Monday, June 7, 2010

Flags and Vague Internationalism

Flags are powerful symbols of national and cultural identity, but they are sometimes employed to symbolize merely a vague sense of internationalism or cosmopolitanism. Take, for instance, the inside of my windbreaker. It's a medium-weight jacket, not especially stylish, and certainly not especially distinguished -- yet it has this ambitious label on the lining.

I guess I am supposed to feel, when wearing the jacket -- or at least I was, when I was considering its purchase -- that the garment would associate me with the glamorous, adventurous life of an aviator, a person who might at any moment dash off to exotic locales such as Spain, Norway, England, Italy, or the United States. I don't feel that way, not at all, but I am fond of the label. It seems to be trying so hard.

At the risk of noting the obvious: not only do the flags included on the label seem kind of randomly chosen, but there also seems to be a flag that is pretty significant to the jacket left off:

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