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Flags stir intense emotions, but meaning depends on beholder

15 Comments

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National pride is not a virtue. There is nothing intrinsically special about the places we come from. We could have been born anywhere, and it's a mistake to become so emotionally attached to some arbitrary patch of land and the nation that currently 'claims' it.

Flags should be respected but not taken too seriously. If you're offended by the sight of your country's national flag on clothing or whatever, then that's a sign that your mind is clouded by the kind of sentimental, nationalist BS that so easily leads to war. Appreciating your heritage is ok, but it's important to keep a clear head and see the bigger picture. Collectively, it could mean the difference between a minor conflict and an all-out war.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

People love a piece of cloth? How incredibly shallow.

If you love your country then work hard for it, volunteer, vote responsibly and try to make it a better place.

Flags are just the lazy man's way of saying, "Look what a good citizen I am!!!" ... and that's where almost all of the slackers stop.

Ask 99.9% of these flag-lovers to volunteer down at a food kitchen for an evening or get off their lazy butts to go and vote and you'll get a 1001 excuses.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I regularly see flags of other countries on foot mats and hand towels. Not the most diplomatic thing. Welcome to 'unique' Japan!

@ Star Viking - good point. Whenever I go to the "Daiso" 100-yen shop, I find American, British and French flags on sale as bathmats. Always curious as to why there is no Japanese flag bathmat!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

More than just what the flags mean, I really think the public must be educated on their history before blindly accepting things. Many respect the rebel flag for what they believe are historical reasons regarding the civil war and...having been told that by whoever, never think to dig deeper into it.

As far as I can tell with what sources are available online, the flag was mostly out of sight and mind until desegregation (1940-50s) when it became a symbol for protest against blacks mixing with whites... And from THAT, it evolved into a symbol for southern pride.

There are other confederate flags which could equally be celebrated for historical reasons that have much less connection with white supremacy.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

To love flag or country devalues the concept of love for me. Neither will love you back. It's a bit like loving your imaginary friend when you were a child.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Patriotism is completely misguided and warped -- it is a form of brainwashing. Being an earthling is more than good enough.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I have two full sized Tibetian flags hanging from my house. This would have me arrested and imprisoned in China. Yes, officialdom in China doesn't like Tibetian flags. I was going to wear one concealed until the finish line in an athletic event in China several years ago but unfortunately the event was cancelled. I have worn a United Nations flag while taking a message from them from Athens to the mayor of Sparta and the Australian Aboriginal flag while competing in Australia and of course the Union Jack on my official national kit when competing officially for my country.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There is nothing intrinsically special about the places we come from.

For me, there is. I love my country.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

“We don’t have a monarch or a state religion,” said Marc Leepson, author of “Flag: An American Biography.” ‘‘In some ways, the flag is a substitute.” - article

Very good article. Isn't "nationality" already a dead issue? Note: Mr. Leepson proposes the assumed need for a state religion or monarch that makes some reach for the flag as a compensatory comfort. How Pavlovian.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Of course, in Japan, only a few flags have meaning. I regularly see flags of other countries on foot mats and hand towels. Not the most diplomatic thing. Welcome to 'unique' Japan!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Flags represent little more than a brand in Japan. Yet, we all have to be stereotypically associated with one brand or another. I find it rather annoying to have my place at a table represented by the flag of the country I happened to be born in. Even worse is to be represented by the American one.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Some flags, especially those of the United States and the United Kingdom, have wonderful colorful designs that are ideal for apparel, floor coverings, beach towels, etc. The only other thing they're good for is getting lots of people killed.

The only honest flag I've ever seen is that of the Benin Empire, which depicts one man decapitating another man on a blood-red background. And that's the real meaning of most national flags.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Present day Japan is in a bit of a bind regarding its flag. I've heard some Japanese say that not enough Japanese, especially the younger generation, have a sense of national pride, or nationalism, and, as a result, suffer from a kind of identity crisis. It's a touchy issue due to WWII memories associated with Japan's flag among Japan's Asian neighbors and within Japan itself and it's likely to continue being a touchy issue for many years to come. The argument by some goes that the Japanese flag is very, very old so it shouldn't be considered as belonging to the same category as Germany's WWII Nazi flag. However, it could also be argued that Japan's neighbors view the Japanese flag with an extreme sense of loathing just as present day Russians view the Nazi's WWII flag, and with justifiable reason. Sadly, many Japanese seem to lack an adequate understanding of Japan's WWII history to debate this issue in a proper manner. The Germans of today are fortunate in that they do have a well balanced knowledge of WWII history and a different flag, whereas, the Japanese have a less than adequate knowledge of WWII history and are still using the same flag they used during WWII. Would it be fair to say that the majority of Chinese and Koreans view the Japanese flag in the same way which black people in America view the Confederate flag?

Question: Would it have been better for Japan to have changed the design of its flag at the end of WWII?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Ask 99.9% of these flag-lovers to volunteer down at a food kitchen for an evening or get off their lazy butts to go and vote and you'll get a 1001 excuses.

I'm not so sure about that. I know enough people that would do that and I personally, worked in a lot of soup kitchens and know many people that would gladly volunteer to work with the needy. I don't think it's fair to accuse people in this case that in this case, Americans that wouldn't get up to help their fellow Americans. 20 years ago definitely, but now the millennials of today...I'm still pondering...

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

The flags of all countries must be respected, and it shows the mentality of those who disregard this consciously or unconsciously. Good numbers of the younger generation in democratic countries tend to think very lightly about the symbolism of the national flags & other National Symbols. It's is revolting to see printed shorts with the national flags being worn by some young Americans, British, Europeans & Asians. We must beware of the growing "copy cats" by some young Asians in clothing etc., that show disrespect of national pride & symbols. This degrades not only the countries concerned but also their people. NEVER BE AN APE & APE OTHERS who have no sense of national pride & loyalty.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

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