Sunday, June 11, 2006

What is it with all these flags everywhere?

st george's lensThis country has gone football mad!

God help those that don't like football. God help those who are going to feel suicidal if England doesn't win.

Is it just me or do others living in England find the mass display of St George's Cross all a bit weird? I know that I'm not a football fan but I do understand national sporting pride. Sure, bandish the flag about in Germany if you're there. Or if you're in another country watching the game amongst others who may not support England. Hang flag bunting at venues like pubs where people will be watching the games.

But why drape it outside private homes, public buildings and office blocks?

Why fly it from your car? How does displaying your flag in your own country, hundreds of miles away from where the games are actually being played achieve anything but an annoying addition to an already over-cluttered environment?

They remind me of those stickers you see on cars that say 'Baby on Board'. What the fuck are those about? I'm sure that were you to ask the parents for a reason they'd say they're there to warn fellow motorists to slow down so that there's less risk of injuring the child in an accident. But, no one reads them, let alone changes their driving habits as a result of them. They're just a way of proudly announcing your allegiance to the baby-owning fraternity.

News footage from the BBC

I'm such a wet blanket, aren't I? But, apparently, flying flags from your car is detrimental to the environment so that's another reason not fly those annoying things.


Blogger Kabinti said...

Really you need to come to America. Then you wouldn't think that England is so bad. Flags galore are us even if it isn't a holiday the flags hang in private homes, as stickers on cars and what have you.

12:00 am  
Blogger Babsbitchin said...

Nomad, it helpd dispense all the hot air, tehe!! Good Night Sweety!

2:52 am  
Blogger Dawn said...

I had to laugh - with respect, only in England would they devote a news item to something like this. If you find flag fever irritating you would be in a permanent bad mood in the USA. FOr no special event, almost every home has a flag flying - they fly from the electricity poles lining the streets - seconded only by some or other ribbon sticker on cars supporting the troops - yellow in color or the good old stars and stripes. I'll take some pics of a normal street scene in suburbia and send them to you. I must admit to having enjoyed watching England win the game - and further confess to being a huge Becks fan. Owen's not looking too shabby either.

5:38 am  
Blogger Moncrief Speaks said...

I'm so glad I live in a country that is totally oblivious to the World Cup. Why? I don't know. I just like being different, I guess. Flame away, soccer fans.

But, as Dawn said (only slightly exaggerated or, depending on the part of the country she's in, maybe not), if you hate flag-flying, you'd soon grow sick of seeing the American flag flying in all kinds of places everywhere here. (And not just because in some way such a display could be seen to represent our current foreign policy and craptastic president).

6:06 am  
Blogger kyknoord said...

I know what you mean. Why can't people just stick to painting their faces and leave it at that?

7:39 am  
Blogger Rob7534 said...

We've always had flags flying at our administrative, government, and public institutions, but the flag craze is relatively new for Americans of my generation... since 2001, they were all brought out.

But I have to say, I've noticed a decline in the private flag hanging in the last couple of years.

I agree w/you Nomad. Although this World Cup Nationalism is not part of my culture.

8:12 am  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

Kabinti : Thanks for popping by. I’ve heard about Americans and their thing for the flag, especially since 9/11 as Rob mentions below.

Babs O'Bitchin : There is that, I suppose. And there really is a lot of hot hair about, both literally and figuratively.

Dawn : It will be interesting to see some pics of flag-drapped American suburbia. I think some street here are similarly clad at the moment. I also watched the game and was pleased that England won. So far, there hasn’t been much mention of war-references (apart from the Daily Mail calling the England training camp Stalag Sven) but they’re sure to come about.

Moncrief Speaks: I fully understand you’re liking to be different about something even if there’s no apparent logic to it. Although the British may not be as obviously nationalistic/patriotic as the Americans are, the Union Jack flies everywhere just as you expect any country to do. What is newish, however, is the mass display of St George’s Cross, the flag of England. Because of the legacy of colonialism and the adoption of the flag by the BNP (British National Party), the English have not been that comfortable displaying their flag, unlike the Scots, for example. Many commentators viewed the European Cup of 2004 as when the English ‘reclaimed’ a pride in being English and their flag without being concerned about the negative connotations. That seems like a good thing to me even if it results in this annoying display we have at the moment. Outside of major sporting events like the World Cup, you see it flown but you’re hardly aware of it.

kyknoord: Much more sensible idea. And it would remind us of the nation’s barbarian past.

Rob7534: I wonder what has brought about the decline? Disillusionment with the ‘war on terror’, perhaps?

8:44 am  
Blogger JP said...

You should see it around the inner city and the suburbs; it's horrendously tacky. The car flags are the worst, but we've been snapping them off religiously...we're in to double figures.

It's time the government took a stand on these people; they obviously can't be expected to make their own decisions.

10:36 am  
Blogger Caroline said...

I thought the point of all these flags was to show the rest of us who all the idiots really are - or to annoy one's parents (I have a friend who two years ago in whatever spate of football fever was going on then had one on her car despite not being into footie - but it did really annoy her mother...)

As for the "baby on board" signs I think that they were invented when a firecrew failed to save a baby in an accident as they'd no idea there was one to be saved... of course that's not how they are being used since quite often there is no baby... but is that like "there is no spoon"?

word veri - ieyewit - oh loads of possibilities to this:

eye witness

aye aye wit

that is a yew tree IT is

that is you innt it?

11:31 am  
Blogger Alan said...

It seems like national pride with the football but how many of these proud English people know when it is St Georges Day or that it is called the Union Flag (on dry land) not and Union Jack (at sea) ?

12:30 pm  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

jp: a man after my own heart!

caroline: now that you mention it, that does seem to be a perfect explanation for them. For veri, you left out the possibility of 'aye aye twit'

alan: with the bigger prominence being given to St George's day (you can even buy cards for the day) more and more of them should know when it is. As for Union Flag vs Union Jack, you're referring to the British flag, as opposed to the English one. But, yes, most people don't know that distinction.

1:03 pm  
Blogger Dawn said...

If I might add another thought - perhaps the flag flying is a better option to the drunken brawling the lads are known to have a tendency toward. That which I speak of in my area of the USA - no exaggeration - pics to follow. Have a great week.

1:36 pm  
Blogger Moncrief Speaks said...

I associate the flying of the English flag with the front of Andy and Lou's flat (or I suppose just Andy's) on Little Britain: they cut to the sad little flag, half crumpled up, draped outside a window in the establishing shots.

2:35 pm  
Anonymous xmichra said...

hehe. okay, I am not a soccer fanatic.. but I love my hockey. And I have two, not one, but two window flags of my team attached to my SUV. Yep, I am one of the hated. But that's okay by me, because I am showing my support for my team. And that means something to me.

The baby on board thing is creepy though. I actually received one of those as a gift while i was pregnant with Kira. I think it made it's way to a drunkin replacement for a frisbee one night.

6:10 pm  
Blogger nyasha said...

football has become a religion! and if England is bad, then Brasil would freak you out!!!! The Maracanã stadium built back in the 1950s in Brasil is still the largest in the world! not content with being "penta-campeôes" they are on a quest for number 6. I am sure glad i am not in England, nor Brasil. I watch Portugal playing but i am no fanatic.....

8:09 am  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

dawn: Yes, it is a better option but, alas, I don't think it stops the drunken brawling.

moncrief: I don't remember the opening scene that well but is it the Union Jack that they fly or St George's Cross? I'd have thought it the former as the show is called 'Little Britain' as opposed to 'Little England'.

xmichra: Aha! I've nabbed one of the guilty ones! Actually, you don't appear guilty at all. You're out and proud about your flag-waving habit. :-) However, while I'm not that keen on flying them from cars, there is a difference between you and the flags on cars here. I would assume that you support a team in a city/town where there are others who support different teams? If so, then you're distinguishing yourself from the other team supporters in the area. In this case, EVERYONE who supports football, supports England. Barring, of course, a few stray Scots and foreigners. So, there is NO need to distinguish themselves by flying the flag on the car.

Oh, whatever, just fly your ruddy flags - my railing against them is like pissing against the wind! :-)

8:09 am  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

nyasha: It certainly is a religion and I know how fanatical the Brazilians are. What year was it when they were favourites to win and they lost to, I think, Uruguay or another S American nation? There was mass weeping in the streets and several suicides.

8:11 am  
Anonymous xmichra said...


you are right sortof. i do not live in the city to which i cheer for thier team. so i hang my flags to show support from affar. however, i would do the same thing in edmonton because I am a fan and like the flags. hehe. To be fair, it is almost like America aainst Canada (since taht is where the two teams are from) and now it is pretty much the same thing... where all you see is the Oilers flags in Canada because hanging the other is just unpatriotic.

1:53 pm  
Blogger Moncrief Speaks said...

RN, it is definitely St. George's Cross (as opposed to the Union Jack) flying in front of Andy's home in the establishing shots of Little Britain. I think it's meant to evoke a particular sort of English neighbourhood.

2:14 pm  
Blogger Guyana-Gyal said...

It's herd mentality.

3:13 pm  

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