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Evansville Otters 145

Notice: All logos on this page are included within the parameters of 17 U.S.C. § 107, which states that the reproduction of a copyrighted work for purposes of criticism and/or comment is not an infringement of copyright. No challenge to the copyrights of these logos is intended by their inclusion here.
Posted 2016 July 23

Several years ago I learned of the existence of an organization called the North American Vexillological Association. What, you may ask, is the North American Vexillological Association? Why, it's an association of vexillologists from North America, of course. What else would it be? But I sense that you want a more thorough answer. Fine, it's a bunch of flag geeks. Please understand that I say "flag geek" with sincere respect. After all, if someone decided to call me a "logo geek" I couldn't deny it very convincingly. About the best I could do is wave my arms hysterically and scream "AM NOT!" in a loud voice. It wouldn't fool anyone.

Anyway, the NAVA apparently does some fairly serious stuff, but they also have a fair amount of effort devoted to...well, basically to doing to flags what I do to logos. For example, several years ago they ranked the flags of all the U.S. and Canadian states, provinces, and territories. Their scoring system was a bit more subjective than mine — basically members rated the flags on a scale of 1-10 and they averaged the scores — but nonetheless, it was a ranking of the flags. They've done similar things for city flags. And much as I have my perpetual bugaboos, so did NAVA. In fact, in much the same way that I've come up with acronyms like BIC and JACKAL to describe frequently-occurring offenses, the people at NAVA have dubbed one kind of flag the "SOB", which in this case stands for "Seal on Bedsheet". You know the sort: the flag is nothing more than the state seal on a background which is usually blue, and when not blue is usually some other solid color. The voters at NAVA hate those flags. In fact, in the state flag survey the vast majority of SOBs were all bunched together at the bottom. I'm not entirely certain how they differentiated between the various SOBs, but the trend was clear.

Why do I mention all this? Well, in part I mention it because the city of Evansville, Indiana is annoying both me and the North American Vexillological Association. As you can see above, the Otters' logo is a JACKAL. And as you can see to the right, the city flag is an SOB. Come on, Evansville, you're better than this. Well, I assume you are. I've never actually been to Evansville, so maybe you're not. But you should aspire to be in any case.

The least they could do is do what the state of Indiana is doing and have a "faux SOB" (FSOB?) for a flag. If you look at that flag along with all the other state flags, you'd probably assume that emblem is the seal of Indiana. It's not. I'm not sure it's much of an improvement over real SOBs (particularly when they feel the need to put the state name on the flag), but if not then it's still a slight improvement. Indiana's flag, for the record, ranks in the middle of the pack, slightly above the halfway point (31st out of 72, if you want to be precise). It's nowhere near the top, but it's well ahead of the SOBs.

In fact, it ranks directly above the flag for the state I currently live in. This surprises me, because quite frankly I think North Carolina's flag isn't very good and thus I expect it to rank lower (then again, it is at least better than all the SOBs and there's an awful lot of those). If you look at the flag from a distance, you'd think you were looking at the flag of Texas. The two are quite similar. The only real differences are that the stripes are reversed (Texas has white above red while North Carolina has red above white), the star on the NC flag is smaller, there's a yellow "N" to the left of the star and a yellow "C" to the right, and above and below the star are two small yellow banners with two allegedly significant dates in blue written on them. I say "allegedly" because I doubt most North Carolinians could tell you either of the dates or what their significance is. I had to look them up myself, and I'm more interested in history than most people. One of them is the date of the "Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence", which is when Mecklenburg County declared itself independent of the Crown a full 13½ months before the Jefferson-penned Declaration of Independence was released in Philadelphia. There's just one problem with this Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, which is that historians think it never actually existed. The earliest known reference to the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence is from 1819. There was something called the Mecklenburg Resolves, but those were passed eleven days later and didn't actually declare independence. States declaring their pride in things which aren't actually true is far from rare, but most states at least have sense enough not to put those untrue things in their flags.

The second date is the date of the Halifax Resolves, which was when people at the other end of the state said they were fed up with the crown. That declaration seems to have more historical evidence. But the original NC flag didn't include that date. The original flag had...well, um...okay, it's like this. North Carolina didn't have a flag until soon after it tried to secede from the union in the early days of the Civil War. It had managed to go eighty-nine years as part of the United States without being particularly worried about having a flag, but then it said it was joining another country and oh holy shit was having a flag suddenly a high priority. So when they first designed the flag, they decided to include the the two dates when North Carolina (supposedly) declared its independence: one for when it declared its independence from the United Kingdom, and another when it declared its independence from the United States. Of course, there were a couple of problems with these dates. First, as I noted in the previous paragraph, it didn't actually declare its independence from the United Kingdom on the claimed date. Second, the state soon learned that it hadn't exactly become independent from the United States on the claimed date, either.

About twenty years after the Civil War, the state decided that having the date they tried to secede on their flag was a bit embarrassing, so they replaced it with the date of the Halifax Resolves. They also decided to make the flag look more like Texas by swapping the blue and red (on the original flag the vertical bar at the left was red and the top horizontal bar was blue). I have no idea why they did that, and couldn't find anything about it. Maybe they decided the old flag was bad luck or something.

Incidentally, on a recent trip to Philadelphia I had the opportunity to visit Independence National Historical Park. The two big draws at INHP are the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, but there are a few other points of interest there, including the Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary Soldier. In front of that memorial are flags representing the states that fought in the Revolution, and they tried to pick a flag for each state that was in use during the Revolution rather than contemporary flags. For North Carolina (since there was no state flag at the time) they used the flag that North Carolina troops fought under during the Battle of Guilford Courthouse. It's neither here nor there, but I kind of like the flag, and would like to see it or a variant of it adopted as the new state flag. It gets the state away from the Civil War, it gets the state away from Texas, and it gets the state away from having letters on its flag, all of which are lame.

Not that I'm ever going to actually suggest it to the General Assembly, mind you. That's partly because I have no reason to think they'd do anything other than write me off as some crank. (It's an odd unwritten rule: elementary school kids can write legislators about silly shit like this and the legislators will think it's cute and possibly even act on it, but if an adult does the same thing the legislators will assume the writer has a screw loose.) But it's also because I'm afraid to see what might happen if the state actually decided to redesign the flag. We'd probably get stuck with a SOB like all those other states. And I'd hate to see that, because North Carolina is better than that. Maybe. It should aspire to be, in any case.

Final Score: 145 points.
Penalties: Obvious, 17 pts; Humanoid, 30 pts; Cartoon, 47 pts; Player, 51 pts.
Bonuses: None.


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