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Frederick The Monk
294653.  Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:04 am Reply with quote

Instead of those magnetic words you sometimes find on fridges we have magnetic signal flags so after the sun has crawled over the yardarm I can raise the signal delta:

I am manoevering with difficulty

Last edited by Frederick The Monk on Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:16 am; edited 1 time in total

Frederick The Monk
294660.  Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:15 am Reply with quote

After a few more drinks one may care to hoist:

I require a diver to inspect my bottom.

295994.  Fri Mar 14, 2008 8:47 am Reply with quote

The study of flags is called vexillology.


297781.  Tue Mar 18, 2008 5:53 am Reply with quote

Question: Which country burned the most US flags in 2007?

Answer: The US

The U.S. Flag Code states, "The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning".

As such, organisations such as the American Legion and the Boy Scouts burn thousands of stars and stripes every year.

idea donated by students of the University of York

297807.  Tue Mar 18, 2008 6:20 am Reply with quote

That's a very nice facticle - given the eternal controversy in the US over whether flag-burning should be criminalised, or whether it is constitutionally protected.

298231.  Tue Mar 18, 2008 3:57 pm Reply with quote

Is the story about Nelson originally wanting to signal 'England confides that this day every man shall do his duty' and being asked by the flag officer to change it to 'England expects' because it was easier to signal widely known do you think?

298243.  Tue Mar 18, 2008 4:10 pm Reply with quote

It's better than that - the signal given to Pascoe was "Nelson confides ... " etc, not "England". But we did it already.

299273.  Thu Mar 20, 2008 6:35 am Reply with quote

The CND Peace symbol was based on the semaphore for ND (amongst other things):
It started life as the emblem of the British anti-nuclear movement but it has become an international sign for peace, and arguably the most widely used protest symbol in the world. It has also been adapted, attacked and commercialised.

It had its first public outing 50 years ago on a chilly Good Friday as thousands of British anti-nuclear campaigners set off from London's Trafalgar Square on a 50-mile march to the weapons factory at Aldermaston.

The demonstration had been organised by the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War (DAC) and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) joined in.

Gerald Holtom, a designer and former World War II conscientious objector from West London, persuaded DAC that their aims would have greater impact if they were conveyed in a visual image. The "Ban the Bomb" symbol was born.

He considered using a Christian cross motif but, instead, settled on using letters from the semaphore - or flag-signalling - alphabet, super-imposing N (uclear) on D (isarmament) and placing them within a circle symbolising Earth.

I drew myself: the representative of an individual in despair, with hands palm outstretched outwards and downwards in the manner of Goya's peasant before the firing squad.
Gerald Holtom

299351.  Thu Mar 20, 2008 8:37 am Reply with quote

Very tangential - but I do like this anecdote (don’t know whether it's as apocryphal as it sounds) about a message wrongly decoded.

Anna Freud once won an award for her contributions to psychoanalysis, and received a telegram from some admiring therapists:

“Congratulations - signed, the rapists of Philadelphia.”

S: Sunday Telegraph, 13 Jan 08.

299357.  Thu Mar 20, 2008 8:41 am Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
The demonstration had been organised by the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War (DAC) and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) joined in.

I think that’s wrong; I think CND was a new union of a number of organisations, including this one. I’ll have a look ...

299360.  Thu Mar 20, 2008 8:46 am Reply with quote

Here’s the official history:

It was designed in 1958 by Gerald Holtom, a professional designer and artist and a graduate of the Royal College of Arts. He showed his preliminary sketches to a small group of people in the Peace News office in North London and to the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War, one of several smaller organisations that came together to set up CND.

Some more interesting stuff there:

Five hundred cardboard lollipops on sticks were produced. Half were black on white and half white on green. Just as the church’s liturgical colours change over Easter, so the colours were to change, “from Winter to Spring, from Death to Life.” Black and white would be displayed on Good Friday and Saturday, green and white on Easter Sunday and Monday.

The first badges were made by Eric Austin of Kensington CND using white clay with the symbol painted black. Again there was a conscious symbolism. They were distributed with a note explaining that in the event of a nuclear war, these fired pottery badges would be among the few human artifacts to survive the nuclear inferno.

Deeply unsurprisingly, it turns out that

Various far-right and fundamentalist American groups have also spread the idea of Satanic associations or condemned it [the CND logo] as a Communist sign.

and finally ...

Although specifically designed for the anti-nuclear movement it has quite deliberately never been copyrighted. No one has to pay or to seek permission before they use it. A symbol of freedom, it is free for all. This of course sometimes leads to its use, or misuse, in circumstances that CND and the peace movement find distasteful. It is also often exploited for commercial, advertising or generally fashion purposes. We can’t stop this happening and have no intention of copyrighting it. All we can do is to ask commercial users if they would like to make a donation. Any money received is used for CND’s peace education and information work.

302247.  Tue Mar 25, 2008 11:04 am Reply with quote

Further CND notes:

Historian Keith Flett wrote in the Morning Star, 17 Feb 08:

But 50 years of what is one of the world's great protest movements does deserve some historical context. Radio 4 has already had a go in the form of Archive Hour. The former Tory MP Matthew Parris produced a programme with the revealing comment that Tories like himself were always troubled by CND - they knew that they had no effective answer to the point that, if used, the bomb would mean the end of the world as we know it.

Gerald Holtom's CND symbol, which is now a universal sign for peace and protest, caught a mood and perhaps one that was receptive, as the new advertising and PR worlds of the late 1950s opened up to the idea of a visual representation.

and current CND chair Kate Hudson wrote in the Morning Star, 20 March 08:

A lasting consequence of the first march was the famous symbol produced for the march by the artist Gerald Holtom, which also celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
It became the CND symbol and is universally recognised as the sign of peace. The artist explained the symbol in the following way. "First, the semaphore for the initials 'n' and 'd.' Second, the broken cross meant the death of man, the circle the unborn child. It represented the threat of nuclear weapons to all mankind and, because this was new, the threat to the unborn child."
Very soon after that, the symbol came to adorn badges, posters, leaflets, mugs, banners. Ever since, it has been graffitied on to walls and virtually any available flat surface all over the world.

303003.  Wed Mar 26, 2008 8:21 am Reply with quote

Another artist who was involved in designing the early CND look was Gustav Metzger (born 1926), who escaped to Britain from Nazi Poland aged 12.

In 1960, he was a founder member of the CND Committee of 100 and designed its pamphlet. That same year, he urged artists to boycott the commercial gallery system and has avoided it himself ever since. In return, the mainstream art world ignored him for the next 40 years.

Through most of his life, he was marginalized not only for his basic subject matter (anti-capitalist) but his media which were chiefly ephemeral: “performances, articles, manifestos and installations.”

Respected by a few people for decades for his integrity and seriousness of purpose, he has finally been accorded major exhibitions in non-commercial venues. He is a living legend.
At a rare public lecture titled Art and Compromise at the Beaconsfield Centre for Contemporary Art, over 300 people, the majority of them in their twenties and thirties, pack the hall to hear him. The overspill audience have to make do with a video link in the cafeteria.

Metzger calls on artists to instigate change. "I've come to the conclusion that the art community should phase out the art galleries ... to save art. Secondly, we should phase out the auction houses."

His previous works and actions appeared far-fetched in their time, yet they now reveal acute prescience. In 1961, his public work Auto-Destructive Art Demonstration, which was re-enacted in 2006, was accompanied with a manifesto which ended: "Auto-destructive art is an attack on capitalist values and the drive to nuclear annihilation."
In 1966, Metzger's chemically created light projection Art of Liquid Crystals in Better Books in London's Charing Cross Road surprised or shocked passers-by, yet light shows later became staples of rock concerts.
From 1977 to 1980, Metzger declared an "art strike," arguing that artists had produced quite enough art without using up more of the Earth's resources.

S: Morning Star, 19 March 08

303212.  Wed Mar 26, 2008 11:10 am Reply with quote

MatC wrote:
Another artist who was involved in designing the early CND look was Gustav Metzger (born 1926), who escaped to Britain from Nazi Poland aged 12.

Nazi Germany, in fact - although of partly Polish ancestry, Metzger spent his early childhood in Nuremberg. Which is as well, since he was 13 on 10 April 1939 and the Nazis didn't roll in until 1 September!

303560.  Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:49 pm Reply with quote

The biggest territory which doesn't have a flag: Greenland. (I'm willing to be contradicted on this as it comes from a pretty unreliable source - the same one that tells me that vessels of the Royal Navy fly two white ensigns when in action, in case one is shot off and gives the impression that they have surrendered.)

Last edited by Flash on Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:51 pm; edited 1 time in total


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