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November 5, 2004

New times call for new t-shirts
Posted by Teresa at 12:17 PM * 75 comments

Greg Rapawy writes in with a great suggestion (okay, a suggestion I like a lot):

On October 19, 2004, you wrote in a comment to the “Motivation and doubt” post that you’ve “long had ‘Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare þe ure maegen lytlað’ buried in the template code for [your] weblog.” Any interest in making a CafePress shirt, or maybe a mug, with this phrase? It seems particularly appropriate to the next two to four years, and I suspect people would buy it. I know I want one.
I’m now taking suggestions: archaic-looking type and background? Something more modern? If modern, yes or no, stars & stripes background? Other?

Please advise.

Comments on New times call for new t-shirts:
#1 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 12:39 PM:

Would you be willing to translate for those of us who don't speak Old Norse?

#2 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 12:45 PM:

Second page of Google has a page with this translation: "Courage must be the greater, heart the bolder, spirit the greater, the more our strength is diminished."

Which I've heard before, but didn't recognize in ON.

I think it should be in archaic letters, on a Blue-State blue shirt. With the translation on the back, or in little tiny modrun letters at the bottom.

#3 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 12:51 PM:

Rick Salutin, a columnist in the Globe & Mail (Canadian newspaper) today quoted an exchange from one of his own works, between two revolutionaries being led to the gallows:
"We've lost."
"No. We just haven't won yet."

I don't have the newspaper to hand, so I won't vouch for the absolute accuracy of my quote here. It's part of a longer piece on the struggle going on beyond the lives of the individuals involved in it.

#4 ::: Ellen ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 01:00 PM:

*delurks pedantically*

Old English, not Old Norse. It's from the Battle of Maldon.

...and though it's a good sentiment, beautifully phrased, I can't help remembering that the shield wall breaks and the speaker of those words gets mown down along with all his comrades...

#5 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 01:10 PM:

Insular majuscule, to suit the language, with the fancy capital at the start in stars and stripes*, RWB. Maybe even have a little bald iggle inhabiting the bottom of the H.

*That doesn't mean it has to be directly flag-based--just have the theme in there--maybe stars around it, on the blue ground.

#6 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 01:24 PM:

Ellen --

The speaker says that to his comrades as they are preparing to fight to the death defending the body of the guy who got them into the hopeless position they're in through being -- at best -- overchivalrous and -- at worst -- an utter turnip, desiring glory over the fulfillment of his duty.

Defeat is something that happens in the spirit; wounds and death are something that happens to the body.

There are times when this is a meaningful distinction, and it is this to which I understand the speaker of those lines -- and their cultural weight of sentiment generally -- to refer.

So, yeah, the raiding Norse did them down to die; I do not think all the meanings of defeat must follow from that.

Teresa -

If I sent you an image of those lines in futhorc, do you think you would consider using same?

I like insular maj.; I even like the idea of a Lindisfarne eagle. Am conflicted about the stars and stripes part.

#7 ::: gaukler ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 01:26 PM:

No flag, please. I'm not from the US, but it'still a good shirt.

#8 ::: Ariella ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 01:26 PM:

If we're doing Old English, I'm personally partial to þæs ofereode, þisses swa mæg (That passed, and so may this).

It's the refrain from Deor, a poem about disasters and bad kings.

#9 ::: gaukler ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 01:26 PM:

No flag, please. I'm not from the US, but it's still a good shirt.

#10 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 01:36 PM:

Flag, definitely. That's what it's all about.

Modern type, too, albeit with the Old English special characters. (Which exist in most modern fonts, anyway.)

#11 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 01:47 PM:

I can see the arguments for non-nationalizing this one. So--Lindisfarne iggle in the H? Cool beans! I still like the idea of stars on a blue background, mostly because I just like stars.

Here's another thought for a reified sentiment:

"Tomorrow I expect to make a trip to the planet Mars and, if so, will immediately commence to organize the Mars canal workers into the I.W.W. and we will sing the good old songs so loud that the learned star-gazers will once and for all get positive proof that the planet Mars is really inhabited....I have nothing to say for myself, only that I have always tried to make this earth a little bit better. "

Joe Hill to Solidarity editor Ben Williams (written while awaiting his execution)

For the reverse, the always-helpful:
Don't mourn -- Organize!

Colors as you please.

#12 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 01:53 PM:

I can do more than one version. Graydon, do please send. Everyone else: Other scrap is welcome. Ariella, most of my shirts have a second tag line on their backs, and that one sounds good.

#13 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 01:53 PM:

I'd be another vote for 'no flag please'. I'm not from the US either - but it's still a great shirt.

FWIW Patrick (and anybody else that might be curious), part of the reason that I'd rather not have a US flag on the shirt is that wearing the US flag around here tends to be interpreted as support for whatever the US happens to be doing at any given time. The rest falls under "but it's an excellent thought in -so many- situtations, let's not limit it by putting the flag on it".

#14 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 01:59 PM:

What about this?

"Franklin County, OH: Gahanna 1-B Precinct

US Senator:
Fingerhut (D) - 167 votes
Voinovich (R) - 300 votes

US President:
Kerry (D) - 260 votes
Bush (R) - 4,258 votes"


#15 ::: Tracina ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 02:08 PM:

Perhaps some OE swords stuck in a stylized Diebold voting machine? One that looks like a Dalek, perhaps.

Maybe that only seems funny to me.

#16 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 02:16 PM:

Ellen: Old English, not Old Norse. It's from the Battle of Maldon.

My mistake. But of course, all I said was that the translation would be for those of us who don't speak Old Norse...if you speak Old Norse but not Old English (which, heavens, I really ought to have recognized), you have to get your translation somewhere else, nyahhh!

Not that I'm competitive about my pedantry or anything. Heh.

#17 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 02:20 PM:

Those of you who want it to feature no flag are missing the whole point. :-)

#18 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 02:25 PM:

Patrick is right. Even if you live in another country, the Bush-led American imperialist threat is part of what needs to be fought.

Here, I think it would be taken as "Let's take our country back." Good on all continents, eh?

#19 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 02:27 PM:

How about a flag with thirteen stars?

That's certainly not a flag the "heartland" can lay claim to any more.

#20 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 02:28 PM:

Personally, I think it needs to look like a campaign poster, or at least draw on them as a design inspriation.

Can Cafe Press print on sleeves? The sleeve tag is, IMHO, a nice touch for t-shirts.

#21 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 02:30 PM:

I'd say do it in modern english not old english.
But use an old-looking font.

If an American had said it, I'd be cool with an american flag as the background. But since it's a little older than that, you could design it so it looks like its written on an old beat up and yellowed scroll of paper.

thats my 2c design opinion

#22 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 02:39 PM:

I think that using a modern type treatment with the original Old English text would create a nice discontinuity, and generally increase interest among people who see it on your mug in the office kitchen, for instance - thus triggering potentially constructive (and hopefully office-safe) political discussions.

I think using an old-fashioned distressed type treatment and other medieval design elements would only make it look like another fannish artifact, and therefore less interesting to a wider audience.

Note that I’m assuming that the goal of such a shirt or coffee mug would be to catch people’s eye and get them to ask questions.

#23 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 02:42 PM:

Beautiful idea! Tolkien gives two different translations in his "Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm's Son":

In the text of the play:
"Heart shall be bolder, harder the purpose,
more proud the spirit as our power lessens."

In the introduction to the play:
"Will shall be sterner, heart the bolder,
spirit the greater as our strength lessens."

The one Xopher found above is
"Courage must be the greater, heart the bolder, spirit the greater, the more our strength is diminished."

How about a combined form:
"Heart shall be bolder, harder the purpose,
Spirit the greater as our strength lessens."

Although I don't know about the "strength lessens" part. Maybe something meaning "although our strength seems at its lowest ebb" would be more appropriate.

I like the Lindisfarne eagle part. Maybe rampant next to the initial letter?

Maybe a "Don't Tread on Me" flag?

#24 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 02:52 PM:

Flag, twenty stars. (I think it's twenty. That's what I counted on CNN's election map just now.)

#25 ::: ElizabethVomMarlowe ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 02:58 PM:

I vote some stars and stripes, but also large plain clear lettering. I prefer not to have people peer at my chest.

And can we have the translation on it somewhere?

Could you do the flag on the pocket? The lettering under a flying flag if it's the center?

I would also dearly love a Republicans for Voldemort T-shirt, if you're taking new requests.

#26 ::: Leslie ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 02:59 PM:

Well, I am a U.S. citizen, and I'm still uncomfortable with using the flag. It means too many bad things right now, and, imo, it can only be redeemed from those associations from the top down: by the dramatic change in government, in policy, in our national direction and actions that we are longing and working for, and not from the bottom up, by a grassroots campaign.

Yes, we must start at the grassroots level to bring about that transformation; but I am concerned that in the meantime, the flag has been so thoroughly despoiled in its symbolism that its use on this shirt would be more likely than not to be (badly?) misinterpreted, thus undermining "the point," as Patrick says. The message as a whole could be all too easily understood as some sort of "united we stand against the terrorists" pseudo-patriotic thing.

That, at least, is my fear. I would, of course, be happy to be wrong. If the flag is to be used, though, I would vote for an archaic font (but not script--nothing that looks like our founding documents), as the anachronistic effect is perhaps more likely to forestall or disrupt the misreading I foresee. And actually, regardless of background, I think the old-style font would be cool.

#27 ::: Greg R. ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 03:02 PM:

I vote for the old english, in a modern font, with a low number of background design elements to let the text speak for itself.

#28 ::: Ariella ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 03:07 PM:

Patrick, I see your point but I fear that if the shirt has just American flag iconography on it, the slogan may be interpreted as American defiance of terrorist-Viking-pinkos.

It has to be clear and unsubtle that the shirt represents a liberal point of view. I'm not sure that people will count up the twenty stars and catch on to their meaning right away.

#29 ::: Rose ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 03:44 PM:

Here's where you can get a "Republicans for Voldemort" t-shirt: the store.

#30 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 03:50 PM:

Thirteen stars. There is so much about the American Revolution that is apropos. The madness of King George. Washington's brilliant retreats and refusal to ever admit defeat. And all we owe to those tough-as-nails Massachusetts liberals.

Just my 2¢ worth -- I'm sure it will be great however you decide to do it.

#31 ::: ElizabethVomMarlowe ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 03:53 PM:


I surely do need that shirt.

#32 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 04:02 PM:

I think that the twenty-stars idea is ... well, quite frankly, atrocious.

I voted in Virginia. I, and a very substantial fraction (though sadly not a majority) of my fellow citizens of that commonwealth, voted for John Kerry.

I would appreciate not being excluded from your brave newly-divided view of the country. While the geographic line may appear fierce and hard in the electoral college, it is not such a thing on the ground.

#33 ::: Ellen ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 04:11 PM:

I'm also leery of putting a flag on it-- I know that it's ceding a lot of ground to let the right claim that symbol as theirs and theirs alone, but I'm afraid that any hint of a flag motif would have to be paired with a much simpler and more explicit text for it not to be interpreted as rah-rah-yee-hah these days.

Insular minuscule, without ornamentation, on a plain background would be my choice.

Graydon-- Defeat is something that happens in the spirit; wounds and death are something that happens to the body.
There are times when this is a meaningful distinction, and it is this to which I understand the speaker of those lines -- and their cultural weight of sentiment generally -- to refer.

Yes, absolutely, and I'm not suggesting that anyone is going to take the quote as an exhortation to stand and die for others' ofermod. I just wish that the stirring sentiment went together with a happier ending; it would hearten me. Though I do like Ariella's suggestion of þæs ofereode, þisses swa mæg as the back tagline-- that's a very heartening thought right now.

#34 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 04:29 PM:

Teresa, I'm sending you a rough sketch. This is the warning -- it will be an attachment with the subject "tshirt sketch"

#35 ::: JoshD ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 05:31 PM:

Okay, coming up with a version myself. One question:

Does anyone here know where I could find a higher-resolution image of the "Prisoner's Flag?"

"The Prisoner's Flag" was made by an American prisoner of war on a prison ship in Devon, England. Improvised from material the prisoner had on hand, the white stripes are of silk ribbon stitched to a ground of red wool twill (a British officer's redcoat?) The canton of thirteen stars rests on the fourth red stripe, the "war stripe".

If I could find it in a book, I could scan it in a high enough resolution to create a print-ready file.

#36 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 06:51 PM:

A font suggestion: Junius Modern, part of the Old English Font Pack.

And I'd like to add my voice to those saying either the full flag, or no flag.

#37 ::: Jeremy Londeore ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 07:23 PM:

I would vote against using the actual flag (or image thereof). Believe it or not, this is for patriotic resons. Flag code states that the national falg is not to be part of articles of clothing, towels, or various other trinkets as it is disrespectful. (It's right up there with the proper way to dispose of a flag being to *burn* it from the inside out and fold the corners in after it has caught)

I wholly approve of working motifs from the American flag into the whole however. I agree with others here that the 13 stars motif is more appropos at the moment and likely garner more widespread support. It seems like we want to unite people and start to wage our own language war.

In a debate, (s)he who defines the terms, wins.

#38 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 07:24 PM:

"Well, I am a U.S. citizen, and I'm still uncomfortable with using the flag. It means too many bad things right now, and, imo, it can only be redeemed from those associations from the top down: by the dramatic change in government, in policy, in our national direction and actions that we are longing and working for, and not from the bottom up, by a grassroots campaign."

I'm not sure I can say how completely I disagree and stay polite.

#39 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 07:46 PM:

Stylized, modern, graphic flag. Forward looking, bold, modern text. Anglo-saxon words.

Something really big, colorful, proud, show-up-at-a-distance. Instantly recognizable in photos of crowds.

They can have my flag when they rip it from my cold, dead hand.

#40 ::: JoshD ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 07:55 PM:


I like that. And yet, I'm still drawn to the revolutionary flag, and the Baskerville type that was struck around the same period.

It puts me in mind of Brad Delong and The United States as a Developing Country During the Cold War: this is not the first time our nation has faced dire circumstances with venal politicians at the helm.

The Prisoner's Flag was made as a statement of defiance by a prisoner of war. That's close how I feel right now.

Just saying. :)

#41 ::: Kathi ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 08:42 PM:

I like the saying, and if you can possibly come up with a color that won't make me look jaundiced (not yellow, orange, gold, beige) I'll be proud to order one. Yeah, I'm a winter, and refuse to look dead anymore. I like stars and the 13 star flag, because I am proud of my flag but I don't worship it--it's a symbol, not the thing it represents. I'd learn toward the "power" lessening, as opposed to strength. I hope our strength shall grow in this powerless time.

Also--there is a great huge liberal flag shirt out there, with a big flag and the words "Thinking is patriotic" on it.

I also have decided I want something related to the constitution on a t-shirt. I am SO tired of the $%$#@ crap about the pledge of you know what, with its 1950's addition of "under god"--whatever happened to "Ye shall be of the world but not in it"? I'm seeing red, that may not be exactly right. I went back and made sure I remember the Preamble to the Constitution, because if we're going to have them recite anything, why not this? I had to learn it in seventh grade, and you can bet I've been thinking about it and going over those phrases a lot the past few years.

Or I saw a quote from Einstein lately:

"The strength of the Constitution lies entirely in the determination of each citizen to defend it. Only if every single citizen feels duty bound to do his share in this defense are the constitutional rights secure." -- Albert Einstein

But that may be too intellectual for this time? Also, I don't know the context on that one. If we're going to be intellectual, let's be obscure and intellectual--and add Prof. Tolkien as well.

#42 ::: Seth Ellis ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 08:42 PM:

Can CafePress do two-sided T-shirts? If they can, I'd suggest a big graphic on the front, stylized modern display font, anglo-saxon, and on the back, a Modern English translation in a more normal sans-serif. With flag, please.

Actually, what I really suggest is a design contest, but I suppose that could get out of hand.

#43 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 09:02 PM:

CafePress does do two-sided T-shirts. Unfortunately, they don't have T-shirts in my giant size.

#44 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 09:39 PM:

Would this be a good time to renew my request for a shirt with Patrick's quote on it?

"I'm a patriot. I love my decadent, cosmopolitan, self-indulgent, racially-mixed, godless, intellectually dilletante, drug-abusing, promiscuous, queer-loving country. And its flag is the Stars and Stripes."


#45 ::: Rose ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 09:43 PM:

Ooh, I *really* want a shirt with Patrick's quote on it. With a flag, please!

I was *so* looking forward to a Kerry victory -- I was going to put a flag up in my store. This thread is making me think that maybe I still should -- so, thank you!

#46 ::: jeffy ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2004, 09:44 PM:

Could a "just because you're on their side, doesn't mean they're on your side" bumper sticker be made such that it would be legible in the obvious application?

I keep trying to figure out if the colors on that shirt encode some information. Do they, or can I stop?

(Ordered my nutbar bumper stickers. Sigh.)

#47 ::: Thel ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2004, 12:38 AM:

What about having the flag upside down? "All is not right, here--" but we will not lie down and give in to the not-rightness of it all.

Whichever way you design it, I want one.

#48 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2004, 09:31 AM:

Upside down? No. I'm not in distress. I'm not calling for aid. I'm on the parapets, flag flying proudly, defending America against the cowardly, the incompetent, the greedy, the corrupt.

#49 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2004, 10:11 AM:

I just wanted to second Jeremy Londeore.

Just because the right wing is using the flag inappropriately doesn't mean that we should. (This is a pet peeve of mine: I rail against flags left in the dark, flags left in the pouring rain, flags left hanging while in tatters, flags inappropriately attatched to cars...)

Applicable laws here:

#50 ::: Leslie ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2004, 03:13 PM:

I'm not sure I can say how completely I disagree and stay polite.

Patrick, I don't want to assume what your reasons would be for censoring yourself here, but don't stay polite on my account. I'm not going to have my feelings hurt by anything you might say to me, and would, in fact, welcome a rebuttal (you'll notice I also said I'd be happy to be wrong).

I was thinking, when I made that comment, of how the world sees our flag now, not how we see it, and I still feel that no matter how many t-shirts we wear, it's not going to redeem the Stars and Stripes in the world's eyes. It will take a lot more to do that. And in the meantime, a flag on a shirt is likely to be misinterpreted, unless the rest of the message is unambiguously non-right-wing, which Teresa's Old English text, translated or not, doesn't seem likely to be. And I would not want to reinforce, however unintentionally, the rah-rah knee-jerk patriotism associated with our flag.

Now, a t-shirt with a flag and your statement, as quoted by Mary Kay--that would be another matter altogether.

#51 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2004, 03:31 PM:

How about the Battle of Maldon words over the purple US map?

And the flag with the flag quote?

#52 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2004, 03:47 PM:

If you're still taking suggestions, here's another one:

"Sorry, world. We really tried." maybe over a purple map. Idea courtesy of

#53 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2004, 05:06 PM:

I've been wearing my CafePress baseball jersey that says:

This Contry was Founded on Dissent [[front]]

Dissent is Patriotic! [[back, with American flag]]

Tom B - what you said about "the madness of King George."

While I like the notion of thinking of the blue states of "revolutionaries," in reality, what Bushie and buddies want to do is way more revolutionary. And way more negative.

If anyone's interested, I designed "Don't Blame Me...I'm From a Blue State" bumpersticker at Cafe Press the other day. You can order one from my blog. I mentioned this to Dan Kimmel, and he said he'd already sent Nancy Lebowitz a custom order for that button!

#54 ::: Yaka St.Aise ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2004, 05:14 PM:

The Freedom Fries perspective:

Patrick's quote combined with the flag is perfect.
Especially - but not only - on the homefront, it can help clarify things about the flag and other patriotic symbols not being the property of conservative nuts.

Until this clarification is made, and until it is unambiguous what values the flag stands for, it seems unwise to push it it the face of overseas people.

The flag without a very clear an unsubtle statement about it not being in any way an endorsment of the current administration and US foreign policy would make this T-shirt useless if not counterproductive overseas (at least).

A simple, first-hand example of how far this can go:
April 2004, Fellujah, Iraq.
A three persons, one car team from a french NGO in Iraq, including a national staff MD and native from the city is trying to reach one hospital rehab'ed by said NGO to assess drugs and equipment needs.
Being a local to the city really does make a difference in avoiding trouble from all sides in such cases, as the warning coming from a distant accointance made pretty clear:

"Don't take this road, democracy* is shooting on sight there."

When democracy can become a synonymous for "strangers with heavy weaponry shooting civilians", it becomes pretty obvious one has to be careful what meaning supposedly virtuous symbolic labels can convey.

Another, less striking maybe, example:
Jan 2004, Baghdad, Iraq.
During an inter-NGO corrdination meeting, the topic of translation of work papers, handbooks etc in arabic is discussed.
One national NGO worker raises the issue of how literal translation of Non Governmental Organization(s) in arabic can be really inappropriate, because anything with the word "Government" in it, be in in a, exclusive clause will draw people away and trigger defiance mechanisms in their minds.

Oh so true, as everyone agreed after fifteen seconds of stunned silence in the room.

In the same fashion, vocal patriotism at home may be fine. Beyond one own's borders, it usually will be seen as chauvinistic (at best) or imperialist (at worst) provided any of those two traits are among the prejudices foreigners may nurture against the emblazoned country's symbols.

For any number of reasons (good or bad), many of which are anterior to the current president and administration, a large number of foreigners are ready to think of USA as chauvinistic and imperialist, were they to be hinted at it.

It would be sad for the Dems to forgo their legitimate right to claim the US flag as theirs.
It would be sadder even for the Dems to fail to convey their message because of their use of symbols associated (at this point) with more bad than good impressions.

Maybe what foreigners may feel or think about the current state of things un USA is non-relevant to the T-shirt issue at hand, and it is not my place to argue pro or con this issue here, but if it were to be relevant, I hope this bit will help you make an informed decison.


*In english.

#55 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2004, 07:25 PM:

Could there be a non-flagged version for the international market?

#56 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2004, 07:58 PM:

Um. Just saw Yaka St. Aise's post about the difficulties of interpretation overseas. My immediate reaction, in the first post, was pretty much the same.

Likewise, right-wing groups have been trying to whip up jingoistic enthusiasm for the Australian flag & use it for their purposes, so it's become a more divisive issue over the last few years than it had been for many. Throughout the Sydney Olympics, I had tied to my bag, the Eureka flag (recent story) & Aboriginal flag as well as the official Australian one precisely because of this.
For a similar reason, I determined in the last census to say "no religion", because some people have been using these figures to justify their hate-full versions of religion as having public support.

#57 ::: Jackmormon ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2004, 08:14 PM:

I like Janet's combined form:

Heart shall be bolder, harder the purpose,
Spirit the greater as our strength lessens

But I would amend the first hemistiche to "heart shall be sterner," so as to increase the alliterative factor.

And can we compromise and have two versions, one with flag and one without? (I do agree with Patrick's point that all the fancy variations on the flag will only detract from the key point.)

This is one political t-shirt I'd be proud to wear. Please let me know where I can buy it!

#58 ::: Leslie ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2004, 08:21 PM:

Jo Walton,


#59 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2004, 10:37 PM:

Epacris: what, not "Jedi"? (g, d & r)

#60 ::: Sarah Avery ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2004, 01:33 AM:

Yet another call for Patrick's quote. I am so ready to wear those words.

#61 ::: james woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2004, 06:28 PM:

Here's a crazy idea: find a good cartoon image of Uncle Sam to use with the Patrick quote. If you can't find one sufficiently surrealistic, then please allow me to drop the name of a very good artist friend of mine who might be enticed into doing this: Tom Payne. If you call him, tell him I sent you.

For the Battle of Maldon Quote (which I really like, and I plan to buy one), I humbly suggest not using any imagery from the American flag. What I would really like is just a flat deep red shirt with the words in white, in a nice classic font like Plantagenet Novus. Here's my crazy idea for an image to go with it though: get that photograph of the guy standing in front of the tank at Tianenman Square, and arrange the text into two lines, top and bottom.

#62 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2004, 07:19 PM:

Would this make an okay T-shirt?

[from, today]:

Re:Saw this earlier (Score:5, Informative)
by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 08, @03:28PM (#10758404)
The best way to flag fraud is to note when the exit polls are substantially out of line with actual returns, and particularly if they are out of line in a systematic (and unpredicted) way.

You mean like these?

Bush had 4% over the exit polls
Probability: 1 out of 223 elections

Bush had 5% over the exit polls
Probability: 1 out of 1838 elections

Bush had 4% over the exit polls
Probability: 1 out of 223 elections

Bush had 7% over the exit polls
Probability: 1 out of 500,000 elections

Bush had 7% over the exit polls
Probability: 1 out of 500,000 elections

New Hampshire
Bush had 15% over the exit polls
Probability: 1 out of 10^22 elections

North Carolina
Bush had 9% over the exit polls
Probability: 1 out of 500,000,000 elections

Reference [], probabilities calculated with SD=1.53 for 95% certainty level at +-3%.

This is more than cause for alarm, it's a wake-up call that the voice of the people was overwritten by fraud in this election. Contact your local media, contact your congressmen, tell your friends and family, and force people to pay attention to this.

#63 ::: Terrible ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2004, 08:14 PM:

Seems as though there's more than enough suggestions already. But just to throw it out there - how about the Battle of Bennington flag? The blue corner field has 1 star in each upper corner and the remaining 11 stars in an arc with 76 under the arc.

"I owe no allegence
I bow to no throne
My ruler is law
And the law is my own"
Revolutionary War song

#64 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2004, 08:44 PM:

What about a white shirt with on the front, in blue: LIVE FREE OR DIE; and on the back, in red: I VOTE DEMOCRAT.

Or Patrick's words on the back and a big huge American flag on the front.

#65 ::: Robert Silvey ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2004, 09:32 PM:

Here's another translation that retains some of the Old English alliteration, perhaps a bit more chantable:

Our bravery is hardier, our hearts much bolder,
Our spirits more resilient—when strength is reduced.

#66 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2004, 10:26 PM:

Any t-shirt with Patrick's quote on it, I will buy as long as it's vaguely legible. I think it needs a flag to really work, but I'll buy it, flag or no. I won't WEAR it if it's day-glo orange, and neither should any white person, but any other color I'll wear with pride.

I WANT a t-shirt with that quote on it. It's absolutely perfect. Take back patriotism!

#67 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2004, 11:57 PM:

I vote a version with AND a version without.

If I were a U.S. Citizen, I wouldn't want a version of the t-shirt *without* a flag.

As a Canadian Citizen, the message would be lost. I'd spend so much time being hassled, or having to explain the context, that it wouldn't be worth getting the t-shirt.

And that's when the person who forms their opinion speaks up. The silent opinions will be the more damaging ones, because you can't respond, but it may well colour their actions towards me.

I won't be seen as supporting democracy and freedom. I'll be seen as unpatriotic to my own country. And probably be considered a supporter of your current administration.

And this will get worse the more authoritarian the current administration gets.

Okay, my North Dakotan and Minnesotan friends would understand in one -- some of them certainly can figure out old English, and those North Dakotans I was most recently hanging out with were pretty solidly Democrats (yes, they exist). But I see them four or six times in the year. Not every day on the street, in the office, at social events.

#68 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2004, 01:11 AM:

Robert Silvey:

The alliteration is better (im my professional poet's opinion) if you edit your version slightly to read:

Our hearts are hardier, bravery bolder,
Our spirits more spry -— when strength is struck.

But I still like Tolkien's version. And I eagerly await his annotated "Beowulf" discovered a year or so ago as a previously unknown 1,000 page hansdwritten manuscript.

Meanwhile, I read the bilingual edition of Seamus Heaney's verse translation of Beowulf. Superb!

#69 ::: Robert Silvey ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2004, 02:11 PM:


Your edit does provide more alliteration, but it is less like the Old English style, which tends to have cross-alliteration, as in my suggestion and Tolkien's versions.

I certainly agree with you abour Seamus Heaney.

#70 ::: Ulrika ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2004, 05:57 PM:

I'd like to chime in with Mary Kay: I'd really like Patrick's patriot homile on some Cafe Press stuff. I guess if y'all won't do it, I'll go off and start my own. On the Old English: good sentiment, but I'd prefer it if a translation were included. Flag, eagles, illuminated capitals: sure, bring it on. More, more, I'm still not satisfied.

#71 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2004, 03:46 PM:

On the topic of incredibly awesome t-shirts, I definitely plan to pick up an "OMG, WTF Eagle" tee from the creator of the webcomic WIGU.

Given the season, probably a nice long-sleeve version...

#72 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2004, 02:32 PM:

So, any decision on any of this? Not that you aren't busy; just would like to know which idea(s) you plan to run with. If you know yet.

#73 ::: Eileen Lufkin ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2004, 04:49 PM:

I would buy both the shirt Jo suggested. I like the idea of using the prisoner's flag with Patrick's quote in the white rows.

#74 ::: Eileen Lufkin ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2004, 04:51 PM:

I mean both the shirts. (I must remember to use the preview window.)

#75 ::: Steve Gillett ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2004, 03:04 PM:

“Hige sceal þé heardra, heorte þé cénre,
mód sceal þé máre þé úre mægen lýtlað.”

(with the long vowels noted as per modern editorial scrivening). If you want it to look _really_ weird, you can use instead the flat-topped palatal “g” (yogh), which looks something like a subscripted numeral “3.” Note, by the way, that in any case all the “g”s are pronounced like “y”s. The ash (“æ”), of course, is the flat “a” as in “man,” so that “mægen” comes out something like “MAA-yen.” “Sceal” is pronounced pretty close to its MnE descendant, i.e. “shall.” "Y" itself was originally an umlaut "u", but by this point has pretty much fallen together with "i," as is shown by the spelling "hige" (vs. "hyge" in older texts.)

A translation of mine is:

Courage shall be the harder, heart the keener,
Spirit the greater as our strength wanes.

which keeps more of the nice, pithy English words that haven’t changed too much in meaning. For the 2nd line, “mood shall the more” is etymological but not exactly a ringing translation! (“mód” having undergone a bit of a semantic shift, for one thing.) “Mægen” is “main”, as in the old saying “might and main,” but that’s not an obvious meaning for the modern reader. The verb “may” is from the same root (cf. modern German “möglich” “*mayly,” i.e. possible.) “lýtlað” is the 3rd person singular of a verb from the same root as “little” (“little-eth”, i.e., “gets little,” if you will). I think using a Latinate equivalent like “diminish” instead really spoils the meter.

Course, it's still true that Beorhtnoth's hubris got him into this fix in the first place...perhaps not what the Democrats want to imply!

‘Case anyone’s interested…. (And if you still like Tolkien’s translation better, I’ll (sob!) understand :)

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