Tag Archives: North America

Columbus, Ohio

So I’ve been ignoring badflags for a long time,  and a bunch of people have been telling me how lame that is, so after another hiatus, I’m back with something special. I live in Columbus, Ohio, and I really love this city. I love it so much that it’s a little hard to tell Columbus that its flag is terrible. But it really is. Not the worst I’ve seen, and not even in the bottom quintile of flags, but it’s just plain ugly. So with the inevitable takedown, I’ve offered a suggestion for a new, much better flag.

The current flag of Columbus is not quite a travesty, but it’s pretty bad. It’s a fairly boring tricolor with a ton of crap in the middle. The Santa Maria in in there, inside an American shield, a semi circle of some plants and a semi circle of stars surround an eagle holding the American flag on supporting what looks like the rotunda of the Statehouse. That’s a lot of stuff that doesn’t really mean anything!

This actually brings up an interesting point: The American flag is idenitfible within the Columbus flag. There’s no way the Columbus flag would be identifiable within some other flag. (Perhaps Beechwold has its own flag and includes the Columbus flag inside of it, with the American flag inside the Columbus flag.) That’s not good.

“Columbus, Ohio,” is spelled out in a gothic font, no doubt a nod to the German heritage of some Columbusites. I always think writing on flags is a bad idea. Flags should be understood through symbols, they shouldn’t need explanation. But if a flag has to have writing, I think a sans serif font is best of legibility from a distance.

Here’s my design for a new Columbus flag.
Columbus

A tricolor is a very traditional basis for a flag. Using non-primary colors pulls this design out of the 18th century and into the modern era while still retaining a classic background, just in the way that Columbus is modern city built on the traditions of the past.

The grey field represents techonology. The blue field represents our bountiful water resources. The green field represents the verdant patches of our city, our agricultural heritage and our commitment to the green movement.

I struggled for a while about what to put at the center of the flag – Columbus doesn’t have a single defining icon. To me, Columbus is a city in which the good life is accesible to a lot of people. Our cost of living is low. Our quality of life is high. There are still opportunties for people who work hard, and people can create their own opportunities as well. Nothing speaks to the idea of a sweet life and affordable luxuries better than ice cream. And we happen to be a mecca of great ice cream, to boot. And ice cream is never going out of style. Ever. This flag is unique and identifiable.  And also, the triangle is the strongest shape. So there you go.

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Abaco Independence Movement (Bahamas)

Abaco Island Independence Movement

Abaco Island Independence Movement

 At first, I thought this was the flag of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, if the Tower were inhabited by a cult of barbers, and moved to bizarro Macedonia. Then I thought it was a panel from a very boring architecture-focused comic. But then I realized that it’s the flag of a separatist movement that sought to split from the Bahamas in the 1970s. Naturally.

The members of the Abaco Independence Movement were concerned that the newly independent Bahamas would become another Caribbean socialist paradise that would frown on the largely American expatriate Abaco islanders’ penchant for arms smuggling. In a bout of characteristic stiff upperlippedness, the British refused the Abacoan request for partition, and the movement largely faded away into obscurity. Until their flag was revealed to be a terror worse than any shipping container of AK47s that may or may not have been delivered to El Salvador in 1975.

Martha Stewart enojys the waters of Abaco.

Martha Stewart enojys the waters of Abaco.

Greenburgh, New York

Greenburgh, New York

Greenburgh, New York

I think the town motto is either, “Who wants chili?” or “Eye of Newt and Tongue of Shrew, Make a Vile Witches’ Brew.”

Lincoln County, Maine

Lincoln County, Maine

Lincoln County, Maine

The land of Lego pine trees or a population pyramid age distribution graph from right after the Influenza Epidemic of 1918?

Orange County, California

Orange County, California

Orange County, California

I don’t get what their going for here.

Chiapas, Mexico

Chiapas, Mexico

Chiapas, Mexico

Chiapas is located in southern Mexico, wedged between Guatemala and the Pacific Ocean, and is home to the Maya ruins of Palenque. It’s one of the poorer states in Mexico and is much troubled by Zapatista militias and is a major point of entry for undocumented immigrants from Central America into Mexico.

It is possible that Chiapas is being held back by its flag. There’s not much to love here. I’m going to disregard the crown. Well, other than to say it’s a little gaudy. The center seal tells the story of two lion lovers. The first lion, Eduardo, lives in the palace. The other lion, Timoteo, is stuck on the other side of a rushing river from his love. A deep chasm keeps apart their love. One day, as Eduardo uses his castle as a scratching post, Timoteo gets an idea. If he scratched that palm tree enough, he may be able to break it down and bridge the gap and run to his lover’s open paws. Unfortunately, the tree is just a little short, and Timoteo plunges to his untimely death. The early 1980s Atari game Pitfall is actaully based on this traditional Chiapan tale.

Confederate States of America (vernacular) – Historic


This ranks as one of the worst bad flags in existence. The nation it represented thankfully subsided into the sands of time more than 140 years ago.  And yet is seen all over the United States. The design of the flag is not particular offensive, though it is quite derivative. The true badness of this flag comes in its symbolism.

The Confederate States of America (CSA) broke away from the United States in 1861 to preserve the practice of slavery, among other things. Though the CSA had several official flags in its short and wretched existence, the “stars and bars” was never one of them. It was derived in the 20th century from the Confederate Naval Ensign. Still, this flag represents the oppression of slavery nonetheless. Those who fly it are espousing the Confederate values of racial hatred. 

Furthermore, the South lost the Civil War and had to give up the abhorent institution of slavery, though some still tried to prevent African Americans from voting and being a part of political society until 100 years later. It baffles me that people choose to fly it as a symbol of pride. It is a symbol of shame.  

Flag of Mississippi
Flag of Mississippi

This insidious symbol has found its way into many modern flags, including the state flag of Mississippi. It was only removed from the flag of Georgia in 2003. It is flown at the South Carolina state capitol as a symbol of Southern “heritage.” Racism and intimidation is more like it.

This flag should be offensive to every person who values freedom.