Like I’ve said before I’m probably going to vote to keep the old flag in the referendum, but I’m wavering here because of the awful unbearable smugness of a lot of the anti-Lockwood design arguments, which are based on the premise that the Lockwood flag is ‘objectively bad’. They’re not voting against it because they personally don’t like it, or just don’t like John Key – they’re above all of that petty nonsense. No, the argument goes: the Lockwood flag is ‘bad’ on a scientific, technical level, as judged by ‘design experts’.
Not all design experts, obviously. Lockwood is a design expert and his flag designs won the first referendum by a huge margin. But other design experts say its bad and it’s just a huge coincidence that people on the left decide to value the judgement of those experts and objectively decide the flag favoured by Key is ‘bad design.’
The very idea that we have ‘design experts’ who make objective timeless judgments about what does and does not look good is risible. Just about every celebrated work of art or triumphant design in the world was originally dismissed by ‘design experts’. Which doesn’t mean I think that’ll happen with the Lockwood flag – probably I think it won’t. But it could! ‘It looks like a logo.’ Well, maybe now that flags aren’t used for identifying enemy vessels at sea so much maybe they’ll all start to look like logos. Maybe the Lockwood logo will be seen as an iconic, groundbreaking example of kiwi ingenuity! Who knows?
Probably not though. If you just don’t like the look of the Lockwood flag then that’s fine. And if you don’t care but want to vote against it because you don’t like Key and want to give him a black eye then that’s fine too. We get to do that. But insisting that anyone voting otherwise is a moron because of some absurd attempt at objectivity over ‘design’ is just as snobby and elitist as the critics in the National Party say it is.