Sunday, January 13, 2013

The War on Betsy Ross!

    Despite the sensational title of this post, I do not harbor delusions of conspiracy or lack of patriotism in supporters of President Obama.  However, as I noted this summer during the campaign, there was a curious aversion to traditional representations of the American flag in the items available in the America for Obama campaign store (two of the designs are pictured on the right.)  This fondness for the avant-garde has carried over to the online store of the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) website.

    Just as the Obama campaign store offered a Runway To Win line of designer fashions, the 2013 PIC enlisted a number of famous designers to augment their online offerings.  Several of these have incorporated the American flag into their designs.  But these are not your (founding) fathers' flags:

    This bag by Rachel Roy is the most faithful to the original designer, but the colors have been scrapped in favor of a monochromatic look.  

    Here is the obligatory hoodie (Yigal AzrouĆ«l) which restores the colors, but drops several of the original colonies and a boatload of current states in its design.

    However, I saved the best for last:

    This Prabal Gurung print on a plain t-shirt is described as "featuring a kaleidoscope-inspired American flag design."  It makes Betsy Ross's original design seem rather pedestrian by comparison.

    As a traditionalist, I find these designs not deeply subversive, but frankly just kind of annoying.  The flag's original design was purposeful and says much about the ideals, the history, and the principles of the United States of America.  Like the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, or the Star Spangled Banner, some things just don't need improving.

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