Fist Bumps

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Sometimes a fist is just a fist (to paraphrase Herr Doktor Freud).
Other times it is a highly charged symbol for political ideologies. It
used to be fairly recognizable as a Communist “revolutionary” salute
(in stark contrast to the fascist salute). Then it was adopted by the Black Panthers and black nationalism. It looked so good that the new left adopted it from the old. Now, the right wing Tea Baguettes of Freedom Works have co-opted it and are shoving their newly found fist down Washington’s throat.

“This event will be organized by the same coalition that
organized the original 9/12 March on Washington — including
FreedomWorks, Tea Party Patriots, National Taxpayers Union, The
Institute for Liberty and a host of other great free market groups from
around the country.”

Come on people,
you have stars, liberty bells, red, white and blue, Corinthian columns,
Ms. Liberty and flags, can’t you leave the fist alone? How do you feel
about that Mr. Beck?

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Daily Heller, Imprint: Print Magazine's Design Blog

About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes a weekly column for The Atlantic online and is the "Visuals" Columnist for the New York Times Book Review. He is also the author of over 160 books on design and visual culture. And he is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.

3 thoughts on “Fist Bumps

  1. Roughstockjess

    I think the issue isn’t one of left vs. right specifically, but rather the co-opting of a symbol traditionally representing one set of ideals by a group or groups representing a set of ideals that actually undermines that traditional association.

    Here’s another recent iteration of the fist being used, by a group calling themselves Green Freedom: http://thepaperplanet.blogspot.com/2010/06/green-freedom-really.html

    I’m not sure any symbol should be considered off limits for adaptation, but the short memory of the American public makes it a little too easy to do so without any trace of irony or meaningful consequence.

  2. Roughstockjess

    I think the issue isn’t one of left vs. right specifically, but rather the co-opting of a symbol traditionally representing one set of ideals by a group or groups representing a set of ideals that actually undermines that traditional association.

    Here’s another recent iteration of the fist being used, by a group calling themselves Green Freedom: http://thepaperplanet.blogspot.com/2010/06/green-freedom-really.html

    I’m not sure any symbol should be considered off limits for adaptation, but the short memory of the American public makes it a little too easy to do so without any trace of irony or meaningful consequence.

  3. Roughstockjess

    I think the issue isn’t one of left vs. right specifically, but rather the co-opting of a symbol traditionally representing one set of ideals by a group or groups representing a set of ideals that actually undermines that traditional association.

    Here’s another recent iteration of the fist being used, by a group calling themselves Green Freedom: http://thepaperplanet.blogspot.com/2010/06/green-freedom-really.html

    I’m not sure any symbol should be considered off limits for adaptation, but the short memory of the American public makes it a little too easy to do so without any trace of irony or meaningful consequence.

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