On the surface, a flag is a piece of cloth with pretty colors and designs. That's the thing with flags. They're often judged on their aesthetics, but their power lies in how well their design captures the culture, religion, politics, and history of a place and its people.
We have flags for everything - nations, states, cities, sports teams, schools, micronations - you can even make your own flag with advice on how to do it. Keep it simple with 2-3 basic colors and skip the lettering.
How can a flag unite a group around a single identity when people are unique and cultures change?
Today, we talk about flags. Check out the website of the North American Vexillological Association. It's filled with lots of good stuff.
- Mike Pesca is the host of the Slate daily podcast The Gist and a frequent contributor to NPR
- Alexandra Petrie is a columnist for the Washington Post and the author of A Field Guide to Awkward Silences
- Scot Guenter is a laureate of the International Federation of the Vexillological Association and professor of American Studies at San Jose State University. He’s the author of The American Flag 1777-1924: Cultural Shifts from Creation to Codification and the founder of “Raven: A Journal of Vexillology
Colin McEnroe was the host of today's show. Chion Wolf was the technical producer.