Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Iowa and Missouri - Fraternal Twins

Flag of Iowa

When you compare the flag of Iowa with the flag of Missouri you can see a striking similarity. Some people would rub this off as mere coincidence, but I go 2 steps further and gave this particular kind of happenstance a name. This is no accident, somehow it seems in our collective unconscious flags are chosen with a subconscious need for peculiar kind of symmetry.

Basically every flag in our Union has a near look a like that I call a 'Fraternal Twin.' To spell it out the 'fraternal flag twin' of Iowa is Missouri. If you have trouble wrapping your head around that then just take a look at a few other examples here for some southern states and here for northern states.

Flag of Missouri

These are the only two states with tri-bars. Iowa's bars go up n' down, and Missouri's goes from side to side or left to right. They are 90 degree pattern inverts of each other. Iowa's flag is a dead ringer for France and a wee northern portion is with matching latitude to southern France, likewise Missouri's flag looks like the Netherlands' Flag, but no part of Missouri is parallel to this country.

Now for the interesting part, their are all sorts neat parallels that can be drawn between each of the paired states. Missouri and Iowa are both in the heartland of America in between the Old Establishment on the East and the New Age west coast. Although they are next to eachother, Missouri and Iowa differ like night and day. You can think of Missouri as being the older brother who went on more sordid and wild adventures making a little trouble for Ma and Pa, while Iowa is the younger brother who didn't feel the need to test his borders and go hog wild so to speak.

Iowa is American Gothic

Missouri is the central state at the cultural heartland of America. North, South, East and West all collide with Missouri. Missouri has parts more southern than Nashville, Tennesse, parts more northern than Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, parts more western than Houston, Texas and finally parts more eastern than western Michigan. Making Missouri the jack of all American trades. Because Missouri can cowboy up more than Houston, Yankee up more than Philadelphia, sing more southern than Nashville, and act more industrial than the west side of Michigan. Iowa may not jack it up like Missouri, and the only direction they can lord over Missouri is north.

And this fits Iowa so, as the loyal cherry and blueberry pie with white whipped cream. Iowa was the state that brought us all American Art such as American Gothic and as apple pie in the in sky Field of Dreams. Iowa is the natural homebody state to balance the whip wild joyride ethos of the Show Me State.

Even the flag of Missouri tries to do it all. It has elements from states all over. Like New Jersey they are the only two to have a heraldic helmet with mantling. Missouri goes east and west with her central badge. There are bears like California and a crescent moon like South Carolina. A belt like Wisconsin and stars like Kansas. And finally it shares the American eagle on white like its little brother up north - Iowa and cousin to the east, Illinois. Is it Missouri trying to be like everyone else or is everyone trying to be like Missouri?

Missouri is also famous for her boot heel that digs into Arkansas, likewise Iowa has a little nub than pokes down into Missouri. It's Iowas way of digging at Missouri for digging into Arkansas.

It's interesting to note that it was on the USS Missouri that the Japanese unconditionally surrendered the United States. The cosmic coincidence is that the USS Missouri was an Iowa Class battleship, which was the biggest of all US battleships to be constructed. What this means is, when somebody picks on Missouri's little brother Iowa, you better look out. Although Iowa and Missouri may bicker like hot headed brothers there ain't to stopping them when fight together against a common foe. They'd put Wolverine and Sabertooth to shame.

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