DimWit Politics

Its not easy being green … or any other color, for that matter

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Its not easy being green … or any other color, for that matter

Its not easy being green … or any other color, for that matter
September 26
14:51 2019

Every now and then – when doing research for a commentary – you just get sucked into one of those rabbit holes – you know, a reservoir of surprising information on a relatively meaningless subject.  This commentary is the result of such a plunge into the abyss of information minutia.

I read that there was an outbreak of orange wristbands, ribbons and clothing being worn by folks protesting gun violence – sort of a symbolic “don’t shoot me.”  After all, one cannot go around with their hands in the air all day.

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Why orange?  Because it is the color many hunters wear to stand apart from the fauna of their prey – particularly when numerous hunters may be in the forest at the same time during hunting season.

That got me looking at the whole “orange” thing.

It is widely believed that “orange” is one of the few words in the English language that has no rhyme.  The one word that is said to rhyme with orange, “sporrange,” is a bit outside common usage.  For the record, sporange is an obscure botanical term for a part of a fern.  Or is it?  Seems like the proper scientific term is “sporangia.”  I shall leave that debate to the botanists.

Orange has been a word associated with the Protestant Irish – as opposed to the green associated with Roman Catholic Irish.  The orange appellation has been handed down since 1690 thanks to William of Orange, who became King of England, Scotland and Ireland by deposing Roman Catholic King James II.  And both sides have been feuding ever since.  So, if you are Orange Irish, wearing the color has a double meaning.

As a Chicagoan, I was always struck by the irony that they had to dump an orange powder into the Chicago River to turn it a bright emerald green for St. Patrick’s Day.

As part of my research, I thought I should see if orange wristbands and ribbons are used for other causes.  That is when I slipped down the rabbit hole.  Good God!  I had no idea the number of colorful wristbands and ribbons that are used to promote causes – and even more astounding, how many causes each color may represent.  As if that is not confusing enough, it turns out that many causes have more than one symbolic color – with various forms of cancer being the most notable.

Allow me to start with a summary.  One online site that produces those colorful symbolic expressions of opinion or support list hundreds of various colors and shades – including two-color combos – to represent thousands of causes and movements.

If you are inclined to tie a yellow ribbon around the old oak tree, you may think you are supporting the men and women fighting overseas.  But you could also be displaying support for Adenosarcoma, Bladder Cancer, Adoptive Parents, Bone Cancer, Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, Craniofacial Acceptance, Endometriosis, Epithelioid Sarcoma, Ewing Sarcoma, Microcephaly, Missing in Action, Missing Children, Missing Persons, Myxoid Liposarcoma, Obesity, Osteosarcoma, Prisoners of War, Refugees Welcome, Sarcoma, Spina Bifida, Suicide Prevention and The Disappeared.  That final one reads like a title from a 1950s sci-fi movie.

If you think that is a lot, consider this.  There are four variations of purple, including orchid, violet and lavender. Orchid represents testicular cancer – and I have no idea why.  Lavender represents … and I love this one … all cancers without a designated color.  If you go through all the hundreds … yes, hundreds … of color-designated cancers it is hard to believe that any have been missed.  In fact, every color seems to have several specific cancers to represent.

Some individual colors represent more than 70 diseases and causes – and they do not seem to have any categorical connection.  The black and navy duo colors represent Ocular Melanoma and Police Officers Lost in the Line of Duty.  How does that happen?

These displays of color are said to draw attention to the cause.  Really?  When you see someone adorned with a purple wristband or ribbon, does Lewy Body Dementia come to mind — or Chronic Pain in Women, or Drowning Impact?  Me neither.

If I see a person with a black adornment, I think of mourning – and I would be correct.   But it also represents Gang Prevention, insomnia and Skin Cancer.  Blue relates to child abuse, autism, colon cancer, prostate cancer, animal rights and tsunami victims.

As if ribbons and wristbands are not enough, we have hundreds of altered American flags to represent special causes – but I shall stop here and find the exit from the rabbit hole.

So, there ‘tis.

About Author

Larry Horist

Larry Horist

Larry Horist is a conservative activist with an extensive background in economics, public policy and politics. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman, as well as the White House. He has testified as an expert witness before legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress, and lectured at major colleges and universities. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He can be reached at lph@thomasandjoyce.com.

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