It's Just Like Saying the N***** Word

The flag of those who supported the dissolution of the Union.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

OK, I'm reusing the gag, but I can't help it; see this post from WILX (Maureen Holliday):

Bed and breakfast Nordic Pineapple in Saint Johns has removed their Norwegian flag after dozens of people confuse[d] it for the Confederate flag.

Greg and Kjersten Offbecker moved into the historic mansion two years ago and turned it into a bed and breakfast. As decoration, they hung a Norwegian flag next to the American flag at the front entrance of the inn, but dozens of guests and people driving by have accused the couple of flying a Confederate flag.

"They are the same color, but there are no stars on the Norwegian flag, and the Confederate flag is a big 'x' and the Norwegian flag is part of the Nordic countries, they're all crosses," Offbecker said.

Last week, the couple decided to remove the flag as they were updating their marketing materials….

Thanks to Iain Murray at InstaPundit for the pointer.

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  1. This is the inevitable result when the nation’s supply of authentic racism is inadequate to meet the Woke folks’ demand signal; they are forced to manufacture their own.

    1. Well, witches were found to be burnt too so there may be a core worldview problem at work.

      1. Witches were NOT burnt in Massachusetts. Get your facts straight.

        1. Witches were burnt in Europe, in large numbers.

        2. I’ve read the JSinAZ’s comment many times, from many different angles.
          Unfortunately, for some reason I appear to be completely incapable of finding the word Massachusetts in his statement, nor an indicator limiting his statement to Massachusetts.
          Please help me out and explain where you see Massachusetts.

    2. Correct. But moreover, the reason they are attacking Southern heritage specifically is because it is the centerpiece of American conservatism, and is the residual legacy of the decentralized system of government that the Founders had created, which has now been fundamentally transformed into something even unrecognizable. Even Hamilton would recoil in horror.

      1. The confederacy is not “Southern heritage.” It was an eyeblink in time. The show Hannah Montana lasted as long as the confederacy. Mark Fidrych’s career was longer than the confederacy’s. Black Lives Matters as a movement has existed longer than the confederacy. The MCU has existed three times as long as the confederacy.

        1. The Confederate symbol is a symbol of Southern heritage. That’s how it’s been understood for a long time. As for the Confederacy itself, it was a pivotal moment in American history when the government of the Founders was fundamentally transformed into something different, through the insatiable imperialism and bloodlust of the white supremacist Abraham Lincoln.

          China today invokes Abraham Lincoln as justification for its actions toward Taiwan. This tells you the real meaning of the Confederacy and the War Between the States.

    3. Dude, c’mon. I mean, Norwegians are white. Like, really white. So, clearly the racism of their flag is obvious in the way it even slightly resembles the Confederate flag.

  2. This reminds me of the Amherst (MA) activist who mistook the Puerto Rican flag for the Texas flag.

    First, Amherst usually flies the UN Flag (not the US) on the Town Common, but was celebrating some sort of Puerto Rican festival by instead flying the Puerto Rican flag, which, like the Cuban flag, is pendant shaped. Quite distinctive.

    Amherst Leftie observes it flying there, mistakes it for the Texas flag (which is rectangular). She believes it there to honor then-President GW Bush, which she can not tolerate, and pulls it down. And then calls the Amherst Police, who offer to “dispose of it” for her, but she says she can do that herself.

    The Puerto Rican Festival folk then notice the empty flagpole and call the Amherst police, reporting their flag stolen — presumably by evil right wing racists. This is duly reported in the weekly newspaper’s police calls column.

    Trendy Leftie then realizes her mistake and admits to it.

    All is forgiven because while she did make a (rather stupid) mistake and took something that wasn’t hers, she would have had a legitimate right to steal it because George Bush was evil.

    I am not making this up….

    1. My bad — the PR flag (the converse of the Cuban one) is actually rectangular, it just has a triangular left that gives it the illusion of being pendant-shaped unless pinned out flat.

      It still is completely different than the Texas flag.

      I could someone confusing the ME, NH, & NY flags — but not TX & PR.

      1. So you’re saying you are making it up? Because that would shock all of us. Your brain is a maze from which truth can never escape.

        I doubt your imaginary “Leftie” would object to the ME, NH, or NY flags on the basis that they “honor then-President GW Bush”. More likely, you’re referencing an unsourced email that your grandmother sent you about some other imaginary leftie objecting to a Chilean flag, since that flag is commonly mistaken for Texas’s. That dooms your invented Puerto Rican Folk Festival memory, though.

        1. Your brain is a maze from which truth can never escape.

          Fortunately, there is no need, since there’s no truth in there.

        2. Surprisingly, I was able to find a copy of the Northampton Gazette’s story on this. See: http://freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1282432/posts

          I really don’t make stuff up — I don’t hane to….

          1. The story in the article is significantly different from the fabricated version you vomited up.

        1. I’ve actually seen versions in people’s homes that are pendant shaped — perhaps trimmed.

          1. The word you are seeking is “pennant” — “a triangular flag”, not “pendant” — “a dangling necklace or collar borne piece of jewelry”.

        2. Thank you, Sheldon, for a Fun With Flags educational moment.

      2. The PR flag is OFTEN confused with the Texas flag, and in both directions.
        I’ve had debates where people look at a picture and declare people are holding the Texas flag, when every flag is a PR flag.
        People simply are not versed in recognizing flags, and any resemblance to a known flag makes them think it’s the know flag.
        Try getting your average person to differentiate between the flag of Texas and Chile.

    2. I still get the Texan and Chilean flag mixed up myself.

    3. I am not making this up….

      Yes, you are.

  3. The Norwegian flag is just another sickening terrifying display of White Supremacy.

    (Because I say so).

    1. Not just you — Remember the Swedish Bikini Team?
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-c2NEFPqTwY

      BTW, that is a Lobster TRAP and not a crate, and it would never break like that because those bows were singular pieces of oak (years past they were steamed spruce boughs). Nor would the Lobsters have remained alive after an impact like that, but I digress.

    2. As a Rabbi, I find the Christian connotations of the Nordic flags to be bigoted and uninclusive. Norwegians must accept diversity if they want to survive in the modern world.

      1. LOL

        unfortunately, those Scandy places are more likely to go with green crecents than 6 sided blue stars in the future

    3. “The flag of those who supported the dissolution of the Union.”

      I confess to being slow … EV has cast the bait twice now without my noticing – bravo, sir.

      Because, of course, what do Norway and the Confederacy have in common? That they tried to withdraw from their respective Unions – except that Norway’s bid was successful (and peaceful).

      tl;dr – Norway, Sweden, and Denmark have at times been amalgamated in various combinations. Most recently, at the end of the Napoleonic wars Norway was forced to join in a union with Sweden. I think the Norwegian version of that is that the Swedes treated them as an underclass. In the early 1900’s the union was dissolved. Well played!

      1. Oooops … not intended to be top level comment, not a reply.

  4. I can actually see how you’d be temporarily confused. After all, the flag isn’t flying in a force 10 storm all the time. Mostly it would fold a lot. And when it does, I can see how it would be unclear whether the cross is “straight” or “diagonal”. (I don’t know how else to explain that.)

    Of course, if you then look at it a second time it would be clear that it’s the Norwegian flag, but I can see how this isn’t completely about wokeness gone mad.

    1. Bullbleep. The Norwegian cross is off-center and has no stars in it.

      Of course, when there is no wind, it’s damn difficult to distinguish flags anyway. Union Station in DC has (had?) all 50 states on display out in front, and on still days, it was difficult to identify most.

      But there are a lot of flags with red backgrounds.
      Both the Soviet and PRC flags come to mind.

      1. And this is Michigan, where there are lots of Norwegians and not so many Confederates. Throw in their (likely) accents and most people with an IQ above 12 ought to be able to figure out it was a foreign flag.

        It’s like the Mexican and Italian flags, which *are* the same color pattern, if you ovrerlook the seal the Mexicans include. Now if it is an Italian restaurant, it probably is the Italian one, and the Mexican one outside the Mexican restaurant. Logic…

        1. As interesting note on vexillology and the law. Since the Nazi war flag is banned in most of Europe, many neo-Nazi sympathizers have begun to use the Confederate battle flag as a stand in for the old Nazi war flag to publicly display their views. With society clamping down on public displays of the Confederate battle flag, is it possible that another flag, perhaps the Norwegian flag, could become a suitable stand in for neo-Confederates? My point being that any attempt to ban or censor symbols becomes useless as other symbols are adopted to represent the previous ideological viewpoints.

          1. My point being that any attempt to ban or censor symbols becomes useless as other symbols are adopted to represent the previous ideological viewpoints.

            A euphemism halyard, if you will.

    2. Isn’t what you said proof that it is wokeness gone mad?

      This is a bed-and-breakfast in the middle of Michigan. I would guess the number of Confederate flags flown in the area borders on zero. Certainly, the number of Confederate flags proudly flown outside of businesses (that want to stay open) in the area is zero. The hotel is called the Nordic Pineapple, hence the Norwegian flag.

      It seems complaints were lodged by people in spite of all these context clues telling them that their instinct–to find racism even where it is not–was incorrect. Rather than doing a quick Google image search to dispel their initial reactions, they made complaints (presumably to the hotel itself).

      That seems to me to be pretty strong evidence of unbridled wokeness.

      1. “I would guess the number of Confederate flags flown in the area borders on zero.”

        I grew up in central Michigan, not far from Port Huron. You’d be wrong.

        Mind, I doubt anybody actually thought of it as a symbol of white supremacy. Just of generic “rebellion”.

    3. I think the problem isn’t that someone is temporarily confused. It’s that some people are temporarily confused, but instead of saying, “Huh, doesn’t that look like it might be a Confederate flag? Let me look into it,” they just assume the worst (and act on their assumptions).

      1. Like I said, the Trendy Leftie’s *first* impulse was to untie the lanyard and bring it down from a 50′ municipal-grade flagpole.

        Not even wait for the officer to arrive…

      2. “…they just assume the worst (and act on their assumptions).”

        “the worst” being that the people are racist, and presumably threatening black people, instead of just proud to be from Norway. Or proud to be from the South.

        The left has become very intolerant on this issue.

          1. The presumed commission of thought crimes, of course.

          2. The issue of displaying this flag, which has long been a symbol of Southern pride and heritage.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrVgkUKVB2I

      3. What did you expect? People think they are correct AND doing the morally justified thing by opposing racism, sexism, etc. Why take a second to understand another person’s reasoning when YOU are justified and right?

    4. But that is the point, only someone who was infected with wokeness gone mad would not look a second time before they made idiotically uninformed declarations that embarrassed themselves.

  5. They have only themselves to blame for accommodating stupidity rather than educating it away.

    1. Try reasoning with screaming Karen or Tyrone and you’ll understand their actions.

  6. Where’s kirkland w/ his abuse & obtuse comments about the superiority of left-leaning education? If 1 cannot distinguish between the flag of the apparently much-reviled & oh so topical US Confederate states & Norway, seems like the education is pretty mediocre.

    1. Well, to be fair, the people complaining are only a tiny fraction of those who have gotten a left-leaning education; I don’t think their complaints say much about the quality of the educational system generally.

      1. No, Prof. Volokh, there’s a bigger issue.

        I was covering a class for someone, as graduate students often do, and it was a current events honors seminar, and this was just after the Northern Illinois shooting. Well, one young lady stated that she didn’t think that anyone should be able to own a gun.

        My response was one word: “Why?”

        “You don’t understand”, she responded, “I’m opposed to guns.”

        “I know”, I responded, “but *why* are you opposed to guns?”

        Total deer in the headlights look for about a minute, and then she said “well, guns are yucky.”

        Now I am not going to publicly humiliate a student so I affirmed her answer and went on, but one of her most passionate beliefs and she can’t think of a single reason in support of it?!?
        I’m a gun rights supporter and can think of several different reasons in support of her argument — which I can then refute, but I at least know what they are. She didn’t.

        They’ve been told what to think, not how to. That’s scary.

        1. Can you at least pretend that these are believable anecdotes? “guns are yucky”? Who do you think actually believes this shit?

          1. It actually happened.

            If you don’t want to believe me, whatever.

        2. Sweet Jesus, you’re persistently awful at this.

        3. Sarcastr0, don’t scare the fish. This guy is comedy Gold!

        4. To those three people above me…while I’m not a big Ed defender, it’s a believable story. If you ask most people “why?” in just a half assed Socratic method type of way why they think they way they do, especially about topics they feel strongly about, their rational mind goes out the window. I’ve seen it with conservatives and liberals. Hell, I’ve seen it on this blog, and I’ve been in Ed’s shoes in the classroom.

          1. Mad,
            Maybe. But I dunno. When I hear a right-wing extremist say, “Because abortion is yucky.” then maybe I’ll believe it.

            But Ed’s history of coming up with these, um, unusual anecdotes that happen to fit neatly into his narrative is long-standing. He’s a relatively new poster here. But he got a reputation here about as quickly as I’ve seen for any non-Conspirator in the 18+ years I’ve been around, which is sort of impressive in its own right.

            1. I can’t really disagree with either of those paragraphs, except to say that I’ve heard the intellectual equivalent of “it’s yucky” to opposition to gay marriage.

              1. Intellectual equivalent, sure – we all have things we support due to some revulsion or attraction that would take a while to unpack.

                What stands out is the vocabulary. ‘Yucky’ is a word choice infantilizes the speaker. Common among strawmen; uncommon in real life.

                I’m all for storytellers license, but that does not play in this forum.

                1. *I* was surprised to hear the word “yucky” which is why I remember this.

                2. It’s uncommon in real life for young people, particularly those vocal, cancel-culture types on college campuses, to use an infantile word like “yucky”? Have you heard young people talk nowadays? Do you even try to think before you reply?

                  Even assuming that Ed was using artistic license, if the students reply was “intellectually equivalent” to “yucky”, then what offense was committed? Infantilizing someone whose “argument” was entirely devoid of any intellectual maturity? That would seem to be an appropriate characterization of such “arguments”. Like most of your replies of late.

      2. Please Eugene. If a single white person is a shanda fur die schwartz Goyim, you will see it on the nightly news. If a schwartz Goy kicks the kippah off a Jew’s head in Brooklyn, you’ll never hear about it because the media only promotes their narrative. Oh, and forget about having a conversation about race and crime statistics. If you attempt that sort of discussion, you’ll find yourself unemployed.

      3. The problem is that it’s a small fraction, where it should be a vanishingly small fraction, and the small fraction have gotten used to people who disagree with them being intimidated into silence, and being allowed to use violence to see to it that happens.

        Then they move out into larger society, where the population haven’t yet been cowed into silence, and they’re utterly outraged that anybody is allowed to voice opposing views.

        So, yes, a small fraction. Maybe comparable to the fraction of the population in Northern Ireland needed to keep the “Troubles” going. If that’s comforting.

    2. Reason- and science-based education is superior but not perfect.

      The described confusion (or ignorance) is unfortunate, but less regrettable than that which inclines police stops and shootings involving innocents.

    3. The ability to distinguish an X from a + is a clear indicator of white supremacy.

  7. Is this the explanation for why Christian Heg’s statue in Madison, Wisconsin was desecrated by “peaceful” protestors?

  8. Sweden and Finland would be less volatile choices, they do use the Nordic cross in their flags but don’t have a red field.
    If that still triggers ignorant Americans the last resort is Greenland, their flag is cross-free.

    1. Don’t the American flag now fly over Greenland. I seem to recall about a year ago that the US was going to buy Greenland and I would have thought escrow would have closed by now.

  9. They should replace it with the actual flag of the confederacy. Of course then the same morons would complain about it being the Betsy Ross flag, which Kaepernick and Nike lectured us recently is also racist because……ummm…..reasons.

    I actually knew a lawyer in L.A. who kept in his office a framed flag of the confederacy. He had zero ties to the south, he just enjoyed history and in particular legal issues of secession and the post war reconstruction. He always said nobody ever recognized it but it would often be a conversation starter. But this was also in a time when people would be willing to have conversations and not jump to judgmental conclusions and seek offense in every corner of their lives, though it wasnt that long ago.

    1. Which of the several Confederate flags was it? The second and third flags had the familiar battle flag in one corner. There were several versions of the Sars and Bars.

      1. I assume it was the Battle Flag

      2. The Second flag: the “Stainless Banner” (1863–1865)

        It was followed by the Bloodstained Banner.

        If one will consider the contemporary iconology, the hermeneutics of the flags of the CSA, one may see that culture, lifestyle and faith were embodied in the flags.

        Racism has been broad brushed.

  10. What do you do when there isn’t enough outrage to keep the mob busy? Make some up!

  11. Are woke folk insane, or just mentally challenged? That is the question

    1. So you’ll not need any reclamation of time, the answer is yes.

    2. None of that; they are just annoying.

      The same as people on this blog who can’t stop bringing everything back around to ‘the Russia hoax!’ or blaming illegals on every woe. Or those who think every scarf is a sign of Islamic subservience.

      This kind of stuff is dumb, but not universal on the left. Both sides have cottage industries pointing out the ridiculous nuts on the other.

  12. Here on Washington Island, Wisconsin, we fly all of the Nordic countries’ Nordic Cross or Scandinavian Cross Flags with the American Flag. I am occasionally challenged to associate each flag with their country, and a bit of reflection of their histories will help with the colors and patterns.

    I will leave the history of Scandinavia and the associations of the flags as an exercise for the student of history.

  13. If that looks like the (best known) Confederate flag to some people, wait until they see the Russian Naval Jack.

  14. Wait a minute. n-word is a euphemism for Norwegian isn’t it? What else could it refer to?

  15. The innkeepers could have shown the two flags on line or in a newspaper ad, said, “It’s the Norwegian flag and we’re keeping it,” and probably lost no business at all. They would probably have gotten sympathetic local media coverage. If anything, they might have gotten more business because of the kerfuffle.
    The innkeepers themselves seem to have thought differently, and I have no interest in calling them stupid or cowardly. But it was their call, not something imposed on them.

  16. I’m waiting for the ‘white nationalists’ and the neo-confederates to start flying the Bonnie Blue in place of the Southern Cross. And I wonder how long it would be before the wokesters caught on.

    1. European Union flag. Europe is where the white people come from, and the flag has all those nice white stars on it… I bet they’re going to go with that one next.

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