Honestly, we here at PD don’t quite know what to think about this new need to put the American flag on everything. It started in drips and drabs with Obama campaigner Beyoncé and her pal Lady Gaga two years ago, until it burst all over the international shelves.
The funny thing is that for years, anything that gave you the appearance of being American was considered on par with having a bad case of herpes, and was looked down by everyone from Hollywood elitists to the irksome Lisa Simpson.
At first, PD thought this resurgence was done merely as European leftist irony. A sort of, “I’m wearing this flag shirt, because I hate capitalism,” thing. Now though, this trend is everywhere.
Is it still worn with irony, and Middle America just doesn’t get the joke? Is this sub-consciously tied to November elections? Is it even morally right to wear a flag? Where does that act come down on the levels of good taste? Is it patriotic to wrap yourself in Old Glory? Could wearing the flag diminish the meaning behind it and those that sacrifice their lives for it? Does the flag having meaning anymore?
PD is split on this one. Some feel it adds a cute pop to an outfit, while others feel that even saying such a thing is sacrilege. The libertarian streak in us wants people to do what they want; the political fashion underpinnings think it’s akin with wearing socks with sandals.
Legally, there is no law against it, nor does PD think there should be a law. There are however guidelines to wearing the flag. The U.S. Flag Code goes like this:
Section 4-D states, “The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery.” (Pretty sure that means all clothing.)
Section 4-G states, “The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.”
Section 4-H states, “The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.” (There goes using it on a canvas tote.)
Section 4-I states, “The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.” (Reconsider your BBQ napkins.)
Section 4-J states, “No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.”
Those clauses all seem to be firmly against flag tank tops and board shorts. Given those clauses and what the colors of the flag are meant to stand for, PD has reached an unanimous decision:
Red- Valor and hardiness
White- Purity and innocence
Blue- Vigilance, perseverance, and justice
PD staff won’t degrade the flag, that can still mean so much to so many, by partaking in this trend.