BRASHER: Hello Arkansans, this is the first piece from us, Brasher and Rowe, and we are some dudes who work in downtown Little Rock and we eat lunch and just talk about all the exciting things around here. Combined, we have all the powers of one Jennifer Christman. Today we are going to get very, very vexillary and talk about flags. Flags of Arkansas.
ROWE: Take a walk on the Big Dam Bridge and you’ll see the flags of Pulaski County and its municipalities fly. Most of them are the entity’s letterhead and name, put on a flag. Sherwood displays an archery cosplayer, arrow laser sights set on the town. Maumelle’s is three interlocking rings, probably signifying its reputation as the preferred home of swingers in Central Arkansas. Pulaski County’s is the man himself, Count Casimir Pulaski, looking very stern, like he knows EXACTLY what you’ve been up to.
Little Rock’s flag is maybe the most visually interesting of all of them (excepting the Count, God rest his immortal soul), but it’s in need of an update, a reboot — maybe something more like emoji? The folks over at littlerockflag.com want to change that and are working to gather steam for a new flag and a kick start to civic pride.
BRASHER: Maybe we should just leave the flag like it is, though, with it’s majestic lone star rising high over that doo-doo pile in the river. There’s something great about its garishness: blue, yellow, green, brown. If the University of Maryland were located here they would throw that on a football helmet in a heartbeat. Maybe UALR should get on this plan.
They also say right there on the website, “Simply put, cities with great flags use them.” I absolutely agree — so I propose, in addition to just functioning as a flag, that new flags should also have an alternate purpose. All flags should be at least 10 feet by 12 feet and made of some sort of plastic so when they aren’t eliciting city pride they can cover the wrecked Pontiac Bonneville in the yard with dignity.
ROWE: Of course, the folks at Little Rock Flag want a flag they can be proud to Instagram, so there are rules. RULES. Most of them are at the recommendation of the North American Vexillological Association, which sounds like an organization made up of people who want to tell you that you’re not enjoying things properly, and you should feel bad about it. Here’s a quick breakdown of the rules:
1. A child should be able to draw it.
2. Meaningful symbolism.
3. Use three or fewer contrasting colors.
4. NO WORDS. Seals ain’t in it either.
5. Be unique, but you can riff on flags from places you’re connected to.
BRASHER: Well, I followed the rules and I got:
1. A baby giraffe and a sun.
2. That symbolizes tall ambitions;
3. with red blue and yellow spots.
4. No words. The flag must be viewed while listening to a La Monte Young composition for maximum minimalism.
ROWE: I think those rules are cool but don’t apply to me because I identify as a Millennial American.
Here’s my flag:
I’ve shown this to some folks and they don’t understand why I’d put fraternity in there. I mean it in the way that de Tocqueville means fraternity. He said “all the citizens are independent and feeble [and] … therefore, become powerless if they do not learn voluntarily to help one another.” I think that’s what Little Rock can unite under. Cheese dip, wigs, plasma, taekwondo — these are all forms of fraternity, of brotherhood. At least when they’re practiced right. Instead, I think most people assume I’m talking about fraternity in the Kappa Sigma way, but the future Chambers of Commerce leaders of Arkansas probably don’t need a flag.
BRASHER: OK, here’s what I got.
First of all, we got the Masonic Scottish Rite Eagle with its awesome two heads always watching its own back to commemorate my man Albert Pike. Then, instead of its normal eagle wings, I gave it airplane wings as a nod to our avionics industry, more specifically the wings of a C-130 Hercules because that’s what’s flying around all the time. I know that’s kind of Jacksonville’s fault but we get to claim it too. You might notice a band-aid on the plane wing which references our town’s economic interest in chronic wound care (seriously, I had no idea that was an industry for us). In the center is a gang bandanna to let other cities know not to flex on us or our tax base because we have a gritty history, and why deny that unfortunate chapter when you can use it to your advantage? Lastly, we have a quote from the fictional character, Lt. Dan, from the award winning 1994 movie Forrest Gump. This comes up pretty quickly when you Google “Little Rock is …” I threw some blue and red in there because of water, or blood or something … I don’t know; MS paint is hard.
ROWE: I would salute that flag. I would also wear it on a shirt. I would also use it as a way to block out the miserable sun from my windows and use it as a way to hide unsightly blemishes on the walls. I think that if people want to send us their flags, they should. They can send us anything. I’m all for free content.