I’ve been meaning to write about flags for ages, cos they are things that I’ve been very interested in since I was a kid.
But now seems like the right time. I’m sure the US was awash with them yesterday. Germany was, too (and still is). On the three minute walk to the supermarket yesterday I saw 32 flags. All but three were German flags (the others: two Brazilian, one American), hanging out of windows and attached to plastic poles on cars.
It also coincides with what I’m working on at the moment. There’s not been much on FFF lately cos I’m concentrating on writing and writing and writing stuff for the FFF Pictorial Atlas. Fingers crossed, touching wood, etc. it might end up being a book. So, I’ve come across lots of stuff about flags.
Here’s my problem, though. Flag desceration. If someone wants to burn a flag, I see nothing wrong with that. It’s kind of a futile gesture, so why get worked up about it? Someone’s burning a bit of cloth. Woo, big deal. It’s not like they’re actually burning the ideals of a nation or any of its citizens. The recent attempt by Bush and his increasingly Pravda-like chums in the press to make it an issue is so transparently a diversion from real issues it borders on comedy.
Not as transparent, though, as the shitty-quality flags all over the place. Honestly, if they’re proud of their nation and/or flag, why do so many people have flags made of material that, if it were any cheaper and thinner, would have the consistency of cigarette smoke? And why do so many people let them get so dirty and raggedy? Flag burning, to me, seems far less of a disrespectful act as letting the flag you are supposedly proud of get in such a shabby state.
I found the above German flag lying on the floor a couple of days ago. Look at the state of it! Those bands of colour aren’t of equal width! And it’s not as if it’s a complex flag to make! Red ink, yep; black ink, yep; yellow, yep. Cool, now make three equal stripes. For someone to make a flag of such poor quality is one thing, but for a presumably patriotic person to buy it and display it…
(And you may think this photo is taken from a slight angle, thus the slight appearance of perspective to its shape; but no! it really is that bad an attempt at a rectangle!)
I’m meandering somewhere without really having an end point, but maybe this as good as any:
Apparently, Danish law says that burning any nation’s flag is against the law. Except for the Danish flag itself. That, Denmark, is a truly beautiful and incredibly noble law.