Go home Connecticut, you're drunk.
June 24, 2015 9:51 AM   Subscribe

“I have a love of ships. What can I say? They transport food around the planet.” That is a quote from “Grey,” the “Fifty Shades of Grey” book told from Christian’s perspective, but it could equally describe how New Hampshire came up with its state flag.
Every state flag is wrong, and here's why.
posted by jenkinsEar (113 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
As I said to a friend this morning, this article would be great two weeks from now. Right now it's a light take on a serious matter.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:56 AM on June 24, 2015 [11 favorites]


The real story on the California flag sounds almost too good to be true. But it is.
posted by lagomorphius at 9:58 AM on June 24, 2015 [26 favorites]


Everyone's a vexillologist.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:58 AM on June 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


Had to check the URL to make sure I didn't click on BuzzFeed. Way to go, Bezos.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:59 AM on June 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


Eh, I'm no fan of Connecticut (and transplanting myself out of that soil certainly sustained my sanity), but that motto is perfectly cromulent to anyone who knows colonial US history and the context of the founding of the state of CT. Which would, hopefully, include its residents.
posted by amelioration at 10:03 AM on June 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


Ugh, I know it says "states" and all and DC really isn't a state (something I have been paid to teach children!) but it really bothers me how we are so often left off of stuff like this. I mean, I know it's silly to care about this but when we also don't get congressional representation and yet are more directly affected by Congress than anyone else even silly stuff becomes really, really frustrating because there's just no recognition. In this case I can explain it as "you can't make fun of the DC flag because it's actually super super good" but the whole thing still really frustrates me.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:03 AM on June 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


Also their commentary on the Rhode Island flag is nonsense, that is an okay flag too, Rhode Island is great, why do I only live in places that are tiny and corrupt but with acceptable flags?
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:04 AM on June 24, 2015 [8 favorites]


Oregon Trail?* Really?

We have a freaking beaver on the reverse side of the only two-sided flag in the Union.

Our flag (well, the back of it anyway) is awesome.

* "Your flag has died of dysentery"
posted by madajb at 10:05 AM on June 24, 2015 [17 favorites]


I was not aware that the Georgia flag is literally just the flag of the Confederate States of America.
posted by vogon_poet at 10:06 AM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think Caity Weaver/The Hairpin's state flag mockery from a few years ago was funnier, personally, but state flags are an easy target.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 10:07 AM on June 24, 2015 [7 favorites]


I feel like we had a shitty flags of obscure municipalities post recently? But I'm too lazy to look up the previously

I love all the flags with the weird state seals. Rock on with your crudely-drawn allegorical figures and symbolic farming implements, state flags.
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:09 AM on June 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


it really bothers me how we are so often left off of stuff like this

Especially because this is from the Washington Post, who should really know better.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 10:10 AM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


That's gonna be this previously, prize bull octorok.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 10:11 AM on June 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


It is hard to decide which is worse: the general state of flag design in the US, or a make-rent article mocking them. You know, the flags of the US states are bad not because they include obscure and unexplained bits of history (most flags do), but that they don't keep to accepted principles of flag design. The Connecticut motto is not stupid in itself, it's just stupid putting it on a flag.
posted by Thing at 10:12 AM on June 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


Roman Mars sets the standard for design geek flag bloviation, but it's more or less a trend now. I actually overheard an argument about it at an snotty artisinal cocktail place here in DC recently.
posted by ryanshepard at 10:13 AM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sic semper clickbaitis
posted by infinitewindow at 10:15 AM on June 24, 2015 [14 favorites]


I love all the flags with the weird state seals. Rock on with your crudely-drawn allegorical figures and symbolic farming implements, state flags.

I see this point but I also feel like a ten-year-old with colored pencils should be able to create a reasonable approximation of any state/national flag. I think that pushes flags towards being less cluttered and more pleasant to look at. Please note that I am profoundly not a graphic designer so this might be wrong from an actual taste perspective.

Especially because this is from the Washington Post, who should really know better.

YES! WTF everything? Every time we're left off a list it just makes it seem like no one cares that we lack representation in the body that directly oversees (and fucks over) our city and because we have no representation there's nothing we can do about it. Thanks, newspaper based in our city!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:15 AM on June 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


Roman Mars sets the standard for design geek flag bloviation, but it's more or less a trend now. I actually overheard an argument about it at an snotty artisinal cocktail place here in DC recently.

AND YOU DIDN'T CALL AN EMERGENCY MEETUP?

I'll stop posting now.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:16 AM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm glad the Washington Post published this because I'm imagining Jason Robards as Ben Bradlee banging on a desk and demanding another source for the Oregon Trail joke
posted by theodolite at 10:17 AM on June 24, 2015 [6 favorites]




The real story on the California flag sounds almost too good to be true. But it is.

The California flag has always bothered me because the California grizzly was hunted into extinction by the mid-1920s.

That it's based off a mistake is the kind of thing that is just. . . .well, symbolic or a metaphor or something.
posted by barchan at 10:19 AM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


AND YOU DIDN'T CALL AN EMERGENCY MEETUP?

I was half-drunk, confused, and experiencing intense "New DC"-related cognitive dissonance.

... which, in retrospect, would have been the perfect time to call an emergency meetup. Next time.
posted by ryanshepard at 10:20 AM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm a little over the Internet style of writing where people hyperbolically tear into minor subjective flaws at length (especially when that means you get lazy, half-hearted snark at things that are actually pretty good, like New Mexico's flag, because I guess praising one of the flags would break tone or something), but a lot of state flags are seriously terrible. Most of the seal flags are almost completely indistinguishable and thus fail at the most basic criterion of being a flag. Lots of the ones that are distinguishable do so by having a bunch of text in weird shapes and configurations, and I kind of feel like text on a flag is a sign that someone threw their hands up in the air and said, "Fuck it, I'll just put the goddamn motto in there." We could do better, and this is a state of affairs where better includes the likes of Maryland and Ohio.

I would also say that of the various options presented for the Flag of Oregon Trail, Kansas is the best. Is there a more fitting summary of the game than "Through difficulties to the stars!"?
posted by Copronymus at 10:22 AM on June 24, 2015 [13 favorites]


Nice subtle dig to call the palmetto tree on South Carolina's flag a palm tree. (Like calling the Univ. of SC's school colors maroon and black.)
posted by cyclopticgaze at 10:22 AM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


The best part of the original California flag was that the bear looks like a vole or a tapir or something.

I would like to see the error corrected someday, so we can have the flag we were always meant to have, with a majestic yellow-green pear in a statant guardant attitude.
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:23 AM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]




The North Carolina dates are in 1775* and 1776, so they're not exactly inscrutable if you know American history. The date of the Halifax Resolves also marks North Carolina as the first state to permit its delegates to the Continental Congress to vote for independence, which is a fact that got a lot of emphasis in North Carolina history class when I was growing up.

*Although this date may refer to a document that was forged.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:26 AM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


If this article contained nothing more than the phrase "Confederate Yugoslavia", it would be worth it.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:27 AM on June 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm in Nebraska, which has the second-worst state flag, according to a survey of the North American Vexillological Association. Wikipedia tells me there was another design in 1921, but I went and looked it up:

The new symbols include a shield supported on either side by antelope. Above the shield are three books and above the books are a buffalo head ...

One the shield are scales of justice and the present state motto ... Above the shield is a piece of armor signifying strength.

It would still have the stupid blacksmith, train, wheat, steamboat, and pioneer cabin, and would still be on a background of blue.

In other words, the horrible flag we currently have, but even busier and borrowing weirdly from European heraldry in parts.

But, you know, forget the flag. It's a much bigger issue that our state motto is "Equality before the law" and we don't yet have gay marriage.
posted by maxsparber at 10:27 AM on June 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


This article was written by Alexandra Petri, who does a 'blog' for the Washington Post called "ComPost", which is more of an example of Bad Branding than most of the flags she criticizes. (And her twitter ID is @petridishes) Go home, WaPo, you're drunk.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:29 AM on June 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


Is there a more fitting summary of the game than "Through difficulties to the stars!"?

Per fluxus ad terra multorum barba.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:29 AM on June 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


That (extinct) California bear looks embarrassed, like he pooped on the next flag over and has been caught, in a www.bearshaming.com sort of way.

And BTW, Rhode Island's flag isn't square dspite the weirdly-cropped picure on the WaPo site.
posted by wenestvedt at 10:30 AM on June 24, 2015


Tennessee's looks like a 4th of July advertisement for a bowling alley.
posted by terrapin at 10:32 AM on June 24, 2015


This is pretty try-hard. I mean, Arizona and New Mexico have pretty sweet flags, and I reject any criticism of them as obtuseness.

The Virginia flag, though... I never understood. When a presidential assassin adopts your flag's motto only a few years after instating it, wouldn't it be prudent to change it? Is there some connection, like the latent racism in the confederate-related flags?
posted by cmoj at 10:33 AM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Uh, you guys might want to read the link in the more about this article section on that Snopes article about the California flag. It's fiction created as a warning not to believe everything you read on the Internet -- even if it's on Snopes. The bear is on the flag to represent strength and ferocity.

Yeah, yeah, not all those flags are horrible. That's sort of beside the point, it's still a funny article. I particularly enjoyed the commentary on Nevada ("Nevada was not told the correct size for the file it was supposed to upload. When asked if it wanted to change what it had sent, Nevada said, “Nah.”)
posted by phoenixy at 10:39 AM on June 24, 2015 [16 favorites]


It wasn't until today that I realized Virginia's flag features a corpse.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:44 AM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


"just makes it seem like no one cares that we lack representation in the body that directly oversees (and fucks over) our city and because we have no representation there's nothing we can do about it"

It doesn't "seem" like it. That's exactly how it is.
posted by The Blue Olly at 10:44 AM on June 24, 2015


Eh, I'm no fan of Connecticut (and transplanting myself out of that soil certainly sustained my sanity), but that motto is perfectly cromulent to anyone who knows colonial US history and the context of the founding of the state of CT. Which would, hopefully, include its residents.

But we can all agree that the grapes are still ridiculously out of place, right?
posted by dances with hamsters at 10:44 AM on June 24, 2015


Nice subtle dig to call the palmetto tree on South Carolina's flag a palm tree.

The comment on the crescent moon from the piece linked by everybody had matching towels is good too:
8.Sometimes state flags experiment with Islam.
posted by TedW at 10:45 AM on June 24, 2015


The South Carolina flag is one I like, it's definitely the best thing about South Carolina.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:52 AM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


And I didn't realize that Mississippi still hasn't taken the confederate cross off it's flag; and seems unlikely to. Even my state of Georgia at least decided to be a little bit more subtle in how its flag recalls the confederacy. It just amazes me how worked up people get about these pieces of cloth; I mean, if it doesn't accuratel represent everyone in the state, why not change it. The devotion some people have to various flags borders on idolatry; I thought conservative Christians were against that sort of thing.
posted by TedW at 10:55 AM on June 24, 2015


I don't care what anyone says: the Louisiana flag is awesome.
posted by brundlefly at 10:55 AM on June 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


Did it bug anyone else that New Mexico is not "next to" Nevada? (neither alphabetically nor geographically)
posted by ropeladder at 11:03 AM on June 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


But we can all agree that the grapes are still ridiculously out of place, right?

Nope. People still grow grapes there.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:04 AM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


I HAVE A CUTLASS.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:05 AM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've always been amused by Michigan's state moto ("Si Quaeris Peninsulam Amoenam Circumspice"), and I didn't realize until today that Michigan actually has a peninsula on its flag, and a man who apparently has found what he was looking for. I like a flag that can tell a story.
posted by hydrophonic at 11:08 AM on June 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm quite fond of Tennessee's flag. The three stars in the middle represent the three regions of the state: West (unofficial capitol: Memphis), Middle (unofficial capitol: Nashville) and East (unofficial capitol: Knoxville with a throwing save from Chattanooga). The three regions are distinct from each other culturally, linguistically and economically. As far as I know, Tennessee is the only state that officially recognizes its internal diversity in this way.
posted by workerant at 11:10 AM on June 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm surprised there's no meme about how the South Carolina flag is crypto-islamofascist.
posted by aramaic at 11:13 AM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Do other nations have state (or whatever the equivalent is) flags. Because it's suddenly struck me a really weird.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:17 AM on June 24, 2015


HEY KIDS ITS FUN UNCLE WAPO HERE WAKKA WAKKA WAKKA
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:28 AM on June 24, 2015 [11 favorites]


Do other nations have state (or whatever the equivalent is) flags. Because it's suddenly struck me a really weird.

Iceland has a ridiculously disproportionate number of county and town flags, almost all of them a plain banner with the county or town's coat of arms on it. And yes, it is really weird.

Also, Maryland has the greatest state flag in the country, ergo article is bullshit.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 11:33 AM on June 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


When I grew up in Virginia, NO WAY would we have been allowed to study nude sculpture or art in primary school, but the state flags have a bare breast right there.
posted by infinitewindow at 11:34 AM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Grapes are NOT out of place in Ct...there is a vineyard making wine less than two miles from my Ct home. As for the smarty pants deriding the Ct flag, this is how it came to be

The design comes from the seal of Saybrook Colony when it was established in 1639. That seal depicted 15 grapevines and a hand in the upper left corner with a scroll reading "Sustinet qui transtulit". When Connecticut Colony bought Saybrook in 1644, the seal transferred to Connecticut Colony. On October 25, 1711, the governor and legislature changed the seal. They reduced the number of grapevines from 15 to three, in order to represent the three oldest settlements (Windsor, Wethersfield, and Hartford)[2] (or possibly the three separate settlements, Connecticut Colony, Saybrook Colony, and New Haven Colony, which had been absorbed into Connecticut by that time) and rearranged the wording and position of the motto.
posted by Postroad at 11:36 AM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Si Quaeris Peninsulam Amoenam Circumspice

I always thought that our state motto was unintentionally funny. "If you seek a pleasant peninsula" -- why, yes, this of course describes my desires to a T -- "look around" -- DUDE, THIS IS A PLEASANT PENINSULA!
posted by axiom at 11:36 AM on June 24, 2015 [8 favorites]


Do other nations have state (or whatever the equivalent is) flags. Because it's suddenly struck me a really weird.

Sure!

Here's Australia, where the states get the regular flag with one piece of flair, and the Territories can do whatever the hell they want. The NT one is pretty great.

Canada's provinces, slightly less worse than the US states. Some of the municipal ones are actually pretty good, although Laval appears to labor under the delusion that it's a mid-80s software company.

Mexico is a bit of a cop out- white flag, state arms. Jalisco and Tlaxcala get points for trying.
posted by zamboni at 11:39 AM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


I imagine most countries have flags for their state equivalents. Here's the ones for the Canadian provinces and territories - see if you can tell the level of British influence in the province or territory based solely on the flag (not really a difficult job).
posted by GhostintheMachine at 11:39 AM on June 24, 2015


Canada's provinces, slightly less worse than the US states

I like Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador (the standalone Labrador flag is also nice), and Nunavut. Quebec is also simple, but very nice looking. British Columbia on the other hand...
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:46 AM on June 24, 2015


I don't care what anyone says: the Louisiana flag is awesome.


I love the Louisiana flag. Hardcore nerds might be reminded of the following lines in Hamlet:

"To his good friends thus wide I'll ope my arms. / And, like the kind life-rendering pelican / Repast them with my blood."

It was believed that pelicans fed their young with their own blood, thus making the pelican a Christian symbol. Apparently the image of a pelican stabbing herself like on the flag is called "A Pelican In Her Piety"and is found on a number of flags and seals.
posted by phoenixy at 11:51 AM on June 24, 2015 [7 favorites]


the central design on the Virginia state flag is also the front of the state seal, which was created in 1776. Back then, the phrase "sic semper tyrannis" was thought to have been said by Brutus after he totally stabbed Caesar, so when the original seal design was created, it was more a WOOOOOO FUCK YOU ENGLAND gesture.

And then the phrase was co-opted by John Wilkes Booth because racism. But the motto predates the seal by centuries, and the seal predates Lincoln's assassination by a good 80 years.

All of this was nowhere near as important as the presence of boobs on the flag when we were studying it in fourth grade.
posted by floweringjudas at 12:09 PM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Japanese prefectural flags are pretty great
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:09 PM on June 24, 2015 [7 favorites]


Re-draw the Michigan flag if you must, but any replacement must feature the word "circumspice" or there's gonna be trouble.

I'm willing to give up a motto or two, though; three seems like overkill.
posted by Nerd of the North at 12:09 PM on June 24, 2015


"Do other nations have state (or whatever the equivalent is) flags. Because it's suddenly struck me a really weird."

I'm from the state of Baden-Württemberg in Germany. We don't just have a state flag. We have 3 state flags!!!

The Landesflagge (state civil flag), the Landesdienstflagge mit großem Wappen (State Flag with Greater Arms) and the Landesdienstflagg mit kleinem Wappen (State Flag with Lesser Arms).
posted by Hairy Lobster at 12:16 PM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Illinois should just give up and use the Chicago flag. Chicago has a nice flag, and the Illinois one is terrible.

I dunno, maybe change the colors a bit or something to buy off Springfield.
posted by aramaic at 12:18 PM on June 24, 2015


I almost lived in Tampa. Then I saw their flag and I am glad I never did.
posted by Badgermann at 12:25 PM on June 24, 2015


Tampa looks like it ritually dismembered several other flags and laid them out on a white sheet.
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:33 PM on June 24, 2015 [8 favorites]


New Mexico and South Carolina are the two best state flags by far, and the critique of SC that it doesn't have any words or the seal on it is one of it's main virtues. Florida's flag is considerably uglier than Alabama's on account of the seal.
posted by bracems at 12:35 PM on June 24, 2015


Did someone bring up the, uh, strikingness of Florida city flags? Boy do I have a treat for you.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 12:39 PM on June 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


I can only assume that shape on the bottom is the head, in profile, of the giant mecha that protects the city
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:41 PM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


I actually really like that one, but I have a terrible aesthetic sense.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 12:42 PM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


The consulting detective deduces that the writer must be on a diet, since clearly this was written over a lunch break. Probably should've worked on that novelette saga trilogy or maybe gone power-walking instead.

The writer was able to spot the hidden 'O' in the Ohio state flag, and note that other entities whose names start with that letter often employ a similarly rounded shape in their graphic designs; missed the far more interesting and notable fact that Ohio's is the only state flag that is not rectangular. Why? Find out for yourself.

I submit that this disproves the thesis (and titile) of the piece. Thanks for playing.
 
posted by Herodios at 12:43 PM on June 24, 2015


Interestingly, most US state flags are surprisingly late. Some Southern states adopt them when they seceded, but other than that they're mostly from the 1890s or after.

The Jacksonville one does decently on formal vexillology measures, actually; it's got four colors that contrast decently, it uses unique local symbols, there's no seal, and it's distinctive. It's got writing and a kid couldn't draw it, but other than that it's doing well. I don't love it, just 'cause it's a little busy, but I'll remember it from now on, which is one goal of a flag.

Sadly the old favorite internet terrible city flag, Provo, Utah, was recently changed from this to this.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:50 PM on June 24, 2015


Alaska, that’s not a flag. That’s a child’s crude rendition of the Big Dipper.

Are they deliberately referencing the fact that the Alaska Flag was designed by a 13-year-old Aleut kid? Because that's one of the things that makes it so awesome. Plus there is a kickass song to go with it.
posted by fermion at 1:06 PM on June 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


Results of the 2001 survey of the North American Vexillological Association concerning the flags of the US states & the Canadian provinces. Note that Georgia and Louisiana have changed their flags since then, though Louisiana's change wasn't a huge one.
posted by Johnny Assay at 1:17 PM on June 24, 2015


It just occured to me that based on the flag mottos, maybe Connecticut is The Reach.
posted by maryr at 1:29 PM on June 24, 2015


Wow, those NAVA guys really, really don't like blue flags with seals in the middle of them.
posted by box at 1:36 PM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, the only thing funnier than the somehow desolate HOPE on Rhode Island's flag is the even more desolate question WHAT CHEER on Providence's seal.

Oddly Cranston, Pawtucket, and Woonsocket have perfectly lovely city seals. Only Providence gets existential.
posted by maryr at 1:43 PM on June 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


I always thought the Louisiana seal/flag was the Pelikan pen company logo, from the front.
posted by MrGuilt at 1:54 PM on June 24, 2015


Are they deliberately referencing the fact that the Alaska Flag was designed by a 13-year-old Aleut kid? Because that's one of the things that makes it so awesome.

Yeah, I was thinking when I got to that point that anyone who reads Benny Benson's story and mocks it is pretty much a total asshole. (Also, it's a good design, I think, though yes I know the trendy listicle writer's job is to mock mock mock.)

Also, is WashPo trying to be more like Cracked, only a Slate-like headline? Weird.
posted by aught at 1:56 PM on June 24, 2015


I was kind of squinting at the invented term "vexillology" for "the study of flags" until I did a little dictionary-digging -- velum was Latin for "sail," and vexillum is literally "little sail," and the Roman term for army pennants. So, vexillology really is a pretty good term, though I was dubious before I looked it up.
posted by aught at 2:04 PM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Uh, you guys might want to read the link in the more about this article section on that Snopes article about the California flag. It's fiction created as a warning not to believe everything you read on the Internet -- even if it's on Snopes. The bear is on the flag to represent strength and ferocity.

Exit, pursued by a pear.
posted by lagomorphius at 2:05 PM on June 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


“You mean this isn’t taken yet?” Texas asked. “How is this not taken? This was literally the first thing I thought of.”

Bah ha ha ha ha!!!!
posted by WalkerWestridge at 2:13 PM on June 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


Whatever, the Colorado flag is awesome.

People here seem to think so, at least.
posted by ThatSomething at 2:18 PM on June 24, 2015


Do other nations have state (or whatever the equivalent is) flags. Because it's suddenly struck me a really weird.

The Flags of Russia (and sometimes other nations/regions) are just as fascinating as you might expect.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:20 PM on June 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


Until today, I didn’t know that my town, Kalamazoo, has its own flag. It’s so bad, I still don't believe it.
posted by willF at 2:24 PM on June 24, 2015


Image Hosted By Tripod?

That is indeed an awful flag!
posted by jammer at 2:28 PM on June 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


eh, it still beats Mississippi's
posted by NoraReed at 2:31 PM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


> Ugh, I know it says "states" and all and DC really isn't a state (something I have been paid to teach children!) but it really bothers me how we are so often left off of stuff like this.

Well, it says "Every state flag is wrong. If you don’t believe me, look at them. Here are the 50 worst." So the way I see it, DC was left out for exactly the right reason.
posted by Westringia F. at 2:47 PM on June 24, 2015


I would also say that of the various options presented for the Flag of Oregon Trail, Kansas is the best. Is there a more fitting summary of the game than "Through difficulties to the stars!"?

As an Oregonian I second this, though our flag is objectively the best state flag (well, except maybe Virginia), and the author was unable to appreciate our majestic beaver.

I would argue we'd do better to replace the current front with the territorial or provincial seals,
however.

ALIS VOLAT PRORIIS
posted by The Legit Republic of Blanketsburg at 2:52 PM on June 24, 2015


I would argue we'd do better to replace the current front with the territorial or provincial seals, however.

You know if they change it now, we're getting a Nike swoosh...

(Black, with a silver swoosh)
posted by madajb at 3:25 PM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Say what you will about Alabama's boring red saltire on a field of white, but it's a vast improvement over the original, itself an illustrated crash course in the terrible DON'Ts of flaggery, containing:
- a motto
-- in English
--- which is blatantly untrue;
- an allegorical image
-- with the same gist as the motto
--- of a human figure
---- requiring no less than seven colours
-----carrying a sword
------ and a flag
------- which is significantly better than the flag on which it's depicted
-------- but contains the state's name;
- a totally different flag on the reverse
-- with a different motto
--- with the same gist
---- in Latin;
-- with a different allegorical image
--- with the same gist
---- of a snake
----- in a cotton plant
------ with flowers
------- requiring five colours
-------- one of which is different from the seven on the other side
posted by Sys Rq at 3:34 PM on June 24, 2015 [7 favorites]


No, no, no, you silly peoples, Arizona's is the only decent flag of the bunch. But I can't wait to see the Baja Arizona flag, when the southern half of the state secedes.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 3:49 PM on June 24, 2015


Say what you will about Alabama's boring red saltire on a field of white, but it's a vast improvement over the original

are you for real right now that flag is awesome
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:14 PM on June 24, 2015


I would argue we'd do better to replace the current front with the territorial or provincial seals,
however.


That's provisional, not provincial.

...yet

#4200orfight
posted by Sys Rq at 4:35 PM on June 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


The South Carolina flag is one I like, it's definitely the best thing about South Carolina.

Don't forget our amazing motto (well, one of our two amazing mottoes): Dum spiro spero. Translation: While I breathe, I hope. It's a paraphrase from Cicero and is the best thing about my former home state. If I had followed through with my threat to make shrimp and grits the Official State Meal, it'd be a three way tie between the flag, the motto and the state food for best ever official state thing.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 4:37 PM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


That's a pretty good motto, but as someone born and raised in North Carolina I'm honor bound to refuse to acknowledge this,
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 4:44 PM on June 24, 2015


I consider Chicago to be my state and its flag is awesome.
posted by srboisvert at 4:52 PM on June 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


>Ive always been amused by Michigan's state moto ("Si Quaeris Peninsulam Amoenam >Circumspice")

If you were a Michigan child, there was no worse torture than the Michigan flag. I felt obscurely guilty that I was not seeking a pleasant peninsula and I could not imagine in any way why anyone would be seeking one*. And how stupid would you have to be to have to be told to "look about you"? Also, any child knows that deer and moose are different sizes.

Now I live in Maryland, which has the best flag. COME ON.

*As an adult I now know that the temperature buffering effects of the Great Lakes create favorable conditions for wine production.
posted by acrasis at 4:58 PM on June 24, 2015


Alabama is one of those states whose flag would magically become better if the Confederate flag had never existed.
posted by box at 5:32 PM on June 24, 2015


Alabama is one of those states whose flag would magically become better if the Confederate flag had never existed.


Or if St. Patrick's had.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:45 PM on June 24, 2015


A disappointingly cheap-shot article for the Post, particularly given that writing a better article wouldn't have even been that hard. I mean, I know not every article needs to be Woodward and Bernstein, but that was really low grade.

I'm fairly certain that someone from the North American Vexilloligical Association ("Focused on Flags - The Shorthand of History") would probably have answered the phone if the Washington Post had called, and been happy to give a list of the state flags which are terrible just as flags.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:19 PM on June 24, 2015


TIL that making fun of state flags is picking some awfully low-hanging fruit. Almost all of those need to be trashed and redone from the ground up.

I also learned (was reminded?) that my state's flag has a sunflower on it. I remembered the state seal and the name KANSAS on the required field of blue, but I hadn't remembered the sunflower. That's a good way to lose a bar bet.
posted by bryon at 11:51 PM on June 24, 2015


I never realised that US states had flags. I could have guessed (I just never gave it any thought). After all, our provinces have flags too. Not that most of us know them...
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:20 AM on June 25, 2015


Came here for Confederate Yugoslavia, and to say, Washington Post?
posted by stargell at 4:15 AM on June 25, 2015


I'm going to be the one to say it: Texas has the best flag. It may not have as much clever symbolism as some of the other ones, but it is simple and attractive.
posted by Night_owl at 6:26 AM on June 25, 2015


Si Quaeris Peninsulam Amoenam Circumspice

Plus quam unum peninsula.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:44 AM on June 25, 2015


Michigan est multae peninsulae. Sunt peninsulae peninsulae on.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 6:59 AM on June 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Did anyone else just open the metafilter post and ctrl-f their state, ready to fight?
posted by DynamiteToast at 8:09 AM on June 25, 2015


I'm fairly certain that someone from the North American Vexilloligical Association ("Focused on Flags - The Shorthand of History") would probably have answered the phone if the Washington Post had called

I doubt the good folks at NAVA would have been able to bring on the requisite amount of snark and clicky-baiting the online editor was hankering for.

Did anyone else just open the metafilter post and ctrl-f their state, ready to fight?

Nah, already knew New York is busy and boring (one of them low-rated "seal" flags, yechhh!).
posted by aught at 9:29 AM on June 25, 2015


It seems to me if you have to write your name on your flag, you've already lost the purpose of a flag.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 10:31 AM on June 25, 2015 [3 favorites]


After all, our provinces have flags too. Not that most of us know them...

The Frisian flag is pretty great.
posted by zamboni at 12:52 PM on June 25, 2015


Michigan est multae peninsulae. Sunt peninsulae peninsulae on.

Michigan est omnis divisa in partes duas, quarum unam incolunt
Yoopers, aliam qui ipsorum lingua Michigania, nostra Trollae
appellantur. Hi omnes lingua, institutis, similesve inter se differunt.
Yoopers ab Wisonsinis flumen Brule, a Michiganers pontem
Mackinac dividit. Horum omnium híemis sunt Yoopers, propterea
quod a cultu atque humanitate urbis longissime absunt, minimeque
ad eos mercatores saepe commeant atque ea quae ad calefaceros
animos pertinent important, proximique sunt Canadians, qui trans
stagnum Superior incolunt, quibuscum continenter glaciem bellum
gerunt.
posted by maryr at 1:59 PM on June 25, 2015 [4 favorites]


The Latin on the flag of the Commonwealth of Virginia translates to "get off my neck"
posted by humanfont at 5:05 PM on June 25, 2015


I don't understand all of the shots at the Hilary logo. I really like the Hilary logo!
posted by Chrysostom at 1:34 PM on July 1, 2015


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