By Jay Hansen
So, The Young Turks decided to have a sigil contest for their participating TYT meet up cities. As bannerman to Oklahoma City, it was my obligation to make sure we got one, even if I had to make it myself. Now, I’m no graphic artist, and honestly don’t have diddly squat in the way of graphic programs, but I wasn’t about to let that stop me. So, using exclusively high-quality images I found online, and my own pixel-by-pixel handy work, I managed to create this. I may do a little more touch-up work on the sigil before the deadline this Saturday, but I wanted to get something uploaded just in case I don’t get around to it.
… For a novice.
The sigil had to be something simple; something you could possibly doodle on a napkin at a restaurant. That’s how I started out thinking about it. What I meant by that was it couldn’t be some massive work of art with army hordes or spaceships or sharks with freaking laser beams on their heads (though for a short time I did consider the use of Epicus Maximus). It had to be symbolic, so that’s what I went for.
The first thing most of my page viewers will probably notice is the use of the Oklahoma state flag. I wanted something that was uniquely Oklahoman, and honestly that was the only thing I could think of aside from global warming deniers and wind (which, if you didn’t know, is really hard to draw). I took out a lot of the widgets and woggles on our flag – I never really realized how many it had – to make it a little more simple and unique. I took off the word “Oklahoma,” the feathers, and the crosses. I even considered removing the Native American war shield, but ultimately felt it was a nice backdrop, especially when considering how long it would have taken to remove. I also thought about changing the background to black, but that would have made the lettering very difficult. Plus, the blue background was noticeably Oklahoman, and went on to provide further symbolic meaning.
I also kept the olive branch and peace pipe, also referred to as a calumet, as they are symbols of peace from the western, European world and Native American world, respectively. For those of you unfamiliar with Oklahoma history, that was what Oklahoma becoming a state symbolized for many people; the merging of European and Native cultures. That’s why both symbols ultimately ended up on the flag. Though I must admit, it’s an extremely ironic sentiment, given that not long after the cultures “merged” the European majority outlawed marijuana and with it, effectively, the Native American symbol of peace… and really, isn’t that representational of all European American and Native American history?
Bet you didn’t know Oklahoma’s flag basically had an ancient bong on it. Yes, we were so proud of that heritage that we put it on our flag and will imprison the hell out of you for using it.
Anyway, that’s where I started getting creative. Placed over the branch and pipe is a strong, blue shield emblazoned with the TYT logo. The blue shield represents progressivism, human reason, and the other ideals of the TYT army. The shield specifically is protecting the peace symbolized by the branch and pipe by way of reason and progressivism; it’s along these same lines I didn’t include a weapon. We’re not looking to start fights, merely protect what’s right and good in our homes and communities – as a wise warrior should – from the endless assault of ignorance, corruption, and extreme right-wing ideology, from which we’re always under attack (symbolically speaking, of course) here in Oklahoma, one of the reddest states in America.
Which brings me to the next symbols; the arrows and fire. The red arrows are being fired into the blue shield, representing the constant attacks progressives must endure daily from Republicans in this part of the country. Also notice the side of the shield in which the arrows are lodged; from the shield’s perspective, it is being attacked from the right. The fire, which is dominantly reddish in nature, represents how much of the state right-wing extremism has consumed, and even destroyed. It’s completely surrounding the shield of progressivism and the peace it’s so desperately trying to protect, all while being directly assaulted by the same place that started the fires; the political right and the Republican Party. That only left the final part of the sigil; the text.
TYT in OKC, the name of our group, and the old Young Turk axiom, hold until relieved.
Now do you see what I mean? Boss. If “hold until relieved” applies to anyone, it’s to us TYT fans in heavily Republican cities and states. Oklahoma City fits that bill perfectly, and yet we’re still hanging in the top 10 on the leader board with cities like Detroit, Seattle, and Portland.
Don’t forget that Oklahoma is the home of both Elizabeth Warren and Chelsea Manning. We don’t produce a lot of progressives, but those that we do only go on to become the greatest progressive heroes in the country, just like our TYT group. We aren’t many, but we’re mighty.
Oklahoma may not be number one in education, intelligence, health, well being, happiness, progressives policies, human reasoning skills, or TYT fans, but until the day we are, hold until relieved.
(Now I just hope I didn’t mess up the technical specifications!)