Coping with the causal clutter of civilization
Posted by aogWednesday, 28 February 2007 at 11:01 TrackBack Ping URL

While waiting desperately for the coffee to finish brewing, I saw some promotional literature from some food or kitchen implement box talking about the red dress to promote awareness about heart disease in women. That reminded me of one of my many ideas for improving society.

There are a lot of causes out there these days, each with its own little symbol and colors. There are far more causes than easily recognized colors, so one must now use additional colors and iconography to be distinct. How can one keep track of them all and more importantly, discretely but clearly communicate one’s elevated moral status for supporting them?

I think we should take a page from the military who have been faced with this same problem with the variety of medals that can be awarded. A well decorated soldier has a real problem with wearing them in any but the most formal occasions. What the military did was create a set of ribbons / badges of distinct but compact design, one for each medal (as for example in this chart). This makes displaying one’s awards sufficiently easy to do even for semi-formal occasions without being obnoxious.

Clearly, the various causes could adopt a similar sort of thing. They could be worn on the chest as the military does, or down an arm, or even worked in to a charm bracelet. Not only could these be worn on clothing, but they would also be perfect for badging websites. An enterprising fellow might think of setting up a central clearing house for allocating patterns to avoid duplication. Just as a public service, with minimal fees to handle the unavoidable expenses…

Comments — Formatting by Textile
Michael Herdegen Wednesday, 28 February 2007 at 16:22

I thought that the “red dress” was used to promote the breakfast cereal Special K. Live and learn.

Down the arm appeals to me, like time-in-service stripes.

cjm Wednesday, 28 February 2007 at 19:08

come now, you are a trained computerist, you can do much better than that. this calls for a systematic taxonomy. is the award for a an individual, a group, etc. is it for excellent service, a tragic event, etc.

Annoying Old Guy Thursday, 01 March 2007 at 09:13

Ah, but they’re not awards, they are signifiers of one’s charitable and political concerns. I have seen pictures of people trying to wear a constellation of those little loopy ribbons for various causes and thought that this sort of thing would be a big help.

erp Thursday, 01 March 2007 at 12:05

For distaff homo sapiens, how about earrings. Plain gold hoops with small ribbon charms in various colors to be worn singly or in tandem with others in appropriate colors.

Feel free to use this idea and send me only 10% of net sales for a designer’s fee.

Annoying Old Guy Thursday, 01 March 2007 at 13:38

That could work. “Oh, yes, Gladys, I used to just wear one but I support so many causes now that I had to get a second piercing to hold them all!”.

erp Thursday, 01 March 2007 at 14:40

Totally. Lots of people already have multiple ear piercings as well as piercing in other parts of the body.

Robert Duquette Thursday, 01 March 2007 at 15:12

One word: bar-codes. If they were really dedicated, they could have the ribbons tattoed on.

cjm Thursday, 01 March 2007 at 18:20

that explains the pics of african ladies with stacks of neck rings, i used to see in the national geographic

Jack Diederich Wednesday, 07 March 2007 at 10:57

The informal term for the mass of ribbons on a dress uniform is a “fruit salad.” I know this only because it made a recent appearance in a WSJ crossword (and I happened to be sitting next to a mil friend).

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