A couple of years ago, we were bitten by the kite-flying bug. We bought a big beautiful kite, drove to PEI, and tried to fly it. It got tangled up in trees.
The kite was coloured like a rainbow. A kid sniggered at it. “You’re flying gay colours!” Oh sorry. When I see a rainbow, I think pretty rainbow. I don’t think of gay pride.
I had a pair of favourite earrings- a five-pointed red star dangling in a white circle. I wore them at an event. A colleague reached out and touched them “You’re supporting Turkey?!”. Am I? Pardon my staggering ignorance of geopolitical symbolism. A red star and white circle can be just that.
I was shifting around words, trying to come up with a nice snappy project title. Suddenly they clicked. I began typing “The Blurred Lines of Work… I paused. Blurred Lines? Do I want that expression in my project title? My hesitation annoyed me. Now I have to censor myself? Now “Blurred Lines” belongs to the notorious fartheads Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams? Fortunately, the people reading the project proposal were over a hundred years old, and not plugged into pop culture. They nodded approvingly. I smirked inside.
I mourn the political appropriation of words, symbols and colours. I like nuance and ambiguity. Words and phrases with double-entendres and multiple meanings. But feeling that you can’t use a design, a word or an expression because it has been taken away is annoying. Nobody owns the rainbow.