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May 5, 2008 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Flags and Apathy

Flags are funny things. They are supposed to be a symbol of the country, and a means of identifying that country at a glance. Yet most of us would not be able to connect country to flags.

Our dear is kind of similar to the Chinese flag (with four stars circling a sign of power), and amazingly similar to Australia’s, so much so that even New Zealanders sometimes confuse our flags, and on a day with little or no wind you would be hard pressed to tell the difference if they flaccidly draped down the side of a flagpole.

Flags, no matter how similar, elicit an emotional response from most people. Whether you’re flying one proudly on your front porch, or burning proudly in protest, you are conveying a message.

But we are not a nation of flag fliers. We have 28 flagpoles outside parliament buildings, three on top, and one on top of the Beehive. Usually there are two flags flying, out front and one on the Beehive. We don’t hang them from our porches like Americans do, we don’t have New Zealand flag patches on our school bags like Canadian kids, and we don’t have Union Jack clothes for sale everywhere.

Is this because we lack pride in our lack-lustre flag? I’m not enthralled by a Union Jack and four red stars on a blue background. I think what is more likely is that we’re apathetic. We know we’re New Zealanders, and we can be more easily identified by other symbols of our nationhood: silver ferns, kiwis, lemon squeezer hats, the Southern Cross. We are content to sit by and be apathetic about our flag, because deep down we know that as a symbol of New Zealand identity, it ranks far down the list.

Week on the Blogs

Jackson did a post about the futility of burning flags on ANZAC day, copped some flack from some long haired weed smoking anarchist types, gave some of it back, but generally is awesome. He also wrote a poem about his addiction to Huffer hoodies, which was a fine example of modern poetry. Conrad did a review of the Business Roundtable forum on Policy which got linked to on some other bitches blog sites. Also posted a sweet Chinese propaganda video.

Comment of the Week

Laura McQuillan on ‘Medicinal Marijuana’, by Tristan kittykat
“Hey, it makes a change from right-wing homophobic rants like last year’s crap from David f*ing Farrar and Lindsay Perigo!”

Laura McQuillan
“Lindsay Perigo + homophobic = oxymoron?”


About the Author ()

The editor of this fine rag for 2009.

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