Red flag over a pink paper

The iconic image taken by Soviet naval officer Yevgeny Khaldei of a red flag being raised atop the Reichstag in Berlin on May 2, 1945 captures a dramatic point in world history. Even though the photo is in black and white, it was a red flag for many Allied leaders, especially Winston Churchill – in the sense of a warning of danger to come. For the western world, the ‘flag above Berlin’ was a sign of Stalin’s impending plans for communist global expansion well beyond the Soviet Union. The red flag – now in the form of various emojis that are actually red in colour – is back in a big way. But this time, it’s not a laal salaam, but anything that catches your fancy and worth being warned about.

According to US media website CNET, Twitter has seen a 455% spike in the use of its red flag emoji last week – a triangular dhwaj, more of the kind raised by linesmen to signal offsides, than of the bhagwa or hammer-and-sickle variety. Netflix has used it to flag a cliche in one of its shows. LinkedIn has raised it to underline cheesy HR lines like ‘We’re not a team, we’re more like a family’. Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi flagged it to react to: ‘I don’t like Indian food’ – a dig at Washington Post food writer Gene Weingarten, we presume. So here we hoist our own: ‘ET is only a business paper.’


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