Maxim: Badass Flags


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Oh, look — I’ve started writing for Maxim.

You can read the final version via the link, or my original opium-fever scrabblings below.

Badass Flags

Flags: everybody has one. Some are awesome (ours), some are not (theirs), but they all look good when worn by the pretty fans of FIFA.

A flag can be stirring, it can be unifying, and it can even be a bikini. But can a flag be tough? Admit it, most of them are variations of colored stripes. We disqualified any military flags because those are always a swordfish flying a fighter jet or a confused Irishman biting a rattlesnake. Here’s what’s still flying.

Albania

Eagles are the Batman of birds, so making the raptor your national symbol tells other nations to keep watching if they want to see some unbelievable brutality. Rome chose the eagle, as did its franchise, the Byzantine Empire. So did Russia, Austria, the Aztecs, Napoleon, and our own dear America. Albania takes the concept a step further by adding a second head. This eagle can tear out your liver while calling all sexy lady eagles to join the party. We knew a guy in college like that.

Wales

A two-headed eagle is the stuff of myth, but there’s nothing more mythical than dragons unless you’re seducing young women in the form of a swan. But admit it—that would look awkward on a flag. Wales got a dragon motif from Rome, because that civilization lasted 2200 years; they’re allowed to have an eagle and a dragon. But back to Wales. Did you know that Wales is not an island? It’s true! It’s actually a country that appears out of the mists every 100 years or whenever it makes it into a rugby tournament. The main occupation is wizarding, and if a Welshman gives you a coin, by dawn it has turned into a piece of enchanted wool. Tie it to a sprig of St. John’s wort with the hair of your true love and keep it under your pillow. In two months’ time you will be tough enough to play Welsh rugby. Only then may you look directly at this red emblem of power.

California

Our lone state flag on the list features a California grizzly captured by a William Randolph Hearst expedition. This isn’t just a bear, it’s a bear named “Monarch” that eluded all but the most resourceful kajillionaire. Right about now you’re leery of entering the California territory, because their spirit animal is grizzly bear royalty with special forces training. That’s when you find out California killed all its grizzlies and drove the rest into the frigid north. It’s like any scene where someone kills Danny Trejo to establish how dangerous they are. The flag was ratified in 1911, the same year Monarch died…almost like they were waiting for his death. In all likelihood, they caught his escaping soul in a dreamcatcher and stitched it into the flag to forever guard their state.

Saudi Arabia

Before you even enter Saudi Arabia, you’ll know what’s up. The inscription is the Shahada, or Islamic creed, “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger.” The sword represents justice, which, before you get all Tea Party, is also an accessory of western civ’s Lady Justice. Yep, that flag gets the salient points down. Saudi Arabia only made one mistake – It oppressed women. Okay, so two mistakes. It also brought a sword to a gunfight.

Mozambique

Mozambique didn’t extract itself from Portugese rule easily, so if there are any errant European monarchs thinking of invading, the country would like to let you know where it stands: specifically, in your path with a Kalashnikov. The AK-47 symbolizes the country’s vigilance and defense. The book symbolizes education, because the pen is mightier than the sword, though not as mighty as an assault rifle. The hoe stands for your mom. Oh, SNAP.  What are you going to do about it? Did you not see this gun?