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April 27, 2004

Comments

Just when you think they can't get any dumber ...

On the one hand, yes, I agree that choosing a flag should be left to the incoming government, not a contest run by the United States.

On the other hand, I have to say that the complaint that the proposed flag looks too much like the Israeli flag is the single silliest thing I've read all day, and for comparison I've been reading the Moon Hoax stuff over at Bad Astronomy.

(That said, I do disapprove, in an aesthetic sense, of two different shades of blue being used.)

I say give 'em complete control over what the new flag ought to look like, give them several notional designs based on concepts provided by people who know the area and its history and culture, and let them argue it out. Maybe it'll keep them busy for a couple of years.

I agree the new flag doesn't look much like the flag of Israel... but given the contention that exists in the Arab world about Israel, I'd say that even a fleeting resemblence, certainly in a flag provided by the US, is bad enough.

In any case, as far as I'm concerned the point's moot: a country's flag should be determined by the people of the country, or at least a legitimate government, not by the occupying forces.

It doesn't help that it's a pretty poor excuse for a flag, too (on what planet is a blue crescent symbolic of Islam?)

That being the case, they're always free to change it after we get out. But I do think it's probably not a good idea to get all authoritarian on the subject, while possibly doing insult to some cultural sensitivity or other.

Good grief, do we actually come close to agreeing on something, Jesurgislac?

One of the complainers' points was that Arab national flags all are combinations of red, green, and black (sometimes with white as well). That happens to be correct, and in that context, the comparison to the Israeli blue really isn't as silly as it sounds if one happens to know nothing about Arab flags.

Really, a flag isn't something you can shove on folks and insist they like it. Not to mention that it's hard to think of a more idiotic issue to borrow trouble over. After all, it's not like there are serious problems in Iraq and between Iraq and America.

Let them pick whatever darn flag they like. We can suggest it not be emblazoned with "Death To The Jews," but eventually they'll get to make even that choice for themselves, unless the Israelis decide to nuke them over it.

Edward: June 30th is going to basically mean squat. It'll just be a different, hated, puppet government with no real power. At the start, anyway; how soon that changes, we'll see. But July 1st won't be different.

It's the colors, people.

The colors.

On the other hand, if you read the article you'll see that the flag was designed by an Iraqi, and approved by Iraqis. Dang. Maybe it's all a matter of taste.

Approved by which Iraqis though Slarti?

The incompetence of this appointed administration is breathtaking. Why change the flag at all? After all, the old Iraqi flag predated Saddam--though Saddam did add the words about God that appear on the old flag.

Why did the CPA have to get involved? And why does it look like a knockoff of the Israeli flag?

You can read the article as well as I, Edward. Maybe even better.

It was a rhetorical question Slarti...

but for the benefit of those who can't access the article, as you and I have done, obviously:

the new national flag, presented Monday after an artistic competition sponsored by the Iraqi Governing Council, appears to have met with widespread public disapproval here -- in part because of its design and in part because of the increasing unpopularity of the U.S.-appointed council. ....

A committee of council members felt best it represented the major values and attributes of Iraq, Kifaie said.

So the Iraqi's who sponsored and chose the design are the hand-picked council members...hardly an ideal group...and nothing at all resembling the sort of democratic process your statement infers...

if you read the article you'll see that the flag was designed by an Iraqi, and approved by Iraqis.

Hence, my rhetorical question, "which Iraqis"????

Do we have to go through the agonizing exercise of explaining why the Council cannot be realistically described simply as "Iraqis"?

and nothing at all resembling the sort of democratic process your statement infers...

I believe if you look again, you'll find no suggestion of any such thing on my part.

On the other hand, if you read the article you'll see that the flag was designed by an Iraqi, and approved by Iraqis. Dang. Maybe it's all a matter of taste.

I suppose you wouldn't mind a panel of Americans hand-picked by the French redesigning the U.S. flag, then, would you? Maybe a blue croissant on a white field...

Gromit

Also, statements don't "infer." People infer, and people imply, and people may pick up inferences that are implied, but statements can only imply.

This concludes Gary's Inner Pedant Lecture #417. Return to your businesses, citizens.

Also, statements don't "infer." People infer, and people imply, and people may pick up inferences that are implied, but statements can only imply.

...I'm sorry...I fell asleep there...have they scrapped the flag project yet?

This concludes Gary's Inner Pedant Lecture #417. Return to your businesses, citizens.

A thoroughly enjoyable lecture -- where can we access the archives for lectures 1-416?

Archives are here and on Google Groups, primarily in rec.arts.sf.*, particularly rec.arts.sf.fandom and rec.arts.sf.written.

Older archives are in various boxes scattered around the world in several hundred science fiction fanzines from the Seventies.

Before that mostly consisted of me beaning people with my rattle, and peeing in their lap, so you probably can skip that. Although I did also have some useful insights into Special Relativity.

actually, the flag was designed by the younger brother of Naseer Chaderchi, a senior IGC member, Rifat Chaderchi.

like i pointed out elsewhere, this is very remeniscent of dick cheney discovering that he was in fact the best cadidate for vice president.

Before that mostly consisted of me beaning people with my rattle, and peeing in their lap, so you probably can skip that.

That implies (note the correct usage) that you don't pee in people's laps now...

:)

Well, obviously the similarity in all the old flags has to do with the Nasser/Baathist Pan-Arabism movement of the 50-60's, and getting rid of it is a well deserved slap at Assad and Mubarek.

I think the green, red, and black have Islamic connotations.

And of course the Crescent represents the US support of a great Shiite "jihad" against Sunni followers world wide. :)

Well, it does compared with the old flag, but otherwise that critique's a bit of a stretch if you ask me.

More to the point, the Iraqi people seem to dislike it.

The Iraqi distain of the new Iraqi flag perfectly symbolizes and will parallel how distainfully the new puppet government will be received, not to mention a persistent and violent western occupying force.

Well, obviously the similarity in all the old flags has to do with the Nasser/Baathist Pan-Arabism movement of the 50-60's, and getting rid of it is a well deserved slap at Assad and Mubarek.

And an undeserved slap at the people of Iraq: it's been their flag for 41 years.

Ah, who cares about flags? There are far stupider mistakes for the US to make.

It is a stunningly stupid move, and the symbolism my dear Jesurgislac is perfectly wrong.

I may add that it appears that there was nepotism involved in the selection, see http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3663387.stm

I can only hope this was deliberate sabotage, however, for sincerity in this case only implies mind-boggling stupidity.

"Never assume bad faith when stupidity is sufficient explanation" is by no means always correct -- far from it -- but it's a useful aphorism in many situations, nonetheless.

When I told her about this one, my girlfriend gently pointed out that there are at least three distinct differences between the new Iraqi flag and the Israeli one (at least from the point of view of heraldry). That's enough to keep the two from conflicting, so I'm in full agreement with Edward's opinion about the critique itself being a stretch.

As to its impact? (Shrug) We'll see. It's already had a positive result: frankly, some (readL 'most') of the old anti-Bush rants out there were getting a tad threadbare, so it's nice to see some new material being worked up... :)

But, just in case anyone has anything they imagine to be new material in any of these areas:

1) Flight Suit!
2) AWOL!
3) Elections cheat!
4) Didn't get a majority!
5) Was appointed!
6) Lied about WMD!
7) Coke fiend!

Please feel free to vent. Because I know that Moe enjoys it when you do.

"When I told her about this one, my girlfriend gently pointed out that there are at least three distinct differences between the new Iraqi flag and the Israeli one (at least from the point of view of heraldry). That's enough to keep the two from conflicting...."

In the eyes of Iraqis? Why?

How, exactly, does one justify the lack of the use of the traditional black and green used in all Arab flags? How does one justify the lack of the use of the traditiional Islamic red?

"Hey, throw all that out, because we think this is fun, new, and will match the new drapes we're putting in!"

Dropping "God Is Great" is just whipped cream on the dish.

I blame society.

Tom Toles draws some flags.

Slart, not venting, but the truth (well, I don't know about #7) doesn't stale. By the way, you forgot #8) Lied about caring about the Plame leak. Well, and #9) etc.

When I told her about this one, my girlfriend gently pointed out that there are at least three distinct differences between the new Iraqi flag and the Israeli one (at least from the point of view of heraldry).

Moe, I've been a fan of heraldry since I was 8. (No kidding: found a book about it in the reference library when my dad took me there, and insisted I wanted to take it out. To my parents surprise, but on the whole, approval, I read it cover to cover...) I stunned a stallholder at a RenFaire recently by walking in and instantly identifying one of his banners as the Hapsburg eagle (s'easy: it's the only one with two heads) and by asking him questions about how many of his other banners were actual blazons.

Yes, I can see (and so could any fan of heraldry) that the new Iraqi flag is different from the Israeli flag, even though they both have a field of argent and the second colour in both is azure.

However, I can also see (and so, I think, could any student of heraldry or indeed anyone with eyes in their head and color vision) that there are certain striking similarities to the Israeli flag, and many striking differencies from the previous Iraqi flag.

That's enough to keep the two from conflicting, so I'm in full agreement with Edward's opinion about the critique itself being a stretch.

Do you really imagine that Iraqis inclined to dislike a flag imposed on them by a foreign government are going to look at it and go "Well, you can tell it isn't the Israeli flag, so just because it bears a passing resemblence, we have no reason to get upset?"

It's like appointing Negroponte ambassador to Iraq: if the Bush administration were even moderately competent, this would be an extraordinarily stupid mistake, removing the old flag and requiring a new one to be used. Given the scale of the Bush administration's mistakes, this is just another minor idiocy. But it does require a marked degree of incompetence for this to be a minor error on that scale.

I'm with you, Jesurgislac, on this. I generally find Moe quite on target, so I'm rather surprised in this case to find him making a point that, I'm sorry to say, seems 100% irrelevant.

No one said the two flags were identical, so pointing out that they aren't doesn't go anywhere.

Incidentally, is there a pronunciation guide to "Jesurgislac"?

The new flag has a few things going against it. First, light blue is not exactly a hyper-masculine type of color, and in a male-dominated society like the Middle East, it's insulting. Argentina can get away with it; they chose theirs through popular choice. Second, the crescent is more of a symbol of Turkey than a symbol of Islam or the Middle East. It looks like an oak leaf on the American flag. Yeah, we're similar to the Canadians, and we live right next to them, but it's still kinda stupid looking.

My opinion is that if the current flag couldn't stand, come up with a few dozen proposed flags and let the people vote. Maybe white with "God is Great" in green in the foreground, or green with some national symbol in the center. Or let lots of locals put in their proposed flags and weed out all the ones saying "Yankee go home".

"I'm with you, Jesurgislac, on this. I generally find Moe quite on target, so I'm rather surprised in this case to find him making a point that, I'm sorry to say, seems 100% irrelevant."

Gentlemen, while I fully recognize that people will often operate from positions not, shall we say, supported by logic, that doesn't mean that I have to let it pass by without comment*. I am specifically referring here to those Iraqis who objected to the flag because it allegedly looks too much like Israel's: I've reviewed both flags and judged that opinion of theirs to be nitwit. We are allowed to call opinions nitwit, even if we sometimes have to take those opinions more seriously than they deserve.

Besides, I suspect that the real issues are more likely with the current governing council than with the current flag. Hence (partially) the 'we'll see'.

Moe

*Which is the same privilege Jes implictly claims when he fills this discussion board with commentary on the alleged perfidy of Republicans in general and President Bush in particular. If he gets to speak out, I get to speak out. Neener. ;)

Drowned out among all the trivia in this discussion is the very noteworthy revelation that Moe's girlfriend is somewhat of an authority on heraldry. I mean how cool is that?

Not being an authority, but having dabbled a bit, I'll take this opportunity to note my favorite heraldic term: "bend sinister." Not only does it suggest something ominous, it's connotes a rather unusual family secret to go waving about in that it's a a supposed mark of bastardy.

Having said that, and speaking of gratuitous political slander, has anyone seen the Cheney coat of arms? (Careful...that's a trick question.)

That wasn't meant to be the whole smörgåsbord, rilkefan; just a sampler platter.

Oh, you chaps call it a perfectly decent 'bar sinister' a 'bend sinister', eh?

Hmmm ... Cheney coat of arms ... is it a gules heart on sable? Or a sable heart on gules?

Gary: Incidentally, is there a pronunciation guide to "Jesurgislac"?

Since it exists in written communication only, there is no standard pronounciation. However, I pronounce it "Je Surgis Lac", having had too much time on my hands, access to the Internet Acronym Server, and enough knowledge of French to find creating an acronym of my real name in French amusing.

Moe: I am specifically referring here to those Iraqis who objected to the flag because it allegedly looks too much like Israel's: I've reviewed both flags and judged that opinion of theirs to be nitwit.

Judgement call, Moe: you cannot argue that the flags do not resemble each other, far more than the old Iraqi flag and the new "Iraqi" flag resemble each other. How much is "too much"? That's hardly a matter for you to pronounce judgement on (or me either, or the IGC, come to that).

Edward: Not being an authority, but having dabbled a bit, I'll take this opportunity to note my favorite heraldic term: "bend sinister." Not only does it suggest something ominous, it's connotes a rather unusual family secret to go waving about in that it's a a supposed mark of bastardy.

I refuse to resist temptation!

The writer Walter Scott invented the term "bar sinister", which doesn't actually exist as a proper heraldic term, nor is it used (except in fiction or in rhetoric) to indicate illegitimacy. ("bend sinister" is a proper heraldic term, but it has no traditional association with illegitimacy).

In English heraldic law, only the head of the house granted a coat of arms has the right to bear those arms undifferenced. A daughter has a right to bear her father's coat of arms on a lozenge until she marries, and the eldest son has a right to the coat of arms on a shield, with a label of difference: a label can be a border round the coat of arms, or a thing like a three-pointed comb pointing downwards with very blunt teeth. (There used to be nine labels, so that you could tell the difference between Son 2 and Son 7 and so on, but they're not in common use any more, and I couldn't tell without looking them up what all of them were.)

But these rules apply only to the legitimate children of the head of an armigerous house. An illegitimate son or daughter has no right to any coat of arms at all: though the bastard child of a king or a prince or even an important noble might well be granted their own arms independently of their genetic family origins.

The "bend" is the most frequently used of the "Ordinary" marks on a shield - it's supposed to have been used to indicate the belt or the baldric. It's usually drawn right to left, and then it's the "Bend dexter": it is occasionally (more often in Scottish arms, apparently) drawn left to right, and then it's the "Bend sinister". Until Walter Scott, it was never associated with illegitimacy, and it has never been a cadet label of difference in any case.

(Moe's girlfriend will doubtless read this and laugh at all the mistakes I've made: but it's not often I get even a lame excuse to rave about heraldry, and I'm out of practice.)

awesome follow up Jes...thanks for the lesson.

Moe...does your girlfriend ever post here?

Your real name is SCALIER JUGS?

"Drowned out among all the trivia in this discussion is the very noteworthy revelation that Moe's girlfriend is somewhat of an authority on heraldry. I mean how cool is that?"

It depends which kingdom you're in. I may be wrong, but I think Moe & Better Half are here.

Your real name is SCALIER JUGS?

You can see why I use Jesurgislac, can't you?

Bla blah blah.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, they're changing the flag already, heraldic niceties notwithstanding.

Judgement call, Moe: you cannot argue that the flags do not resemble each other, far more than the old Iraqi flag and the new "Iraqi" flag resemble each other. How much is "too much"? That's hardly a matter for you to pronounce judgement on (or me either, or the IGC, come to that).

More to the point, the question isn't whether they can be differentiated but what the majority of Iraqis would answer to the following (hypothetical) question:

"Give the answer that is closest to what you think. Does the Iraqi flag:

a) Look more like the old Iraqi flag?
b) Look more like the Israeli flag?
c) Look like neither the Iraqi nor Israeli flag, but does look like an Islamic flag?
d) Look like neither the Iraqi, nor Israeli, nor any Islamic flag?"

If the majority of people answer either b) or d), that's a real problem.

Anyone but me find it ironic that with all the fuss over the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance here that we expunged a similar motto from the Iraqi flag?

yeah, but JKC, our God is better than their God.

[/Boykin]

Zeyad has a suggested redesign.

2) AWOL!

Bush/Cheney 2004 has resurrected this one by (incredibly stupidly) attacking Kerry's service record. I don't think "defining your opponent early" is supposed to mean defining him as a decorated war hero who was risking his life for his fellow soldiers while you "played politics" (to use one of Bush's favorite phrases) in Alabama and your running mate was beginning his climb up the ladder in an administration that would later come to epitomize executive abuse of power.

3) Elections cheat!

Audit-proof paperless black box balloting anyone? My ATM gives me a receipt. The pump at the gas station usually does. Isn't voting a little more important, in the grand scheme of things? And do you suppose it is a conflict of interest for a U.S. senator to own a stake in this industry?

5) Was appointed!

...with the deciding vote cast by a longtime friend and duck-hunting buddy who will go on to judge whether Dick Cheney, er, I mean the Office of the Vice President, is entitled to hide its dealings with the energy industry in matters of public policy.

6) Lied about WMD!

This one won't get stale any time before A) we find the weapons, or B) we give up looking. Now, everyone, in unison: "It's A Big Country!"

I knew if I used just the right bait, the shy bottomfeeding carpus liberalis would strike.

I'm not sure your own bloodied appendage dangled in the water to be munched upon with impunity constitutes "bait."

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