It takes more than an Old Line to draw the Lone Star.

I’ve fixated on flags more than a few times over the years, and I’ve honed in on the Maryland flag a disproportionate amount—perhaps more than it deserves. No offense intended to Marylanders, but the fact is it’s easy to spot the Maryland flag because 1) it’s a good flag and 2) people wear or display it considerably more than many other state flags. And though one of these two justifications is a mere opinion and the other a compelling, empirically supported fact, they fit like a yin to a yang. Regardless, though, it’s not as easy for me to come up with an explanation for what I encountered on a beach in Delaware:t-shirt with Maryland flag (again) using Texas shape (again)

Hopefully the remaining beachfront provocations don’t distract too much from our gentleman’s t-shirt: yup, the Maryland flag again. But it’s obviously not a conventional rectangular flag-shape. Why is it carved in the shape of Texas? I’ll never know for certain, but, judging from the text below, which says “One Family”, I’d guess that it’s a Texas-Maryland marriage or partnership. At any rate, it’s a symbolic hybrid: one of the best-known state flags paired with one of the best-known state boundaries. Let’s face it: the outline of Texas isn’t just famous because its natives foist it around a lot—of course they they do—but it offers the right combination of simplicity and distinctiveness to make it far easier to recall than, say, the shape of Georgia or Illinois. It may actually make a stronger case for Texas-ness than the flag of Texas, which, though also a good flag by vexillological metrics, can get confused with the national flag of Chile, or—to a lesser extent—the flags of Puerto Rico or Cuba. But nobody mistakes the shape of Texas for anything.

Truth be told, this man’s t-shirt may have been almost as effective if it had featured the Texas starred flag carved into the shape of Maryland, an equally distinctive—or downright strange—boundary outline. But Maryland is so bizarre, with its Chesapeake schism and the western panhandle that’s so narrow that it looks almost non-contiguous, it may have been difficult to convey the Texas flag clearly under such constraints. But, based on this t-shirt’s logic, if we had simply seen the Maryland in its conventional rectangular shape, the message might have been that he’s from Maryland while is wife is from Colorado. Or Wyoming.

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7 thoughts on “It takes more than an Old Line to draw the Lone Star.

  1. Joselin L

    My first thought is that Maryland supports Texas in their recovery. Sort of like there is a connection? But this is definitely an opinion from my bias of working in disasters. Enjoyable and thought provoking read!

    Reply
    1. AmericanDirt

      You might be onto something… except that this photo is old and might be before Harvey (I can’t remember). But it otherwise seems like a logical approach. Now that you mention it, I feel like I saw something similar with another state’s flag grafted onto Louisiana outline at one point.

      Reply
  2. Brian M

    Speaking of…odd flag imagery. Use Google Streetview and visit Cusco, the ancient capitol of the Incas/Spanish conquest of Peru. RAINBOW FLAGS everywhere. Really strange to a Bay Area resident who has a different understanding of the Rainbow Flag. 🙂

    In Peru, it is all about the sun/rainbows, not Gay Pride, of course. But still odd to see!

    Reply
    1. AmericanDirt

      I wasn’t aware of this, Brian, so you prompted me to do some cursory research. I guess the “wiphala” is the flag of Cusco, and it represents the Inca Empire. Unlike the LGBTQ flag, though, it has seven bands instead of six. But that’s probably not an easy distinction to make when it’s fluttering.

      Since it could be easily confused, it makes one wonder what Cusco flies if they have a Pride Parade. Pink white and blue? The Union Jack? Gadsden flag? A skull and crossbones?

      Reply
      1. Brian M

        I somehow doubt that Cusco has ever even considered a Pride event! 🙂

        But, as a tourist center I am sure there are LGBTQ friendly businesses?

        Reply
  3. Brian M

    What a beautiful city Cusco is.

    What is…interesting…about Peru in general is how immaculate and beautifully maintained the civic spaces are. It’s a cultural thing. The nicer suburbs of Lima (Miraflores, San Ysidro) approach nicer American suburbs like Bethesda or Walnut Creek.

    Peru is a poorer country than Brazil, yet in Brazil the main squares are in shambles when compared to Peru.

    Reply
    1. AmericanDirt

      I’ve never been to Peru, but, judging from the images I saw of Cusco based on your recommendations, I’d say you’re correct. (Having been to Brazil, you’re largely right on that one too.)

      Reply

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