At a moment when a certain flag popular in the southern United States is being met with exactly the sort of pushback it deserves, another flag closer to the hearts and minds of San Franciscans is being greeted by some criticism of its own. Sure, this time the complaint is aesthetic, rather than political, but that doesn't mean it's not worth hearing out.
The flag we fly over the Bay today was officially adopted by the City of San Francisco in 1940. It prominently features a phoenix as a symbol of the metropoles' rise from the ashes of the 1906 earthquake and fires. That's a good start, but it's a really ugly bird, and as many have pointed out, ours isn't the only city to emerge reborn from disaster. Plus, we're not Phoenix Arizona. Though the text of the flag does feature the unequivocally bad-ass slogan "Oro en Paz—Fierro en Guerra" ("Gold in Peace, Iron in War"), the design's got little else to commend it.
Enter one brave podcaster, Oakland's Roman Mars of 99% Invisible, who is wielding his power as a design critic to improve our flag and with it our sense of self. In case you hadn't noticed, podcasts are cool now: As Wired reports, they might even be saving National Public Radio. So, with a rapt audience all ears, Mars is daring us to rethink our city flag.
With the launch of a new website, covered here by Wired, Mars wants us to capture “inclusiveness and change [that] have been big points of pride for the city." Maybe Pride Week is getting to me, but could we get a rainbow on this thing?
Anyway, if you feel strongly that a better flag is what San Francisco deserves — nay, demands — go to the website and sign the petition.