This is the American Flag.Jul 05, 2023
This is the national
flagof the United States of America; at least one version of it. Because
thisrepresentation, in exactly
thisform, meets all legal requirements. "Really? - What? - How is that possible? - Did I lock the door? - What? - Cash or card? - What?" Many questions. How about some answers? The appearance of the United States
flagis determined by the Flag Act, of which there have been three incarnations. Flag Law 1 of 1777 specifies that the flag will have "13 stripes, alternately red and white, and a blue field with a "union" of 13 white stars." Union is not a vexillological term, but it seems that the wigs thought that no one would understand that the group of stars in number of states represents the union of states if it were not specifically addressed. 1794, Flag Act 2 throws all that out the window, since in the meantime, Vermont and Kentucky have joined together, so, following the idea "One star and one bar per state", that is 15 stars and, scandalously , 15 bars.
It remained like this for 24 years, until in 1818, the Flag Law 3 once again had 13 stripes, but maintained one star per state. Changes to the flag from now on every following 4th of July, aka Independence Day, aka Smith Willard World Savings Day. And since lasting symbols are only for losing countries with universal healthcare, from Flag Act 1 until now, there hasn't been just one version of the flag, two is too few, three is cliché, so let's make it a good even number like... The flag itself may have changed several times, but the Flag Act of 1818 is still in effect.
And according to the Flag Law, this flag is as acceptable as this flag, because the Flag Law is very vague. 13 horizontal stripes, alternately red and white, and a blue field with as many white stars as there are states. That's all. No further information is provided. That is why there are countless versions that are completely compatible. The stripes can start with white instead of red and have different heights, the proportions can be as long or short as you want, the shape can be a rectangle, but also a half ellipse. It can even be a hexagon if you're into that stuff.
But we are not. The blue field can again have all kinds of proportions, shapes and rotations, and be placed in the upper left corner as well as the lower right. The stars can be freely distributed and rotated within the field, be larger and smaller, have different numbers of points and, since we are having a lot of fun, the different parts can present any shade of red, white and blue that we want. The main thing is that we have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 horizontal stripes, alternately red and white, squares, and a blue field with as many white stars. As there are states, consult.
Now, I admit that it is a bit shameless to exploit every undefined detail to produce this crime against humanity. Of course, one can expect that people who have seen a country's flag once or twice in their life will conclude that the stripes should be the same height, the stars arranged in an orderly pattern, and the flag should be a rectangle. So why do I act like a T-Rex at a climbing gym? Because a poorly defined flag not only creates invented problems, but also real ones, as happened in 1912: Mr. President Man, we have a problem. - I'm listening. - We reviewed all types of government agencies and found 66 types of country flags with different proportions. - That's not right, is it? - It's not, boss. - But, so bad? - Well... - *hissing suction* Well, let's do something about it.
Nameless intern, bring me my pen! Since 1912, there have been a series of presidential Executive Orders that specify exactly everything that the Flag Law does not specify. What are the proportions? How tall is each stripe? How are the stars aligned? And how much space do they leave at the edge of the field? All well described and represented in the attached sketch. Very well done. Good job. But an important point: those Executive Orders explicitly only apply to government agencies, so that doesn't mean *this* flag is more correct than *this* flag. Of course, it makes a better impression if you show up in the executive order version of the suit, not a strange-smelling Montessori quilt, but by law both are fine.
Since these Executive Orders specify every detail of American flags in government use, there are no more ambiguities, no more wars, and strawberries now have 8% more vitamin C. "We interrupt our regular program for an important message, which could derail the Let's watch this video in its entirety. Our sources tell us that the flag specifications Executive Order does not define a color standard. I repeat: the flag colors are not clear. More on the situation after some announcements about some stupidity that is not necessary." Great...there is no universal color standard for the US flag. "It's red, white and blue, what more do you want?" Well, red-white-blue can be like this, or like this, or like this.
Which one is right? The next best thing to a flag color standard is the General Services Administration's attractively named Federal Specification DDD-F-416F. We have reached this point on the ladder. It is not a law of Congress, nor an Executive Order of the president, but rather internal rules of public officials, who commission clips for other public officials. What the hell! What does it say? "Are we done soon? I'm dizzy from all those laws, rules and standards. - Tony... this is serious vexillological work. We can't just stop halfway! We owe it to the people who are out there!
Otherwise, we can go ahead and create '5 Incredible Flag Facts That Will Blow Your Mind!!!' or some other garbage. So... shall we continue? - Okay." The colors of the flag are "Old Glory Red", "White" and "Old Glory Blue". Obviously, Old Glory is the nickname of the US flag, so: The colors of the American flag are the colors of the American flag. It sounds pretty silly, but it's not so silly, because these colors are found, clearly defined, in the tenth edition of the Standard Color Reference of America; a 16-page book of industry-standard textile samples made of silk dated 1981.
Luckily, one can purchase such an item for the measly sum of 400 US dollars, and now guess who, because research is king, bought it ...No I. Paying $400 for a 16-page textile sample book to determine colors, I know that? You're drunk? I can save those 400 dollars, because the joint that made the book also has a page on this world wide web, where you can find our colors. Very good. Now, let's take the colors from Federal Specification DDD-F-416F, glue them to the flag, and what we get is... this. It's not that surprising, really. What went wrong? The color standard only works for textile flags that you can touch, not for screens.
With physical objects, we are used to them not appearing blindingly bright, at least if we don't bombard them with high-powered spotlights. On a screen that emits Hexcode-6F white all day, eggshell white and darker shades of red and blue appear subtle. It may look great on polyester, but on screens it looks pretty... dirty, tarnished, disgusting. Therefore, there are usually different standards for textiles, prints and displays. However, our good friend DDD-F-416F only specifies one of those three. Colors for print and, for our most important purposes, screens, remain undefined. "So what? How does that worry me?" Let's say you want to edit the Wikipedia page for the US flag.
What colors will you choose? Or you want to produce an explanatory video about the US annexation of Hawaii. What colors will you choose? Generally, you can choose any shade of red, white, and blue you want and no one will get too upset about it. But if the flags on the websites of different agencies of the same government use very different colors, it doesn't look very good. The Office of Educational and Cultural Affairs says like this, the sample US Missions website like this, the Texas Government Code like this, and the US Embassy in London like this. With such a diversity of "official" flags, fights are only a matter of time.
On Wikipedia, the topic sometimes leads to digital chair throwing. "What are we doing here? The ECA has determined a clear RGB standard that all government agencies must follow. - That's none of the ECA's business, you idiot!" Now, of course, we all want to get along, and a little more pocket money, and one of those cool pieces of gum with tattoo stickers on the package, but most of all, get along, so what's the solution? There is no solution because there is no digital flag color standard. Sure, you can take Federal Specification DDD-F-416F from the General Services Administration, but that's just for textiles, not screens.
If you don't meet a standard somewhere, you can't use any other instead. There is no separate standard or adequate solution. Of course, determining new standards is quite difficult. An economic and military superpower of 330 million people that has dropped a few people on the moon and two atomic bombs on Japan will probably reach its limits there. Only it doesn't look very good when an island with only a thousandth of that population in a damn cold corner of the Atlantic manages to do the job; with great success, no less. Iceland has a flag law that gives clear instructions on flag construction and an executive order from the prime minister that specifies exact color standards for physical flags, prints and displays.
Iceland: 100 points, no grades. And who knows, maybe a country so crazy about vexillology that its national anthem has more to do with its flag than the country itself may one day manage to enact an Executive Order determining the color standards of the Holy Trinity (textiles , prints and screens) to bring order where chaos reigned. Not that there's much else to do. One more information about the flag ahead? The Union Jack, you know, right? No, not the British one, the American one. No? Then I can recommend the new bonus video, exclusively for patrons. If you are interested: patreon.com/tapakapa, now with a free month trial.
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