Thursday, July 30, 2009

Theme Thursday - Button

Have you noticed lately that the old metal political style buttons have
been replaced with the ubiquitous awareness ribbon? Awareness
ribbons are the new buttons. They're literally everywhere. In fact,
instead of wearing them on our lapels, like the old style buttons, our
cars wear them, our blogs wear them. Soccer mom minivans look
naked without a magnetic awareness ribbon stuck to the back.

There is a whole rainbow of colors symbolizing various concerns.
Yellow ribbons, for instance, in the United States, are used to show
a close family member is abroad in military service. The first ribbon
that was represented as a meaningful object in history was the
yellow ribbon mentioned in a marching song, which was sung by the
military in the United States. In 1917 George A. Norton copyrighted
"Round Her Neck She Wears a Yeller Ribbon", which was rewritten
by several musicians during WWII.

The yellow ribbon song, most of us remember, is from the early
1970's, "Tie a Yellow Ribbon" recorded by Tony Orlando and Dawn.
In 1979, Penney Laingen, the wife of an American hostage in Iran,
inspired by the song, tied yellow ribbons around trees in her front
yard as a sign of hope in her husband's safe return. Her friends and
family followed the trend and soon the use of the ribbon spread like
wildfire, becoming a popular medium to convey a cause. The New
York Times declared 1992 as "The Year of the Ribbon".

I'm certainly all for making concerns known and gaining support.
But, don't you think the ribbon medium is a bit overused today?
Ribbons now represent anything imaginable. They have lost their
uniqueness. In fact, people are making up their own ribbons, with
any coo coo for cocoa puffs statement they like. The old oak tree is
smothered with so many ribbons, it makes me feel claustrophobic.

Now the whole damn bus is cheerin'
and I can't believe I see
A hundred billion yellow ribbons
'round the old oak tree.


77 comments:

  1. Bring back the button I say. I pay no attention to those ribbons. Ubiquitous, yes, and what a great word.

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  2. I like the Yellow Ribbons. Beyond that I would not look twice at a ribbon of any color.

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  3. hi willow, i love buttons!! the coolest buttons i see are art buttons - they have a tiny little piece of art on them. the ribbons are important but some of their value gets lost if you can't decode the significance of the colour. there are so many colours. bring back buttons with ribbons attached!! have a peaceful day. steven

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  4. I agree. I'm in the medical profession and we get ribbon-pins for everything (pin, red, multi, teal) they all are supposed to symbolize a certain disease. If it's not ribbons its the plastic wrist bands. Sometimes it's too much. But I wouldnt know what to suggest in place of it...

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  5. funny that you mention this.. i just received an email, a jewelry maker's newsletter actually, and it had a link to discover all the different ribbons- their colors & what they stand for. it was mind-boggling to say the least! it is interesting how these became the 'norm'.

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  6. i guess everyone has a cause they want to tout and then they have to have the ribbon to go along with it. i'm just not into any of that i guess. or maybe i don't have any pet causes. i remember the yellow ribbon song well AND those pants that tony orlando wore. hee hee

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  7. I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of convincing my male classmates to don the pink ribbon for our breast cancer event.

    Next up: the ribbon awareness ribbon.

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  8. Just a passing trend like many others.Good for the ribbon makers!

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  9. I used to collect those kinds of buttons. I loved them. But there were a million kinds of those, too. If ribbons are the new buttons, that's okay with me.

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  10. Your last few posts have made me cry....

    I agree the ribbons are so over-done ...but as a pink ribbon survivor, it's hard for me to dismiss them as meaningless. I guess I'm on the fence on this one.

    But your Grandma is my hero.

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  11. Thank you! I'm so sick of the ribbons. And while divesting our lives of the ribbons lets throw the plastic wristbands out with them. People have become walking bumperstickers. What happened to doing a good deed anonymously?

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  12. Thanks, Mary, she's my hero, too.

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  13. Yes, I agree With Abraham Lincoln, ribbons are overdone, and I only pay attention when it's the yellow kind.
    We once went to an Estate Sale, and bought a whole box of buttons. Political, funny, poignant such fun to look through and remember the time frame associated with the
    buttons..

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  14. i remember finding a drawer at my grandfathers house full of buttons, all diferent, thinking i had stumbled upon a treasure trove. lets give thema try again...

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  15. Yellow ribbons I like, but I miss the good old button.

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  16. Hi! Willow,
    What a nice post...as usual
    Reflective...in "places"
    Opinionated...in "places"
    and "darn" funny!...in the end!
    Thanks! for sharing!
    By the way, the other "cool"
    avatar is... back!

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  17. I do wish someone would publish a pocket-size dictionary color-way of ribbons so I wouldn't feel so inept! -J

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  18. Good post -- I never have gotten into the ribbon thing -- but then I don't get out much and the cows and chickens and dogs here on the farm are all probably color blind.

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  19. So with you on this! Too many ribbons. The first I remember is yellow. Then red for drug prevention. Then pink for cancer awareness. But the list has grown.

    And I miss buttons. But I guess they stopped those because they posed a threat to children, swallowing, etc.

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  20. We never got over the happy faces from elementary school, accumulated visibles.

    I'm with A.L. Yellow ribbons arrived at an appropriate time. Everything else just copied.

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  21. nice take on the theme. i wonder if the people at friday's miss buttons and having to wear their pieces of flair

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  22. Books & Coffee, thank you for your kind compliment! :^)

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  23. I'm not sure about this one. I don't mind the ribbons or the buttons. I do love that song (Tie a Yellow Ribbon) That bought back some happy memories of playing the old single when I was a child and screaming along to it. I would get so worked up at the last verse I would cry all the time! (What a geek I am!) xx

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  24. I loved that Yellow Ribbon song in high school. That one will really gets stuck in your head! I'm not a ribbon person..or a bumper sticker person...but those old buttons are really neat!

    I remember friends of mine in 6th grade having stainless steel bracelets engraved with soldier's names from the Vietnam War...kind of like a yellow ribbon, too!

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  25. Betsy, I remember a friend in grade school had a copper bracelet with her father's name engraved on it. He was MIA in Viet Nam. Now those are something entirely different, in my opinion.

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  26. Willow I never thought of these things as buttons, but now that you bring it up...oh great now I've got an earworm going( and flashing back to Tony's variety show--HELP!)

    @Tattered, I do good deeds just about every day. That's just me bein' me, tho'...

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  27. The ribbons always irked me lol. Great read :)

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  28. I remember those 1979 yellow ribbons. I was in 5th grade, and we tied them to all the trees and fences and benches in the schoolyard.

    It was a very powerful thing.

    And when I see a ribbon sticker on a car these days I cringe. So sad.

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  29. I sneak down to the hockey game parking lot and slap pink gay awareness ribbons on all the cars. Then, I head over the the Vegan convention and slap beef council ribbons on all those cars. The gnomes love it...

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  30. Willow,
    You should do something with the expression, "Wearing his/her heart on his/her sleeve". Basically, that's what buttons and ribbons are all about.

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  31. I have only seen Yellow Ribbons tied around trees, back in the States. I remember a family friend's car had a red ribbon tied around the rearview window, long after Christmas, bleaching into a non-descript color towards Easter. When I asked her why she didn't take off that ugly ribbon, she explained it was there for a cause, I forget which. Too young and too oblivious back then.

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  32. Yes, the old plastic and tin button had a good feel about them and the pin was always useful for sticking in things. Nice post Willow.

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  33. Hello Wllow,

    For a while I was wondering what you meant by "button" but imagine it's what I would call a lapel pin; enamelled metal, with a spike and a clip fastener - or do you mean a more ephemeral paper symbol fixed with a straight pin?

    Apart from the fact that the metal button has greater longevity, I'm not sure what the difference is. It's like wearing a poppy for Armistice Day or a daffodil for Marie Curie. It's simply a token that should be worn temporarily, not a perpetual reminder (like the wristbands). Otherwise, everything becomes meaningless.

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  34. We have a secret ribbon person here in our little village Willow. Every New Year's Day we wake to find overnight a whole avenue of old Oaks around the corner have been festooned with the most amazing hand-made big yellow floppy satin bows. Everyone comes out to see them, it's quite a sight. Then poof, overnight they are gone. It must take some organizing to do in the dead of night. Luckily its summer here & the nights are always moonlit & balmy.
    Millie ^_^

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  35. I have for a long time thought this too. I like what JG said--a ribbon awareness ribbon, LOL!

    I also like Derrick's remark about how the ubiquity renders it meaningless ultimately.

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  36. It's true. There's a website somewhere that shows you what each ribbon is for and on what day it should be worn. I think it's a bit of a cheap trick actually. People getting on the band waggon after the red AIDS ribbon . .I prefer the buttons, they last longer and collect less dust! Great take. This was such a hard topic for me.

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  37. Wouldn't be nice to have just one button that says...'I'm aware...are you'...I'm sick of all the ribbons too and wristbands...geez...

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  38. You forgot about the color wrist bands .. Live Strong kicked that off .. interestingly its yellow

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  39. im sending you (in my imagination) a rainbow colored ribbon for a great blog! :)

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  40. In some cases, there's an implication that if you don't have a ribbon (or bumper sticker), you don't support or even oppose the cause. I'm tired of those.

    I do think the pink ones are a nice means of expressing survivorship and solidarity. But then, I'm a yellow wristband survivor, so I guess I would see it that way.

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  41. Very cool - you are so right that ribbons have replaced buttons. When did THAT happen? I hadn't noticed so thanks for this.

    Enjoy your pizza!

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  42. Interesting take, turning button into ribbon! Ha! We do not have any on our car.

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  43. I really miss buttons. I used to wear tons of them - not political, just buttons of bands and funky stuff. I DO have a Green Party button that I sport now and then.

    Kat

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  44. Aaaah, I used to have a crush on Tony when I was like....5 years old...
    and yes, I agree, so many ribbons...very colorful but sometimes confusing. In Japan we have the same pink ribbons and red ribbons and there are also light blue ones for to spread awareness about the people abducted by North Korea...

    We also have fund raising feathers over here....

    Red feathers are for charity programs run by local governments for children and the elderly and
    Green feathers are for the environment!

    I kinda prefer buttons...but I guess ribbons are cheaper? I dunno...

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  45. YES! Ribbons and Flags? IS it just me, or have you noticed the more American flags that fly on the car the worse the driver?
    (Note I fly a flag on my flagpole at home, just not on my car ;))

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  46. Nice take on the theme this week. I don't mind the ribbons as much as I do the bracelets.

    I prefer the button pins, but you don't see them given out that often these days.

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  47. Too much symbolism adn causes these days... and not enough action. Surely its better to do something than wear something. I know that awareness is good, but if people are getting bored of it, that cant be good. Tricky one. I'm off to peruse it all!

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  48. I so love that old song adn remember my cousin singing it all the time. Good observation, Willow. I will never forget when I moved here how every tree down the main thoroughfare had yellow ribbons for Thomas Sutherland who was captive in the Middle East.once he was released there awas a HUGE party. It was wonderful to see a community so united for those captured abroad.

    Sutherland was given tons of money for his capture by the government when he got out. Aside from philanthropy, which he and his family have done a lot of, what did he do with the money? --Eventually opened up a "Scottish" food restaurant serving haggis and the like! :)

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  49. Hi Wills,
    Those photos in your right side bar are inspiring me to spruce up my blogs! You have such a good eye!!!

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  50. I don't think this "craze" has reached the UK yet - certainly not up here in North Yorkshire. Apart from the pink "breast cancer" ribbon I have seen none. Long may it remain so.

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  51. (Oh, crap. I could spend the day just reading the comments. Stopped around #20.)

    Anyway...

    Overused? Indeed. And "The old oak tree is smothered with so many ribbons, it makes me feel claustrophobic." is a terrific line! Great post overall.

    Today's trivia: Jay Siegel, lead singer of The Tokens ("The Lion Sleeps Tonight"), went into record production as well as performing. The group "Dawn" was named after one of his daughters.

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  52. Silver Fox, fun bit of Jay Siegel trivia. How DO you know these things?

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  53. I have spies EVERYWHERE. (Which reminds me: Aren't you ashamed of yourself for... well... you know what I'm talking about!)

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  54. ((GULP)) your spies ARE good.

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  55. The ribbons are a bit overused these days. Time to be creative and invent the next new button!

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  56. A trend which catches on in America is quickly homogenized throughout and therefore become...um, what's are the words..trite, crass, and ubiqitous...and sickening.

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  57. I know! What is it about Americans that makes us over indulge? Sometimes I hate us.

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  58. Willow, excuse me if someone has mentioned this but I haven't made it through the plethora of comments! Why does no one remember that in the Tony Orlando song he'd been in jail? He was bad! Or am I the one that's remembering it wrong?

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  59. The songs says "I'm comin' home, I've done my time" and later, "I'm really still in prison, and my love she holds the key," so yes, Tony Orlando's "character" in the song was an ex-convict. As Willow stated, the first copyrighted version was "Round Her Neck She Wears a Yeller Ribbon," but the yellow ribbon symbol -- usually denoting soldiers and their wives or girlfriends -- has been around for centuries!

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  60. I agree, don't do ribbons. And the trouble is if you don't support them somehow you become unpatriotic or cold hearted.

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  61. I wear the pink ribbon for Breast Cancer Awareness..I think that was the most recognizable after the yellow ribbon...to me it says..Yes I Can!!!

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  62. Maybe the overuse of ribbons will push everyone to buttons again. "no pun intended, really." I will never untie my yellow ribbon, however, mine is around a royal palm tree, now.

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  63. Thank you, Mr. Fox, for answering Titus' question with such eloquence. :^)

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  64. Eloquent? Me? Nahhh, just showing off.

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  65. Mr. Fox, you're welcome to show off at Willow Manor any time you like. Do you do that "Judy, Judy, Judy" thing? Oh, wait you never really did that, did you?

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  66. I like ribbons best tied voluptuously around boxes of chocolates. I'm not quite sure what you mean by buttons but think it may be what we call badges – what's that saying about two nations divided by a common language? Perhaps if one feels strongly enough about a cause one should go all out and get a tattoo.

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  67. Not sure about all these ribbons..difficult to keep track of all the color meanings and it seems like empty symbolism.
    Great to hear "Tie a Yellow Ribbon" song again!

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  68. I am laughing at "with
    any coo coo for cocoa puffs statement they like." RIGHT ON WILLOW!

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  69. So true about the ribbon thing. It has been overdone to the point of YAWN. Nice post.

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  70. What an original take on the button theme!

    You are so right - there are hundreds of millions of those ribbon thingys - and thus they lose their power to grab our attention. Everything in its place; I prefer ribbons I can touch and feel - in hair, on lingerie, or even at the worn edge of a favorite blanket.

    Great post!

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  71. ribbons round boxes of chocolates, now theres a happy thought

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  72. When in a large parking lot I often have a naughty urge to go around and collect all those magnetic plastic ribbons and put them all on one car...still have never had the actual nerve to do it but I laugh just thinking about it:)

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  73. Oliag, heehee, I love it!!!

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Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)