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Keep your eye on the grand old flag
November 21, 2008 5:02 AM   Subscribe

Fringe Friday: Did you know that a fringe around the flag indicates martial law? Any sovereign citizen knows better than to accept the jurisdiction of the American War Flag! Or wait--is it really Old Glory that bows to martial law? Fly your Civil Flag with pride!
posted by shii (39 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
There's some (probably) true information in these links and also some obvious BS. It's hard to figure out where the line is. For instance:

The U.S. government hasn't flown the civil flag since the Civil War, as that war is still going on. Peace has never been declared, nor have hostilities against the people ended. The government is still operation under quasi-military rule.

This starts off pretty believable but then ends up in whatland.
posted by DU at 5:22 AM on November 21, 2008


I've been waiting for a flag post (not to be confused with a flagged post) to mention my obsession with flag folding. Flags have such symbolic importance.

There is an official way to fold the U.S. flag, but this method of folding is not universal. Most States in the U.S. use the same method, but this method is impossible with the flag of Ohio, which has an unusual shape necessitating its own official way to fold the Ohio flag.

I became obsessed with the art and politics of flag folding. Different countries have different systems. There is one method in Canada, a different method in Portugal or India, and yet a different method in Brazil or Croatia or the Czech Republic.

It's interesting to me how the symbolic structure of the flag itself is reflected in the behavioral procedure for folding it.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:25 AM on November 21, 2008 [4 favorites]


Or maybe all of it is BS. A dissenting view.

Let the battle of the poorly-designed websites commence!
posted by DU at 5:26 AM on November 21, 2008


If there is an issue, there are hoards of people who will bend it into some semblance of nuttery.
posted by edgeways at 5:30 AM on November 21, 2008


So which one is it OK to burn? Also, it appears that flag nuts cannot afford much bandwidth.
posted by TedW at 5:45 AM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is another case where the image tag would be really helpful. /=
posted by djeo at 5:47 AM on November 21, 2008


God, I hate the nutbags in this country.
posted by grubi at 6:11 AM on November 21, 2008


Did you know that a fringe around the flag indicates martial law?

BS. Even if Eisenhower's EO were binding on the courts, a ludicrous proposition, all military flags being yellow-fringed does NOT imply all yellow-fringed flags being military.

shii, you fail elementary logic. stop posting crap.
posted by jock@law at 6:17 AM on November 21, 2008


(giggle) Ron Paul!
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:18 AM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


A short, rational statement regarding gold fringe that states what we already knew.

The only fringe element that is scary are the people behind that apfn.org website.
posted by Muddler at 6:26 AM on November 21, 2008


Is this kind of nuttery unique to the US? Or are there similar such constitutional wackjobs in other countries? People agitating to return to what they claim to be the true intents of the Treaty of Union or some such?
posted by Thorzdad at 6:30 AM on November 21, 2008


The flag code is not self-enforcing and Congress has never passed legislation to enforce it.

The real shame is the commercial exploitation of the flag. It is against the code to use it in advertising.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:34 AM on November 21, 2008


The obsession some people have with the flag is a classic example of confusing the map with the territory. And we all know what follows that...
posted by rusty at 6:37 AM on November 21, 2008


in defense of shii, it appears the post contains a pun that sets the tenor of the post. I don't think shii is part of said, ahem... fringe.
posted by lyam at 6:38 AM on November 21, 2008


God, I hate the nutbags in this country.

Oh, I love them. Most of them are actually kind of harmless -- okay, yes, I know that nutbags posting their stuff online may lead to them being contacted and joined by other nutbags, but most of the time, even if that happens, they don't really do much aside from form little kaffeklatsches which start out with the intent to Reform Society but then break down into more social organizations, which keeps them out of everyone else's way. Most nutbags are just way too out there for even other nutbags to take them seriously.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:41 AM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Or are there similar such constitutional wackjobs in other countries?

British National Party.

...they don't really do much aside from form little kaffeklatsches which start out with the intent to Reform Society but then break down into more social organizations, which keeps them out of everyone else's way...

And don't forget their almost single-handed maintenance of the Flea Market Industry.
posted by DU at 6:44 AM on November 21, 2008




I always get a kick out of the fact that conspiracy loons have the idea that the all powerful shadow conspiracy they believe in must, despite being all powerful, use bizarre coded hints as to its nature. I mean, why would an all powerful conspiracy shadow government feel the need to advertise its presence with coded meaning in gold fringe? Wouldn't they just use a non fringed flag to super-duper hide themselves? But no, then they couldn't get the false feeling of being in the know, which appears to be the main point of all the conspiracy wackjobbery.

Conspiracy loons never cease to both amuse and frustrate me. The way the look at the world is so radically different from the way the world actually is that I do think its legitimate to call it insanity.
posted by sotonohito at 6:48 AM on November 21, 2008 [6 favorites]


There was a great Far Side cartoon, where a shocked looking cow says "I just found out how they make hamburger!" and the other cows say "Conspiracy theorist!"
posted by Bitter soylent at 7:00 AM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


The real shame is the commercial exploitation of the flag. It is against the code to use it in advertising.

Canada avoids this because the Canadian flag is a trademark of the Government of Canada.
posted by oaf at 7:14 AM on November 21, 2008


let me befirst to say it: TINFOIL!
posted by krautland at 7:20 AM on November 21, 2008


There was a great Far Side cartoon

It's not a Far Side cartoon.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:32 AM on November 21, 2008


I really hate those nutcases. fuck them all. this is nothing but pure bullshit.
posted by mike3k at 7:43 AM on November 21, 2008


In other flag-related news, the recently restored Star-Spangled Banner's new display area at the Smithsonian is opening today, along with the rest of the remodeled American History Museum.
posted by ikahime at 8:07 AM on November 21, 2008


jock@law: shii, you fail elementary logic. stop posting crap.

Lighten up, Francis.
posted by barnacles at 8:12 AM on November 21, 2008


You can take our badly-designed web sites, but you'll never take our FREEEEEEEEEEEEDOM!
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:28 AM on November 21, 2008


Bitter soylent: There was a great Far Side cartoon, where a shocked looking cow says "I just found out how they make hamburger!" and the other cows say "Conspiracy theorist!"
Eponysterical. Sorry.

posted by Doofus Magoo at 8:53 AM on November 21, 2008


I'm related to a few of those kinds of nutcases, each of whom holds a Class 3 Weapon Permit, has extensive military or civilian weapons training, 10,000 rounds of custom ammunition in their basement, and are quietly preparing for some sort of civil doomsday scenario. The crazier thing is that in the areas where they live the culture embraces people with scary reactionary ideologies to arm themselves to the teeth, "just in case they are needed." In fact, one of them (not related to me) was an election official in 2004 election. He had an over-sized briefcase beside him in the little county courthouse where voting took place. I can tell you that he was there for more than to simply make sure the voting process went smoothly for all citizens and that everyone around him was probably happy that if the terrorists come, they'll have to get through him and his HK MPK5.
posted by mrmojoflying at 8:54 AM on November 21, 2008


“Conspiracy loons never cease to both amuse and frustrate me.”

I have had some run ins with these folks. I’ve been a conspiracy theory hobbiest for some time (thanks to R.A.W. and Ivan Stang). A while back a guy went to court for driving his bus (I’m not kidding - bus) that he lived on, that was decorated with ‘patriotic’ regalia and 60’s type styling (apparently not ‘furthur’ but y’know) - into his parents house to save them (I’m not kidding) from the forces of darkness.
Ok, well, in court he defended himself by saying he was an American soverign citizen and not subject to the jurisdiction of the court.
Strangely, this cut no ice with the judge.
Anyway, he was trying to save his family, he said, and blah blah blah Jesus and God and the bible (you saw that coming) and the apocalypse, etc - essentially - the courts were a mechanism by which the beast would oppress the U.S. and the fringe on the gold flag, etc. etc. all the stuff here.
This whole mish mash of preacher speak and jailhouse patter.

Well I keep seeing this guy.

Kind of like I had run ins with Danny Bonaduce a while back when he was in Chicago (seriously - I couldn’t get rid of the guy. I’d see him on the highway. I’d go to a club - there he is. I saw him in the gym. I’d be talking to one of my buddies in the martial arts community - there’s Bonaduce working out. etc. etc. Finally he came up to me and said “don’t I know you?” - not his fault, or mine, just a weird serendipity sort of thing. Of course, we’re radically different people which is what makes it so weird).

Same sort of deal with this guy. And like Bonaduce (red hair, boisterous personality) - this guy is unmistakable. Charles Manson beard and hair, flag bandana, etc.
So penultamate time I saw him (to make a long story short - I mean I’d catch him in weird places, like this hole in the wall specialized Asian market my wife and I go to) he’s talking about the need for an investigation into the powers that be - Obama and how he got elected, how he’s not the anti-christ but he’s paving the way for the coming of the anti-christ - maybe. And what nostradamus had to say - etc. etc.
And y’know, the cops are just sort of giving him the eye (why he’d go to law enforcement for this kind of thing I have no clue - apparently he’s been kicked out of newspaper offices and city council meetings, etc. etc.)

So last thing he says is that THEY are on to him (even though he’s kept, y’know, such a low profile so far) and they’re going to ‘get rid’ of him somehow.

Well, a few days ago I’m doing some stuff downtown and I’m by the bus station, and it’s wispy snowing y’know.
And I see him walking with his mom.
(Had to be his mom, everyone’s body language is the same when it comes to how they walk with their mom)
And he’s got a little suitcase, probably had one change of underwear in it, an extra bandanna, maybe a toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste.

His mom’s got this stern look on her face. Obviously, he’s heading out of town.
She’s putting him on a bus and sending him off.
It was just such a sad, pathetic scene.

I can’t help thinking maybe there is some big weird force going on where I’ve been given some insight into this guy’s life. Sure, it’s all just a coincidence. But that’s just it.
I mean, he’s trying to make sense of his life and these things that happen in the world and to him, and here’s me who’s had only a small handful of observations of the guy and it’s obvious from the outside what’s going on.
But he thinks it is stuff from the outside. So even if I said “Hey, man, it’s you and these crazy ideas you have that’s fucking you all up” he’d never buy it.
I’m probably a MIB to him. Or just a dupe.

Anyway, saw him get on the bus (heh, bus) and look out the window with a complete lack of understanding in his eyes.

Just sort of sad and strange and so lost. And yet, kinda comical.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:57 AM on November 21, 2008 [7 favorites]


Barely on-topic, but where else to bring out one of my favorite King of the Hill quotes. Context - Dale and Hank are on trial for unwittingly selling crack as fishing bait:

DALE: I do not recognize the authority of a court that hangs the gold-fringed flag. A flag with gilded edges is the flag of an admirality court. An admirality court signifies a naval court-martial. I cannot be court-martialled twice. That is all.
posted by griphus at 10:14 AM on November 21, 2008 [4 favorites]


The BNP are not the British equivalent of this - they are right wing racists and xenophobes, sure, but not (in terms of party policy) conspiracy nuts.

There are a few people who think that (70s Prime Minister) Ted Heath was a traitor for signing Britain up to the EU, and I saw a while ago someone claiming that the Queen herself was a traitor for signing the European Communities Act into law.

Then there's the Jacobite legitimists, who refuse to acknowledge the 1688 Glorious Revolution and claim that some petrol station owner in Marseilles, or something, is the true King of England.

Maybe having a monarchy makes for different nationalist nutjobs.
posted by athenian at 10:34 AM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


they couldn't get the false feeling of being in the know, which appears to be the main point of all the conspiracy wackjobbery.

You've pinpointed it precisely. I shall be quoting you henceforth.
posted by grubi at 11:17 AM on November 21, 2008


Looks like the flag of the Cheyenne government
posted by qvantamon at 11:38 AM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Is this kind of nuttery unique to the US? Or are there similar such constitutional wackjobs in other countries? People agitating to return to what they claim to be the true intents of the Treaty of Union or some such?

To take a different tack on this, I just watched the early Richard Burton comedy Green Grow the Rushes, which is about a (fictional) place in the Kent Marshes whose economy was based on smuggling and piracy, and was chock full of ridiculously attired officials defending this as based in a charter of self-government granted by Henry III. The antagonists are a trio of bespoke-suited government bureaucrats from Whitehall who intend to develop the area for agriculture, but are frustrated at every turn by the stubborn refusal of the locals to recognize London's authority. An IMDB commenter astutely connects this to Little England and (probably) Chesterton's epigram, "The British Empire may annex what it likes, it will never annex England. It has not even discovered the island, let alone conquered it."
It's fun, but it's no Tight Little Island.

In other words, I think there is a universal impulse here, but in the United States history is so attenuated that there is no ancien regime on which to fall back.
posted by dhartung at 11:49 AM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


The US has a special propensity for this kind of conspiracy theory because it's one of the few countries that has an institutional revolutionary government that's more than a few generations old.

The other developed countries generally fall in two buckets:

They have governments which officially descend legitimately from the old nobility (for example, the de facto governments of UK, Canada, Australia are all authorized by the Queen, and half of Europe are constitutional monarchies), where, as pointed out, the conspiracy theories go more in line of "but really, in the early 1200 the king screwed a hooker and she conceived his firstborn, from which this litigation lawyer descends, and so he's the rightful king". They can't really question the legitimacy of the government as illegitimate within the institutional framework - they can be republicans, but can't really go around saying what God's chosen earthly ruler is doing is illegitimate without questioning the divine right premise.

Or, they have newer "revolutionary" institutions (like France's cinquieme republique, 50 years old). If someone tries to bullshit about how "this is not what DeGaulle wanted", some old fart will fatefully come out to say "Bullshit! I knew DeGaulle back in the day... we carried onions in our belts as was fashion at the time... speaking of onions I shouldn't have had them for lunch... my intestines aren't the same since that shot I took in Algiers... Damn Algerians... wait, what were we talking about? Oh, right, DeGaulle... Bullsht, he wanted exactly that. Now get off my damn lawn."
posted by qvantamon at 12:11 PM on November 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


barnacles: Lighten up, Francis.

I don't like nobody postin bad logic. Any uh you homos post any bad logic... I'll kill yeh

posted by jock@law at 1:26 PM on November 21, 2008


Oh, if the Fortean Times is correct, conspiracy theories are certainly not just an American phenomena. Evidently there are a fair number of groups proposing that the UK government is controlled by or in the pocket of nefarious interests, and some of their writers take great pleasure in skewering David Icke.

I met a guy who worked on the folklore of conspiracy theories who claims that they really took off after Hiroshima. But I think it was also that WWII involved espionage and counter-espionage on an unprecedented scale. The U.S. and German governments had entire factories and small cities entirely off-the-map devoted to the development and production of weapons, and critical decisions about the military and economic future of Europe were made at highly secret conferences. Many conspiracy theories are only a small step away from the actual conspiracies that shaped WWII.

But I think there is another factor involved, which is that many conspiracies are only a small step away from the actual corruption and influence that has plagued many governments. It's only a small step away from influence-peddling scandals involving lobbyists, to considering that a handful of very wealthy people are colluding to influence American politics.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:42 PM on November 21, 2008


Unfortunately this information got to us too late, because Bush declared martial law to steal the election just like everyone predicted.
posted by mattholomew at 1:50 PM on November 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Back to the flag... the way people flew it after September 11, 2001, felt wrong to me. Lots of flags went up then, and the statement they seemed to be making was reactionary. But my wife and I made a flag this fall, and we've been flying it every day (that it hasn't rained) since the election. It's felt so good to reclaim the flag now that I can be proud of my country again.
posted by rikschell at 6:03 PM on November 21, 2008


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