Freak Flags

An ongoing series cross-posted from

The frequent employment of makeshift address labels on doorbells generally comes across as just that: a quick, easy, vaguely stable response to a specific need. The specific need is to align a given residence (or business) with a push button. The vaguely stable part is that those labels are sure to be rubbed down, ripped off, or otherwise damaged by the elements over time (humans count as elements, alongside rain, wind, and heat). The two such labels shown here are in different states of disrepair, and their non-alignment briefly brings to mind the manner in which opening credits for films starring dual leading actors use techniques to suggest neither is truly more prominent than the other: one may come first, for example, but the other is positioned higher. But what if these seemingly temporary labels are hiding their actual purpose in plain sight? What if they’re temporary precisely because the people who use them harbor some sort of fever-dream conspiracy groupthink that their street address can, in the future, be changed whenever they darn well please? Why, all that stands in their way is casting off the shackles of government overreach. In which case, what if such cheap labels aren’t just purposeful hedges in advance of that simultaneously imminent yet elusive utopia, but visual dog whistles: post-truth freak flags left for fellow travelers to acknowledge with a slight, knowing nod while out for a stroll?

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