Sunday, February 6, 2022

A kink in the flag


     Odd things happen. It's a shame that most people are so quick to lay them at the feet of ghosts, or aliens, or telekinesis, or whatever mass delusion or carny trick tickles our fancy, and so miss the genuine wonder of something unusual happening for ordinary though unexplained reasons.
     Look at our American flag as I saw it out our bay window last Tuesday. It somehow arrayed itself into that odd folded, kinked configuration and was just stuck there, suspended. I whipped out my phone and quickly snapped a photo, then stepped onto the porch. It was still like that. I took another another photo, and thought to shift to video. But by by then the flag had simply relaxed, drooping back into its usual draped shape. I took a third.
     What happened? I don't know. I imagine some intersection of the breeze, the dynamics of 
the fabric, the temperature. But I can't know for sure. Maybe you have theories. I suppose it could have been something supernatural—the flag itself cringing in utter patriotic revulsion away from the soil of the country it represents. I do know this: in 21 years of flying a flag off my front porch—I wrote about acquiring this particular flag from the venerable W.G.N. Flag & Banner Company at 79th and South Chicago Avenue—I've never seen anything like this, and I imagine should I live here another 21 years, I'll never see it again.


  1. Sort of like the leaf that found its way to land upright on your porch.
    Interesting that you fly Old Glory. I guess anyone can do that in Chicago.
    In Florida, if you fly the American flag it basically means you are a right wing conservative. Somehow, in this state the right wingers have coopted the flag. I’d fly mine but I don’t want to give people the wrong impression.

    1. My attitude is: I'll be damned if I'm going to surrender patriotism to the people who oppose everything that makes our country beautiful. I also put my hand over my heart and say the Pledge of Allegiance when I put the flag out.

    2. NS, to my way of thinking, has the correct attitude. I've always liked the flag, too, and have been disheartened to see its use by some perverted into being a kind of bludgeon against folks who maintain the very values it stands for.

      There's an interesting correlation between those who coopt the flag and those who co-opt "Christianity," warping it into whatever small-minded, anti-other, money-grubbing manifestation that suits their fancy.

      In my estimation, those true patriots and true Christians who cede the utilization of important small "d" democratic symbols and religious rhetoric to anti-immigrant and pro-fascist provocateurs are mistaken in essentially unilaterally disarming.

      "The wrong impression" is that *only* obnoxious Republicans care about the flag. The more often people like Neil express themselves, the less likely it is that that impression will continue to predominate.

    3. Although I would like to exercise the same approach as Neil it has become a peaceful coexistence thing amongst our neighbors.
      Long a go we gave up talking politics because we didn’t want to ruin the comfort we shared as neighbors. Some are pretty hard right. They know my leanings but we value the relationships we’ve established and don’t want to ruin a good thing.
      None of us fly the flag.
      Sad state of affairs.

    4. My neighbor across the street has flown the Blue Lives Matter flag for years now. He leaves them up, no matter the weather, 24/7...until they are shredded. He's replaced them at least four or five times. Last month, during a MAJOR snowstorm, he put up the newest one. ON MLK DAY! It's AT LEAST four times the size of a standard flag...maybe more. Six feet by ten feet. Or LARGER. It's YUUUUUUGE! Way too big for the standard flagpole in his front yard. And now his front porch is bathed nightly by blue floodlights.

      I don't hate all cops. But I do hate that Thin Blue Line banner, which has been co-opted by extremists, racists, and haters of all stripes (sorry), and which has become the anti-BLM flag. The couple who fly it are quite congenial. In fact, they're the only neighbors I have much to do with. Go figure. Even die-hard Nazis in Germany were probably amiable, and sociable, and got along with the residents next door or across the street.

      The guy told me his girlfriend's brother is a police officer. Okay, dude...whatever...I'll buy it. It's just easier. And now I don't need a weatherman to know the way the wind blows. But I still hate looking out my front window.

    5. Whether one is doing it to honor their favorite president, St. Ronald Reagan, or as a tribute to the freedom which allows Bernie Sanders to spread his socialist philosophy, or from whatever political position one occupies in-between them, the idea that flying a plain American flag is so provocative that it must be completely avoided seems like a very sad state of affairs, indeed, Les.

  2. I’d like to think of the flag as alive and cringing. I’m not sure what I’d do without personification and other games of imagination these days.

    You got the flag down the street from my Grandma Marie’s house. Very cool.

  3. I will cheerfully state that I think our own house looks terrific with the flag flying out front, but at the same time, flying it every day would, I think, reduce its signficance by making it just another everyday object in the neighborhood, much like the flag displayed on the end of the outdoor canopy at our local Ace Hardware which spends most of its time wrapped up around the pole like a dishrag. Flying ours on a special occasion makes the occasion special.

    We have several neighbors who fly their flags daily, though I don't know if they're all co-opted right wingers as Les described. Some indeed are, because they're also flying a secondary flag sold to them by He Who Shall Not Be Named with his name on it, including references to either the 2020 or 2024 elections.

    On a more practical matter, we also have problems similar to what Neil saw and Ace is experiencing, which is that a light breeze (on a 45° flagpole) lets the flag billow outward and then fall back on itself, more often than not landing it on top of the flagpole, after which it falls down the opposite side, making the first of what can be several wraps around the staff that I have to go out and unwrap again. I've tried various methods for stopping it, such as Bulldog clips discreetly attached to the outer bottom corner, without much success. I may have to resort to one of those ugly arm braces you see on big building flags downtown. Whatever works, I suppose. Maybe our flag is too big for the pole. I would hate for that to be the problem.


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