The Ultimate Juxtaposition

Yeah, these are two things I didn’t really expect to see together. And yes, it’s an actual flag for sale. I’m not precisely sure who the audience is for the flag, but I expect it’s small.

62 thoughts on “The Ultimate Juxtaposition

  1. I can’t even tell if this flag is supposed to be in confused support of Obama or in confused opposition to Obama

  2. I suspect that there may be a small number of confused individuals out there who are both Obama supporters and who also see the stars-and-bars as being an expression of southern pride and nothing else.

    A vanishingly small number.

  3. You know, it’s weird, but this Liberal Progressive (capital letters) actually is considering making the purchase.

    1) For its Ironic aspects.
    2) It does have some meaning for me, as I am obsessed with genealogy, and I do have some Confederate ancestors. I’m not ashamed of them, as they fought for what they believed at the time. (One of them married a Native American, too, for whatever that was worth.) But one of the things that the Obama Presidency means for me is how our ancestry is playing *less* of a role in defining how we are looked upon by society.

    I don’t think I could bring myself to fly the flag, though. I could hang it on a wall, maybe, as a conversation piece.

    And, yeah, the circumstances that lead to my interest defines a pretty small market.

  4. Well, one obvious reason for buying and flying this flag can be seen right here in this thread: if your goal is to get a chorus of “What the hell?!”s out of passers-by, this will do it.

  5. One must wonder whether the designer has any clue as to what either of the two elements means.

    - Hap Aziz

  6. @ #9 – if your Confederate ancestors were not plantation owners then it’s likely that they weren’t on the South’s side in order to support slavery. It’s more likely that they were fighting for their homes against what they perceived as a federal government overstepping it’s constitutional powers. Or simply just because they saw their property and families threatened.

  7. What next? Is the “Livestrong” Lance Armstrong foundation going to come out with its own brand of cigarettes?

  8. Well, they both represent beleaguered minority groups that once had numerous sympathizers on the opposing side but found out their causes were not as popular as they thought…

  9. I have a young friend who had the CSA battle flag on his dorm-room wall until I yelled at him. To him (a Texan) it just meant Southern Pride, but I pointed out to him that NOW it’s a racist symbol, whatever it meant back when, and whatever it meant to him.

    Symbols don’t mean what you mean by them. Their meaning is the reaction when people see them.

    My friend, prior to my lecture, might have bought this. He was a proud Obama supporter and drove a truck with a bumper sticker to that effect DEEP into McCain territory…in fact someone there started yelling about how it was McCain cuntrah and how DARE someone have an Obama sticker there!

    As for what the people who made this thing think it means…maybe they mean to call Obama a racist? That’s a meme among the boneheaded Rush-and-Glenn fans out there.

  10. Maybe they have a computer that randomly generates new flags based on combinations of current top sellers?

    I find that somehow easier to believe than the idea that somebody, somewhere, thought that that was a good idea.

  11. I know Greg and I got into this on the heckling the president thread, but I have to say this doesn’t even make sense to me.

    If it’s meant as a negative, what’s the message? And if it’s meant as a positive, how many people could possibly put those two together positively?

    This just makes no sense. Maybe that’s the point. This and other nonsensically juxtaposed Menes for sale.

    Examples of other equally ridiculous mashups? Paris hiltons number one book on celibacy was a good start.

  12. There must be some people who like both the Dukes of Hazzard and Obama…

    Also @18, a Texan who didn’t fly the Lone Star? Was the college in Texas? Who needs Southern pride when you’ve a successful revolution to be proud of?

  13. Ladies and Gentlemen – I think we’ve just found the definative example of “Non-sequitur” in the ‘flag, poster, or banner’ catagory. Hooray!

  14. Actually, in all seriousness…

    My Alabama grandfather was a lifelong southern Democrat who didn’t get the memo in the 50′s and 60′s about that whole switching to Republican because of the civil rights movement thing. He remained a very faithful Democrat voter right up to his death in 2002.

    This led to the startling juxtaposition of Bill Clinton’s portrait hanging on the wall next to the certificate declaring Grandpa a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. (I have a picture of this somewhere.)

    He wouldn’t have seen a problem with this.

  15. I dunno, kinda makes sense to me. Even my hard core southern pride upbringing acknowledged that the absolute worst thing to happen to the south was Lincoln getting shot after the war. He was the only thing that could have stopped what turned into a very nasty reconstruction. If Obama is the new Lincoln then looking at him as a sign of hope for the south makes sense. And watching some of the political turmoil going on in my family, Obama’s existence is definitely doing good things* for the south.

    I suspect I’ve got relatives who’d be willing to buy the flag if they weren’t worried about fallout from the relatives who wouldn’t. But I’ve also got a relatives who sincerely want to reclaim the stars and bars as a symbol of southern pride. Could just be a fluke.

    *Nobody’s being openly supportive of *gasp* Democrats at family functions yet, but there’s definitely a safe space for being anti-Republican all of a sudden.

  16. The two finger peace sign is another example of a symbol whose meaning has changed over time. As for this combo? Huh? The Soviet propaganda iconographic Obama was kinda weird to begin with but mixing it with the CSA battle flag adds a whole new level of WTF.

  17. I live out in rural North Carolina, and recently was tail-gated by a big ol’ white sedan with a Confederate flag on the plate. I thought to myself, “Is it valid to categorically dismiss a person, or any association with them, based on that fact?” In its best light, the Confederate flag can be interpreted as a symbol of Southern pride, which I’m all about; it just happens to be a symbol a million other things like, oh, slavery-Jim-Crow-and-lynchings. Any thoughts?

  18. Yeah, my thought is that we’re not going to have a general discussion of Confederate symbolism here. They don’t go any place particularly useful.

  19. Right before the 2008 election, I was behind a truck at a fast food line here in Tennessee and was delighted at the truck’s two bumper stickers. Why yes, one was a Confederate flag sticker and the other was an Obama sticker. Obviously there’s a market for this mash-up flag.

  20. Right, so I’ve been tryin to come up with equally out there mashups. The best I’ve got would be a half gay pride flag with a half churches flag or an image of the bible.

    Or maybe a bear high fiving a land development executive. Yeah, I think I prefer this one.

  21. Other Bill, the bear and the land exec are closer. I know gay Christians and there are many gay-friendly Christian churches. But still not quite right. I think we’re talking a juxtaposition akin to Gloria Steinem next to a Promise Keepers logo.

  22. You know the proportions are about right for Georgia’s old (1956-2001) flag, if you place the Georgia state seal where Obama is. I wonder if that is whence it derives?

  23. Blue @ 43 -

    I didn’t mean any offense. There are absolutely gay friendly churches. I was looking at things that at first glance don’t really seem to go together.

    There are animal friendly land development executives too. But I really like the idea if a flag with a bear highfiving something.

  24. Yeah, you’d need something like a picture of Rush L or Pat B. on a rainbow/pink triangle flag

  25. @46 – you’re right. That’s much closer to the original. Maybe that picture of Rush from the conservative convention speech that keeps popping up on Olbermans show next to a rainbow flag.

  26. American Democrats,
    Could you please keep a closer eye on your redneck Republicans? Me thinks they’re about to pull a coup d’etat in Washington. Where’s Sneaky George when you need him?

  27. LOL, now I see he won the Nobel peace prize, which was voted on Feb 1. His accomplishment? Nothing, he gives people the feeling of hope for a better future…. Clearly a meaning award dont you think? Rather amazing that the Olympic committee sees through his personality and makes a better decision but the Nobel people cannot. Based upon the committee comment it clearly was a personality contest win and nothing of substance. Pretty much sums up a lot.

  28. Quoting Abi Sutherland at Making Light, “Nomination does not equal award. It is true that nominations closed very early in the Obama presidency. That does not mean that the award was decided then, nor on the basis of what was known at that time.
    “I strongly suspect that pointing out the date of nomination is going to be a wingnut marker. It has all the hallmarks: it’s both factually true and entirely misleading, and it is designed to reinforce existing views rather than inform.”

  29. Looks sinister to me. Obama’s “hope” becomes the hope that the confederacy will return to power and put him in his place.

    It’s the kind of flag that makes me want to *know* whether the person flying it is armed.

  30. A symbol’s meaning is defined by those who display the symbol, NOT by those who don’t.

    No other way around it. The hatred from the left against this symbol is a clear sign they don’t understand the meaning of the symbol by those who display it.

    CLEARLY the person who made this does NOT see the stars and bars as a racist symbol, therefore, it’s not intended to be, therefore, it’s not.

    I’ve lived in the South my entire life and I’ve only met a SINGLE person that is both a racist and someone who displays the Confederate flag. 100% of every one else I’ve ever known to display this flag has done so out of Southern pride, even that one racist displayed the flag out of Southern pride and racism wasn’t part of his reason he displayed the flag.

    Once more: A symbol’s meaning is defined by those who display the symbol, NOT by those who don’t. Imagine a bunch of people that don’t like Obama suddenly claimed that his “O” symbol stood for communism… Would it make it so?

  31. IQ:

    Actually, a symbol’s meaning is defined by those who make the symbol, and your apologia for a racist symbol is pretty damn silly both logically and rhetorically.

    That said, again, we’re not going to have a general discussion of Confederate symbolism here, so this is where that line of discussion ends.

  32. [deleted because I already said a particular discussion is not going to go on in this thread, and people who are able to read should be able to comprehend what that means -- JS]

  33. How about a general discussion of semiotics and how symbols change in meaning over time, John?

    No?

    Oh, all right. I did that on Boing Boing anyway.

  34. I’d buy one. Maybe once upon a time I’d have been naive enough to fly it. John- you pointed out to me that some might be offended by the Battle Flag and convinced me it was in bad taste to do so.

    This flag doesn’t confuse me like it seems to have so many of you. I believe in Southern Pride, local government, and states rights. I voted for Obama because I thought he was the best man for the job of representing the people of the country as an Executive power.

    Still not sure what all the fuss it about with combining the two in a flag. I got ones with John Wayne, Willie Nelson, and an Eagle on it too. If I find one with John Scalvi on it- I’d buy of those too.

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