April 4, 2008

The peace sign turns 50 today.

It was designed in 1958 for use at a ban-the-bomb rally by Gerald Holtom, who said: "I drew myself . . . a man in despair . . . put a circle around it to represent the world." It's been used by lots of different causes over the years, and whatever you think of those causes, you have to admit that it's a great logo.

Though I was in high school and college during the Vietnam era, I never wore a peace sign. In fact, as far as I remember, everyone I knew thought it was dumb and embarrassing to wear a peace sign — like the way a hippie would be depicted on TV.

28 comments:

Middle Class Guy said...

I actually see more of them today than I did during the Viet Nam era. The only time I saw them in numbers at college was at anti war rallies or marches.

Thanks for the info. I never knew who created it.

Ruth Anne Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rhhardin said...

The lenghths are all wrong for a chicken footprint.

Ron said...

and here it is, the 40th anniversary of the MLK assassination...a double scoop of irony there.

George said...

I wore one on a jacket in middle school and a green one, too, that symbolized the ecology.

(O! Mercy, mercy me, where did all the blue skies go, things ain't what they used to be.)

I had no idea what it meant.

The same is true today: My kids all think Sen. Obama is the cat's pajamas. He has a cool name, they say, and that's all they know.

AllenS said...

A cruel neutrality sign would look like this:

A circle, with a horizontal line through it, taken with the fish eye lens.

Bob said...

These days the clueless new generation of leftists often draw it incorrectly, so it looks as if they are advertising for Mercedes-Benz.

dix said...

I was told once it came from the semaphore flag signals for N and D. The circle would signify Total and the N and D Nuclear Disarmament. Sounded good at the time (the semaphore thing, not the disarmament)

Fen said...

Dix is correct.

But I love it when then Moonbats accidentily invert the symbol on their placards and support Mercedes. :)

Susan said...

Tim Blair
has an ongoing series of blog entries on those who confuse the peace
sign with the Mercedes-Benz symbol.

As for using it commercially, I have an herb farm and made a little sign for my patchouli with peace signs and a tie-dyed border that says "Hey, Baby Boomers, tell me this doesn't smell like a 60's head shop. It's far out!" Never fails to get a laugh.

ricpic said...

This is the dawning of the age of nefarious...nefarious.

Middle Class Guy said...

ricpic said...
This is the dawning of the age of nefarious...nefarious.

Thanks for the morning laugh!

LutherM said...

In the late '50s, some of us called it a B52 Button - and regarded those wearing it as predominately nice but incredibly naive people. It wasn't until I had been Honorably Discharged from the Army, watched too many newscasts of our side "winning" in South Viet Nam, listened to Lyndon Johnson lie too often, that I signed up to work in the Robert Kennedy campaign for the Presidency. The B52 buttons were more prevalent in those working for Gene McCarthy, but we were after the same result - "get us the hell out of there".

dbp said...

I always liked this kind of peace sign rendition.

vet66 said...

dbp:

Spot on! In addition I would add the view through an American sniper rifle reticle sending another jihadist traveller to Allah's elysian fields.

former law student said...

Though I was in high school and college during the Vietnam era, I never wore a peace sign.

Take note that Ann did not identify with her draft-eligible-gendered friends. We masculinists call that "female privilege." What would Bill Friedan* have thought?

*Author of The Masculine Mystaque

Tibore said...

"In fact, as far as I remember, everyone I knew thought it was dumb and embarrassing to wear a peace sign..."

It still is today. Only poseur artists and hippie wannabes wear it nowadays.

shadow said...

Back then Lennon occasionally wore one. He was cool.

John Foust said...

What's so funny 'bout peace, love and understanding?

Ger said...

I bought my first (and only) peace sign medallion in 1967 in a Navy Exchange at NAS Atsugi in Japan. I was in middle school. I would wear it with my Nehru jacket.

Boy was I cool!!!

Walter said...

I've bought my "Peace though superior firepower" stuff from these guys

Ann Althouse said...

"Take note that Ann did not identify with her draft-eligible-gendered friends. We masculinists call that "female privilege.""

How do you get that out of what I wrote? I'm telling you that people did not wear peace signs in real life. It was considered stupid. We were all anti-war.

blake said...

The blog is still crashing Firefox and Opera when I go to comments.

That's not groovy, man.

Also, dbp's link is to a train? I missed the peace sign there....

rhhardin said...

Firefox started crashing with the latest update, 2.0.0.13 I guess.

One error report said the problem was the flash player and there's no fix known.

I imagine that something in the new Firefox is incompatible with the old flash player, and sometimes that shows up as a crash. Other times there's no obvious bad effect.

Just a guess. I've had a few Firefox crashes in random places since the update.

blake said...

I'd heard (and believed) the same thing. Doesn't explain why Opera's crashing. AFAIK they don't share the same plug-in code.

Ann Althouse said...

I think the problem is the redlasso video. I took it down. Let me know if it's working better now.

blake said...

So far it's working.

M. Simon said...

My favorite version was the one with a B-52 with the words "drop it".

I was wearing that in '62 or '63 at UChicago as were a lot of my friends.

BTW Netscape has a better "bad cookie" filter. Sadly it is no longer supported although it is still available.