What's going on with this confederate flag at a 2004 UK music festival?
January 17, 2019 5:19 PM   Subscribe

Ok, so I was reminiscing over my youth recently and watching Franz Ferdinand concert videos. In this 2004 live performance of Take Me Out I spotted a confederate flag in the crowd--wtf?

The camera pans over the crowd about one minute in if you want to see for yourself.

A cursory Google search shows me that white supremecist groups in Europe have co-opted the flag in recent years.

So I'm looking for some context and explanation. I'm an American with a fair grasp of European politics and the scary resurgence of white nationalist movements there. Is that what's going on with that flag in this context and at this time in history? If so, would it have been typical to see a display like this at a large festival? Are their other reasons someone would give for displaying the confederate flag in the UK (including disingenous ones along the lines of notions of "southern heritage" referenced in the second link)?

posted by fozzie_bear to Society & Culture (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think it's more the same reason you see Yankees baseball caps everywhere in Europe.

Or "fashion" from Hollister. Have you been to Hollister? Or boutique shops from Carhartt's.

It's more that the original meaning has faded, rather than something more nefarious.
posted by humboldt32 at 5:39 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]

Yeah, outside of America, the confederate flag is unfortunately often shorthand for “classic rock and roll”. (In the same way that a union jack emblazoned on something is usually meant to imply “swinging sixties”, not “I support Britain’s actions during the Boer war”.)

And the deep south / trailer trash look was having a huuuuge moment in the UK at that point - almost everybody in their late teens and early twenties was wearing a trucker cap paired with an expensive t-shirt sporting the logo of some invented garage in Tennessee or similar.

So, super fucking tiresome yes, but I don’t think there was any ill-intent.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 8:08 PM on January 17 [13 favorites]

Here's an example of a flag similar to the Confederate (battle) flag used as an album cover in British pop music dating to 1994.
posted by Nerd of the North at 8:51 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]

To a certain generation in the UK that has relatively limited exposure to US history -- because it's not really taught -- dixieflag is basically Dukes of Hazzard. To that generation's kids (who'd be the ones referenced by chappell, ambrose) there was definitely a "dress like a redneck" thing going on at that time, though it wasn't really tied to dixieflag shit. (I was sending thrift store finds like old mechanic jackets and working-wear-store stuff to people at the time because they were paying £100 in designer boutiques for $30 Dickies gear.)

I wince when I see dixieflag shit in the UK, but I get more twitchy when I see skinheads waving the St George's Cross outside of the World Cup.
posted by holgate at 9:22 PM on January 17 [6 favorites]

Came to say what holgate said about the Dukes of Hazzard, and that the connotations that are familiar in America are much less known in the rest of the world.

I'm kinda woke, I guess, but in the UK, and it's probably only in the past 2 or 3 years I've been aware that the flag had any particular political charge. For most people, and certainly until recently, it's just been in the pantheon of 'vaguely American looking stuff that might get added to fashion items', the same way that Japanese teenagers might wear clothes covered in English that doesn't actually make any sense - a symbol shorn of most of the complexity of meaning that was attached to it in its country of origin.
posted by penguin pie at 4:40 AM on January 18 [2 favorites]

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