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united we stand...

i decided to walk around downtown Portland yesterday afternoon with a few doctored US flag mini-posters that carried on them the inspirational (threatening?) caption "United We Stand" and just to unscientifically gauge the reaction of those around me...
i got the roughly 8'x11'-inch poster from a downtown Kinko's-like establishment. i saw the plentiful stacks of them sitting in the window and i decided to run an experiment. the US national flag motif was underscored by the phrase "United We Stand."

i asked the clerk lady really nicely if i could have a few and she gladly offered them over (yay, free american flags--now if i could find an affordable place to reside or if the govt would let me build w/o all the costs).

i then procured some white out from a print shop and proceeded to transmute the phrase United We Stand to 'United We S i n'.

after this, i just stalked the downtown in a slow, methodical fashion while holding the poster so that the flag wash upside down--this is an international symbol of 'distress' as i'm sure more than a few joes and jane q. publics were aware of.

i noted the looks/reactions that my sign garnered (apparently--i am assuming here that people either saw the motif directly or peripherally). some "scanned" their way out of 'confrontation' (having to acknowledge me as the flag-holder) by turning their heads ever so slightly; others gave me and my flag--more so the flag--a "low and hard" glare, though not one that necessarily revealed any consternation. i received the two aforementioned reactions a great majority of the time.

i was stopped twice by persons who informed me that my flag was upside down (basically, i felt the upside down flag made a stronger statement than the somewhat non-secular slogan "United We Sin"). i got to explaining to one of those who stopped me what i was doing and why i was doing it: that basically, the concepts that the flag stands for--freedom of expression, even if it is just a thought--aren't fully understood by a large number of 'americans' who seem to treat the flag as merely a gang sign. this person revealed that they were an "environmentalist" and that they had issues with the neglectful american public while rehashing the ben franklin quote about a citizenry that, if they don't guard their liberty and security, deserve neither (something like that).

United we stand, divided we fall. i feel that people misread this lifted quote. i take this to mean that, if persons unite, they stand a chance of 'surviving' but that there is no chance for survival (of the populous) if we are divided.

there is nothing more divisive than a flag, and there are so many people running so many flags in america that this statement "United We Stand" rings more hollow by the minute.

wish i could have expounded a bit more on the last issue, but...



'The NYPL also notes that "kemosabe" is an actual word in two Native American languages. In Apache, it means "white shirt." Who knows -- maybe Tonto also had to do the Ranger's laundry and was actually constantly reminding him to avoid grass stains. In Navajo, on the other hand, "kemosabe" translates as "soggy shrub." If this seems an odd thing for faithful friend Tonto to call the Lone Ranger, perhaps he was just repaying the Ranger's long-standing insult. "Tonto," after all, is a Spanish word meaning "stupid."'

address: address: Portland, OR 972xx

Right on !! 05.Jun.2002 12:30

indy reader

What a great story. Thanks for sharing it here. One-person actions can definitely be effective in raising awareness, and seeing how people feel about issues. Keep us updated on future activities!

oh, christ 05.Jun.2002 13:26


What's the story here? Guy walks around town with a sign, people look at him funny, and a little speculation on Americans viewing the flag as a gang sign?

And this is a feature story?

Indymedia's newswire has always been a mixed bag of informative and thought provoking stuff, muddled rants, and pop-off-at-the-mouth microcommentary. It probably always will be, and that's what's great about it.

But the features section ought to be different. Every time one of these non-news items gets posted here, it knocks the others down the page, in all likelyhood (I'm no IM editor, this is speculation) making it less likely for people to read and/or respond to the bumped stories.

What's the motivation here, editors?

motivations 05.Jun.2002 14:16

Jeremy David Stolen fellowtraveler@riseup.net

(I am speaking for myself here, not on behalf of the editorial team at portland indymedia)

some of us feature-uploaders have been experimenting lately (the last couple months) with making features out of just about every piece of original reporting that hits the wire. this is because the newswire is mostly re-posts and contains so little original reporting. we hope that by making features out of original reporting, more people will post it. it *feels* like it's been working, but it's probably too early to say for sure.

this is an approach used by madison indymedia, where the editors claim that it has *definitely* worked, and that they've been getting more original reporting. madison posts 2-7 new features every day. we've been averaging 2-3 a day here at portland. (a year ago, under different criteria, we were uploading 2-3 per week, tops.)

we have also copped from madison indymedia the idea of not re-writing people's text for the features, and instead just quoting it with "From the open publishing newswire:" or something like that. there have been a lot of features like that lately. (madison doesn't use quotation marks, btw -- they just put the person's text up there.) This has two advantages: 1) by not re-writing, we are sticking to the poster's original tone and intent, and are thus staying consistent with the idea of open publishing -- "be the media". that is, what gives me the right to re-write someone's story? it's *their* story !! 2) it's easier to upload features, and we can have more of them.

personally, i envision a local IMC to be like a small town newspaper -- every little thing that happens gets covered. and why not? i believe that stories like the one above are thought-provoking and inspiring and they rarely get covered anywhere else. what a local IMC can also have that very few (if any) small town newspapers have is kick-ass national and global coverage, which we also have here frequently.

i also think that in a society so filled with apathy and passivity, any bit of resistance, no matter how small, is worth celebrating.

the portland indymedia editorial process is open to anyone to become part of. most communication and decision-making is made online, through a listserve, which you can join at:  http://lists.indymedia.org/listinfo/imc-portland-editorial

This is where we announce features to be uploaded, discuss editorial policy ("should we hide this post?"), and talk about other stuff.

Editorial folks also meet at the Red and Black every Saturday at 4:00. (Division SE & 22nd)

I would personally love it if there were more folks uploading features regularly. Also, portland indymedia is a work-in-progress, and changes with its "membership" (whatever that might be -- I'm not sure. i live in Eugene.).

Thanks for weighing in on the issue. The upload-it-all policy is an experiment, and it's good to get feedback on it.

gif for feature 05.Jun.2002 18:24

photoshop girl

gif for feature
gif for feature

exactamundo "x y z"! 06.Jun.2002 19:48

The Jheri Curl Kid

this is why when i see a "good" article (not mine, i'll admit), i repost the link in my own article (uh, i'm migrating from another IMC BTW) sometimes.

i've always thought there should be a 'crud' page for nuts like myself xyz but i figure the IMCers know what they're doing. i do agree w/ you.

anywho, how much *serious* "news" do you need? you get the enviro news (good looking out), ShortWave, blah blah. there are (apparently) really well researched pieces that come across this wire. i barely research things, but i do try to exhibit some integrity when i 'report'. others in this thread have made great points though so i digress.

when i think IMC i think, there are so many people who understand how to view/read 'news' that it should be very difficult to SOC ENG such participants. i can feel the brain and heart power of this place.

...oh, i don't figure IMCers to be whiners, IMHO. (some, but there are enough positive and inspirational people--1 is all it takes--who can keep the blue meanies and the doom-sayers at bay).

you got to be kidding me 06.Jun.2002 22:37

laffing at you

no offence, but your litte art project has got to be the most unimaginative example of expression i've ever seen. why not draw a mustache on it too? don't get me wrong, i feel your frustration. no one questions "big brother" any more than i, but you lack creativity in the purest sence. the only thing worse than your school kid scribbling are the ones who think it's "right on", etc. it's not the flag's fault the country is fucked up no more than it's your mother's fault you are a 3rd rate court jester who thinks he's an artist.

oh sure, you got a reaction, but don't break your arm patting yourself on the back there, junior. my kid could do the same "masterpiece" in a few minutes with a generic paint program.

If you're going to speak from your high horse 07.Jun.2002 00:51


At least Geri-curl kid had the guts and took the time to do something himself. Your little art critique is worse than useless. What was the point of even typing those words? Anyone who decides to take individual initiative and actually DO SOMETHING should be allowed to pat themselves on the back, although GCK's tone seemed more like narrative of the experience than gratuitous horn blowing.

If you decide to assume such a condescending, arrogant posture in the future, spare us some irony and use spellcheck.

nice try chief 08.Jun.2002 00:05

laffing at you

nice try chief, but you need to get a newer insult book. the stone tablet your'e using now isn't working. oh, and this time try the adult section. they don't have any coloring pages or booster seats, but you can learn to use big words, new phrases, and the meaning of them. learn to take care of that nagging "taking everything out of context" problem that flares up from time to time.

>What was the point of even typing those words?

even? like, too bad they don't have a "jethro check" man!!
you know, kinda a like a spell check, but for imbeciles. What was the point? oh i don't know, maybe it's because it's my right? imagine that!!

btw, run a spell check?? weak, but i really don't think a simple typo qualifies as monumentous or volatile. do you? perhaps youv'e heard of the concept? it's called sarcasm.

>took the time to do something himself?

lol, hardly. you may find this hard to believe, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to block out a few stripes and add a few letters. what part of "my kid could do the same "masterpiece" in a few minutes with a generic paint program" did you not understand??? hello?? is this thing on?? perhaps you missed it there Mr. wizard, but the flag has been around for quite a while. as far as defacing the flag (i mean creating a work of art), the kid is at the end of a long line of other self proclaimed shithouse wall artists who take credit for merely modifying something that's aready been done.

sorry to disappoint you Mr. Minimum Wage GED Hopeful, but while you aimlessly and comically try to impress us with your self absorbed sophmoric garble, class president campaign smear tactics, and beating your hairless inflated chest, you fail miserably and cluelessly contradict yourself with every breath.

p.s. Sucrets are effective for sore throats due to excessive crowing. (gratuitous horn blowing)

global ecocide uber alles! 08.Jun.2002 12:58


here's a flag for the entire planet presently
global ecocide uber alles!
global ecocide uber alles!

hey me 10.Jun.2002 21:32

gomer's pile

you forgot the imc logo on your flag

laffing at you 11.Jun.2002 17:46


You're too stupid to live.