Bullitt County, Kentucky

Bullit Co. Kentucky

Let’s just say it: the crossed muskets front and center really make me think the name of this county is Bullet, but the flag designer misspelled it because he or she is from Kentucky.  It’s not very nice of me to revert to a yokel stereotype, but I’m sure 90% of readers would agree. First impressions are a bitch.

Once we get past that, the symbolism is kinda janky. The white background represents salt, which was an important natural resource in Bullitt County 200 years ago. The green in the text represents the fertile land and prolific game from 200 years ago. The muskets represent the fact that 200 years ago, people shot other people a bunch to get their land. The 20 stars refer to Bullitt being the 20th county in Kentucky (in 1796, naturally.)


Alo Island, Wallis and Futuna

Alo Island, Wallis and Fortuna

What’s the first that comes to mind when you think of idyllic islands in the South Pacific? Axes and clubs, right? Me too. And so do the Alo Islanders. This is the only flag I have seen that commemorates a murder – that of Father Chanel, who came in 1837 as a Catholic missionary, only to be savagely clubbed and axed to death in 1841. Probably somewhere near a large palm frond. This flag is a reminder to stay the hell away from Alo, especially if you’re a priest. (*Closed captioning brought to you by France.)

Bani Suwayf, Egypt


The only symbols I can verifiably identify here are the zigzaggy river and the arched bridge. After that, it gets pretty fuzzy.

I think the orange and yellow blob is the Bent Pyramid of Sneferu. Which was a total let down, by the way – the slaves got half way up, had to change course a little, and then had to start over from scratch. (Twice actaully, as Sneferu’s Red Pyramid was also a bust.) It’s a good thing he ruled for 29 years, or his mummy might have been stowed away in this subpar architectural blunder. But Egyptian engineering really picked up steam quickly, due to Sneferu’s building spree. His son Khufu commissioned the Great Pyramid of Giza, which makes Sneferu’s Bent Pyramid look super lame in comparison.

After that, it gets really tricky. There are three tower-like objects. Two are ethereal, not anchored to the ground, and are spewing some sort of pollution. Maybe one of these is the Olympic torch?  The other, I think is the world’s largest croquembouche, with a pink entrance, that you can climb up into to view the Bent Pyramid. I can’t triangulate my sources on this one, though.

Chernigiv, Ukraine

Chernigiv, Ukraine

Chernigiv, Ukraine is just across a county border from the epicenter of one of the most horrific anthropogenic environmental disasters in history. This flag (obviously created after the nuclear fallout blanketed the Ukraine) incorporates one of the most beautiful new species to inhabit the area – the two headed eagle, burnt black, with an X-ray vision view inside  its regal, golden-boned thorax. The fluorescent green fields represent the fluorescent green fields of Chernigiv. This one was too easy.

Benin Empire (Historical)


The Benin Empire was a powerful, though small, swath of what is now southern Nigeria, know best in modern times for its expressive ceremonial masks.

Benin Mask

Benin Mask

Assumed to be made of ivory, there is a dark secret behind these eerie masks. And the key to that dark secret can be found on its flag (naturally.) Only a dedicated Harvard symbologist like yours truly could discern this hidden mystery from the depths of time. If you know anything of the fauna of the Niger Delta, you’ll know that the elephants that lived there in the 16th century (now extirpated) did not bear large tusks. They were said to have been elephants of the Gods, with their small tusks, no larger than the average okapi molar (which is preternaturally small, really.) This is important.

Upon investigating the flag, you’ll notice that the background color is red. This is the color of Benin goddess Baesh. Baesh is an anagram of the Biblical Queen of Sheba, who sent the ships of Tarshish asail in search of terebinth and myrrh. In the Niger Basin, myrrh was the incense associated with the color red. So there’s that. Mystical, right?

Now, when we investigate the symbols on this flag, the human figure on the right thrusting the sword is obvioulsy a symbol of the divine feminine. Obviously. The figure on the left with its lifting hairpiece is a symbol of the ravages of time. So the divine feminine is defeating the act of aging. The eternal goddess Baesh slaying time itself.

Which leads me to my paradign-shifting conclusion that some people would send an albino Beninese holy man to kill me over: 



*Thanks to alexandre van de sande for the flag suggestion.


Flag of Hezbollah

Flag of Hezbollah

Hezbollah, I’m kinda disappointed. Come on, you’re a Syrian and Iranian funded Shiite paramilitary organization in Lebanon. I know you’re pretty well ingrained into the Lebanese political system by now, especially after that nasty war with Israel a few years back. It’s time to give up the shitty circa-1967 imagery on your flag. Seriously. The iconography is lifted from so many Baby Boomer memories that it’s hard to take seriously these days.

When the moon is in the seventh house, and Jupiter aligns with Mars, then peace will guide the planets and love will steer the stars. Oh. Sorry. Slipped into Hair there.

I mean, really – an AK-47 raised high in a clinched fist? They should really think about updating that flag. But Hezbollah, resist the urge to use Comic Sans ironically. I know you seem to go for period fonts. Just because flanel is back in doesn’t make that OK.

Shafir, Israel

Shafir, Israel

Shafir, Israel

You know you’re allowed to use more than one color on your flag, right, Shafir? I mean, I understand that you’re a very conservative place, full of those guys with long, curly sideburns and old-timey hats, who like to settle in the desert and kick out the Arabs, but maybe some shading could help?

I’m guessing those tablet-looking things are the 10 Commandments. That font they used at the bottom, though, is kinda weird. What does upsidedown L – apostrophe – D – W spell? I bet it’s some DaVinci Code kind of message. Like maybe the gold is buried beneath the 10 Commandments tablets.