Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Yellow Peril (and Red, and Blue, and Green...)

Once upon a time, long, long ago, a singing trio called Tony Orlando and Dawn sang a song. The song was titled Tie a Yellow Ribbon, and it was about a man recently released from prison who was pining for his girlfriend, and concerned that she no longer wanted him. It was a singable, albeit rather soppy, ballad. During the Iranian Hostage Crisis (1979-1981), many Americans hung yellow ribbons in hopes that the hostages would be released soon.

But, starting with the 1991 Gulf War, we've seen the color yellow used to denote our hope that the troops would come home safely. I had a problem with that then, and I still do, thank you, for one simple reason.

Color symbology.

Yellow usually stands for two general things - cowardice, and quarantine. I, for one, will never believe that our troops are cowards, so I refuse to consider the use of yellow to symbolize our armed forces. Nor do I believe they should be quarantined.

Now we start seeing colored plastic bracelets, which may have started with Lance Armstrong and his fight against testicular cancer. I have to admire Armstrong for his perseverance, but I'm not going to wear a yellow band on my wrist.

And it's getting worse - pink for breast cancer, blue for pacifism, etc. Why is it necessary to wear all kinds of colors just to tell other people what you think or feel about a certain issue?

If I was going to wear a plastic armband, I'd wear a brown one. It would stand for "Eat Shit and Die."


Blogger PeterofLoneTree said...

Jayzus, Wanderer,
I was reminded of the tattooing of the Jews by the Nazis in WW II.

3:34 PM EDT  
Blogger Walt said...


Indeed. Another nasty little bit of labeling fun. I recall somebody actually advocating requiring Muslims to wear distinctive insignia or clothing.

4:31 PM EDT  

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