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Apr 16, 2006

Sign For A Head


If it's Easter, it must mean ... Christian fundamentalism. (... That is, if you're the NYT Week In Review.)

Sunday's Times section carried not one, but two articles on the evangelical movement.  There was a political piece on the front page (Looking to Win in November, With a 2-Year Old Playbook), and a second story (Evangelicals Debate the Meaning of "Evangelical") on page five.

The photo above accompanied story number one.  Getting caught up in it, I started thinking about possible meanings underlying the symbolism in the "Defend Marriage" logo.


Following that, I was simply amused the protester seemed to have the sign for a head.  Could it  demonstrate how stereotypes inhibit the ability to see and the opportunity to think?

(image: Tom Olmscheid/AP.  Minnesota.  April 16, 2006.  NYT Week In Review, p.1)


The old woman makes it seem like the protestors have bitter, ancient ideas.

That sign is persuasive. Two identical restaurant-clipart stick figures would obviously be evil.

Defensive Marriage is what I see with the onlooker's squinted eye and grimace and are those black gloves holding the sign. Is the room with the man and woman in it red from the blood? Is that a plus sign or a cross hair? Would you want to marry these people?

That's a woman? I thought it was Donald Rumsfeld.

As for the signs, well, they are as simplistic in their form as the minds of the people carrying them. I am also reminded of a sign for a unisex restroom.

(After watching part of "King of Kings" last night, catching the scene wherein Jesus talks about Blessed are the Meek and all, I realized that a lot people have never really listened to what he was saying. Not then, not now. Maybe that's why they're still so unhappy after all these centuries.)

Poor Jesus. Whatever did he do to deserve such people?

Why are people so angry at a definition of family which provides no less love and comfort to a child than a conventional definition?

And, what is there to defend about "marriage?" It seems to be doing well as an idealized legal arrangement, in spite of divorce. Life really isn't just an "either, or" situation.

The thing that depressed me when I saw this image is that, according to the caption, it was made in my homeland of Minnesota, land of Hubert Humphrey and diehard, progressive democrats who tend to look a lot like the woman in the picture (who, I have to say, looks a lot like the frowning woman who glowers at Mary Tyler Moore when she tosses her hat in the opening credits of the TV show). I read this photo as a "sign" of Minnesota's very real turn to the right over the past 10-15 years.

You think maybe the old woman's husband might have left her for another man?

Grouchy old people like the woman shown in the photograph aren't a good advertisement for the superiority of heterosexual marriage; and using images associated with public restrooms doesn't help either. These signs were probably made at a cut-rate place like Kinko's that used royalty-free clip art icons for the man and woman symbols. The signs don't have handles and are difficult and uncomfortable to hold. Everything about this photograph points to a poverty of ideas and imagination. It shows how the evangelical movement is tired and out of touch, not only with the public, but also with the needs of its own members.

what if that's a man and a man in a dress? Or a woman and a woman wearing pants?

The sign might be a mask. A face to put on that says "I'm defending marriage, but I'm not homophobic or anything." Yeah, right.

The rigidity of everything in that picture, from the old scowling lady to the blocky figures to the awkward holding of the sign to the a + b = c equation, I think says more than anything. Times are changing; man + woman not always = marriage. Marriage was never really about love anyway, it was always more about property, so I don't know what the fuss is about.

Since the fuss is really about sex — heterosexual vs. homosexual — I think the characters should be depicted having sex instead of standing so far apart from each other. But regardless of this symbolic oversight, what person in his/her right mind would want *any* marriage to be defined as a union between two restroom pictograms?

Btw, I'm not sure this *is* clip art, free for the taking. Someone famous (like Saul Bass? I can't confirm) designed these pictograms, and may not be agreeable with this particular hijacking of them. With any luck, the images are copyrighted and someone's lawyers have been alerted.

The art on the sign looks like a cubist skull figure – the circles, eyes – legs, teeth ...

The repeated use of the circle heads, in the design and the person holding the circle sign in the same position, is amusing.

If these people wanted to help the institution of marriage they should work on existing ones – with a 50%(+?) national divorce rate it seems that the greatest threat to marriage comes from within.

The plus sign also resembles a Christian cross.

The two clip-art figures look almost exactly alike. I agree with readytoblowa, it's about who has sex with who, not marriage at all. I have yet to get an answer as to how my neighbors' sex lives affect my marriage...

"I defend the right of restroom sign icons to marry!"

If it weren't for the damage they do, I would find it difficult to take these people seriously. They know there is so little substance to themselves that they must band together to feel better about what they lack. When they have a whole roomful of people with no substance they begin to think they are superior to those people not in the room. Then they start to hate those people outside for "acting so superior" to them. Hate as a group activity. It shows in their faces. One does not live with that much hate and not have it show in the face.

When you hear these men talk, or read their writing, they are obsessed with what gay men do in the bedroom. They cannot get that out of their minds. One wonders why?

I think the photo remarkably illustrates the hatred (the old woman) and the self - less - ness (or less selfness) of them by substituting the round sign for the head. The person is nothing, the hatred is what's important.

The use of the stilted iconographic images is a reflection of the stilted and limited thinking of the protestors.

And I won't even mention that most of these right-wing haters have been married 2 or 3 or more times. Someone should defend marriage from them.

And careful what you wish for. I can remember when you practically had to stand on your head naked in the public square to get a divorce. One state has already passed covenant marriage legislation....supposedly very difficult to get out of.

I agree with readytoblowagasket that they are standing a long way apart.

I assume the sign is trying to say that marriage = man + woman. But normally you'd read that they other way around, man plus woman equals marriage.

The Bag is correct why the man is first and the woman is second.

Obviously the red is supposed to be like a first aid kit. The cross in the middle helps support that.

It's not pro-marriage as such, it's clearly just against same sex marriage. There is no intimacy or companionship or family in the sign. It's just bright red and black and white: man + woman = marriage end of story.

Yeah, besides the politcs, it's really awful graphically as well. I thought the man was a woman at first.

The figures are not identical to the international symbols for man and woman that one sees on restroom doors, by the way. To answer someone's legal question above, those would be copyright free.

Cactus > Eeeek, that's news to me. All I was thinking is these people should go home and give thier spouses a foot massage or something nice like that.

That has to be the worst graphic, ever. Well, almost. I'm with some of the commentors above: at first glance, the difference between the figures is overlooked: it looks like to women or two men in kilts getting, er, plussed.

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