Trump 2020 flag, of course (updated for 2024!) and the so-called Gasden flag ("Don't step on the snake!") and the thin blue line, thin red line, and thin whatever line American flag (with black stripes, which supposedly means "take no prisoners" or something).  Then there are distressed versions of all these flags, with the stripes fading off to nothing.  They even have a "punisher" flag with the logo of a comic book hero who, ironically, fought the very sort of people who fly that flag.

Some of these right-wing flags were clearly designed by straight men, with busy designs, lots of text in tiny elaborate fonts, and garish colors.  You can't even read what they say, unless they are tacked to a wall and you are standing no more than six feet away.  There is a reason most flags are very simple in design - so they can be distinguished when flown from a flag pole.  Look at some of the classics from Europe - the French flag, the Italian flag, etc.  Simplicity itself!  Clean classic design.

So, right or left, we are awash in a sea of butt-ugly flags, it seems.  And let's not even talk about those "seasonal" flags  your Grandma flies on the porch - you know, the one with the cute bunny for Easter, and the other with the green leprechaun for St. Paddy's Day.  Grandma, we love you, but... yeeech!

And it seems that flag-waving is a new thing.  Because when I was a kid, none of these modern flags existed. You might have an American flag you flew on the 4th of July or Memorial Day.  A few people had a flag pole on their front lawn and raised the flag every day (and lowered it at sunset, as you are supposed to do, per the unenforceable flag code).  But most folks thought that people who flew flags every day were a little weird.  Yea, we get it, we're in the United States.  No need to label it, unnecessarily.

So the American flag and maybe your State Flag (but who even knows what those look like?) would fly, but that was about it.  And we didn't fly them very often, and we wouldn't fly them from our pickup truck - that would be disrespectful.  And yea, maybe there were some rednecks in the South who would fly the Confederate battle flag, but they were just racist jerks and everyone hated them.  Today you see ignorant yahoos in Pennsylvania flying the Confederate flag.  They just don't get it - Pennsylvania was on the winning side, remember?

I digress, but what is it with people who pine to be losers?  The South lost.  The Nazis lost.  No one liked them, they were outnumbered and they had shitty causes to fight for.  Do people really want to lose again and again?  It only took about five years to beat the South - and the Nazis.  What's the point of re-hashing all that?

Of course, everyone has a right to fly the flag of their choice, within reason and in accordance with the HOA rules and local regulations. Yes, free speech doesn't mean unlimited speech, just as the second amendment doesn't mean you can build an H-bomb in your basement.  There are limits to everything, whether people want to believe it or not.

Recently, a young man gunned down an old lady for having the audacity to fly the gay pride flag.  He was no doubt mentally unhinged, so of course, he had easy access to guns.  27 years old and gunned down by the cops (that saved us all a lot of time) - what a waste of two lives.  If only we had some sort of building where we could put mentally ill people who are dangerous to themselves or others, and then help them with therapy and treatments.  Nah!  That would never work!  Better to arm them and let them roam free - it will all sort itself out, somehow.

But no doubt, what triggered this wind-up soldier wasn't the lady's gay flag.  She was just displaying it in her bookstore to show solidarity for a minority under attack - she wasn't gay herself.  But certain television networks and online channels have been pushing alarming messages of hate, and that's what triggers these wind-up soldiers.  That lady was shot by Fox News and ONN - using a mentally ill young man as an intermediary.  They can claim they didn't intend that particular person to be shot, but they can't argue they weren't aware their incendiary rhetoric wouldn't cause violence.

Again, free speech - you are free to say horrible things, I guess, but not free from the consequences.  And many advertisers are fleeing such networks and websites, as they don't want to be associated with racism, misogyny, violence, or insurrection.

Just as, as a customer, you don't have to patronize a business who flies a Trump flag - or a gay flag for that matter.  And as a business owner, it generally means it is bad practice to align yourself with one political spectrum or another, unless you know your customer base is largely aligned with that spectrum.  Flying a gay flag at the Lesbian Wymyn's Co-operative isn't going to turn away customers (but sadly, attract gunmen).  Flying a Trump flag at the Kountry Kitchen Kafe isn't going to cost you any business.  I always get a laugh when some redneck diner owner goes on television and says, "no one is going to cancel me!" as if his customers will shy away from the very same views they espouse.

But of course, no one is gunning down people for flying a Trump flag - yet.  It seems that some, however, pine for the next Civil War, where you can just go shoot people you don't like.  What is it with humanity and its desire to self-destruct every 50 years or so?

Flags - they flew a lot of them in Nazi Germany, and quite a few in the Civil War.  Flags can unite us or divide us.  We seem to choose the latter.  With the plethora of Gay flags today, it seems the message of inclusivity and unity has been shattered.  Everyone has their own flag, and their own cubby-hole, which is exclusive to them.  I'm not like you, I'm non-binary asexual transgender!  Go away!

Divide and conquer, the oldest game in the book!

Maybe less ugly flags?  But then again, I am being redundant - there are few "pretty" flags in the world, it seems.