2528: Flag Map Sabotage

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Flag Map Sabotage
Delaware hopes to explore the western edge of areas marked with the Belgian flag, once the tornadoes die down.
Title text: Delaware hopes to explore the western edge of areas marked with the Belgian flag, once the tornadoes die down.


The comic refers to a type of map that colors countries using the national flag designs; see here for such a map of Europe. Randall proposes a new flag specifically designed to troll such maps. Most obviously, the flag includes a legend with multiple common flag colors to indicate random regional attributes. Hence, the mere act of placing this flag on a map would cause people to misinterpret this legend as applying to the entire map, giving wildly false information about regions of other countries. This trick is reminiscent of 327: Exploits of a Mom, with Mrs. Robert's son named Robert'); DROP TABLE Students;--.

In addition to the legend, the flag consists of two red fields, one of which has an irregular-shaped border, the other of which is a straight line. The irregular shape is similar to a geographical border based on natural features (such as rivers and coastlines), while borders not based on such features tend to be straight lines. Red is the most common color on national flags, so if any bordering country had red on their flag, it would risk bordering these red fields, confusing where the border lay (as well as designating the entire red region as "greater Delaware"). If this flag is intended for the USA (although the text mentions "our new country"), the red regions would be continuous with the red strips on both sides of Canada's flag and the red field on the right of Mexico's flag, disguising the border still further.

The title text refers to the flag of Belgium, which consists of three vertical stripes in the order (left to right) black, yellow, and red. The western part of Belgium would, according to the legend, be unexplored, while the eastern part would be Greater Delaware. The middle would therefore be a tornado zone separating the unexplored area from Greater Delaware. Depending on how the flags are aligned it might be possible to explore from the south, where the blue-white-red stripes of the French flag contain another piece of Greater Delaware that may be conveniently located to help said exploration. Exploring from the Netherlands (red, white, and blue horizontal stripes) is not viable as rebel forces are positioned between Greater Delaware and the unexplored region.

This is not the first time Randall has made a flag for a new country.


[A flag displays a white country-shaped area surrounded by a red field. Inside the shape sits a map legend.]
[Label of map legend] Map Legend
[Bright blue rectangle] Disputed territory
[Green rectangle] Newly independent
[Blue rectangle] Demilitarized zone
[Yellow rectangle] Tornado warning
[Dark blue rectangle] Held by rebel forces
[Red rectangle] Greater Delaware
[Black rectangle] Unexplored
[Caption below panel]
Our new country's flag sabotages those maps where geographic areas are colored in with flag patterns.

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Example map (of that of which sabotage might be intended) could be something like: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/41/0f/36/410f3661d1cee3b255b82a111f99d242.jpg ..? I have no doubt that someone is even now polishing off an initial Explanation, and wouldn't want to exit-conflict with them, but that's something like what I'd link to in order to demonstrate the thing being messed with. (Noting that the reference to North American territory both in words and the obvious Candian mapleleaf(less) flag as a basis. (Not sure, by sight, where the 'bite' matches, if not as per the red 'key', but note how Spain gets twisted in my link in order to not look odd with coastlines and similarly twisted Portugese neighbour cutting at odd angles through its stripes. That's the kind of thing this flag would evoke the confusion of.) 02:26, 14 October 2021 (UTC)

It's now over 12 hours later, I think you should add it to the text. I didn't understand anything about the comic or even its explanation before I saw your picture. Also, what kind of drugs is Randall on‽ :D Fabian42 (talk) 10:54, 14 October 2021 (UTC)

Why is Korsika coloured green on this map? It belongs to France. 06:22, 14 October 2021 (UTC)

That's Sardinia, which belongs to Italy (the west of Italy is green). Corsica is north of Sardinia. 06:42, 14 October 2021 (UTC)

I can't help but thinking there's significance to the shape of the red area in the flag. Which country would this flag belong to in order to cause further confusion? And since it's red, why would any country cede part of its area to Delaware? Unless it's the flag of a newly independent Delaware? 06:42, 14 October 2021 (UTC)

Only the south-eastern part of Belgium, which would already be Delawarian, is likely to border Delawarian France. The unexplored area (and most if not all of the tornado zone) would likely be bordering the white area (unclaimed? neutral zone? sea?) of France. 08:30, 14 October 2021 (UTC)

My first thought was that this was a Canada joke, since the flag looks a bit like Canada's flag (e.g. red a white with a solid red stripe on the edge) 13:28, 14 October 2021 (UTC)

I just added my hypothesis that this is a new US flag that nicely attaches both to Canada's flag at the top, and Mexico's at the bottom. It would be nice to try and produce such a map with Randall's design, similar to https://st.depositphotos.com/2353733/5164/v/950/depositphotos_51647815-stock-illustration-north-america-map-with-flags.jpg.

I would say that "Delware" might add new context to the flag from 1815, but if we assume that the three stars on that flag represent three states, and one of those states has to be Massachusets where Munroe lives, then there's no way it could also include Deleware and still be contiguous. 14:07, 14 October 2021 (UTC)

I kinda want to see what this would look like replacing USA on a map of the Americas now... 15:56, 14 October 2021 (UTC)

Looking at the above posts, yeah, I'm 95% sure the gap in the white at the bottom corresponds to the Gulf of Mexico. I think it likely that this design is intended to be superimposed onto the entire United States, to imply that the western portion of Canada continues further south and borders with the "newly independent" region of western Mexico. (Just ignore the enormous eagle to the south.) Also, I would guess that the light blue is intended to suggest that oceans and other large bodies of water are really "disputed territory"? --mezimm 14:43, 15 October 2021 (UTC)

Also, I suppose the flag would be separately superimposed onto Alaska as well as the continental US, so that would also be interesting to see... 18:03, 15 October 2021 (UTC)

I think we are all in agreement that we need a section dedicated to displaying the theoretical maps and flags, along with the theories as to why this may or may not be what Randall envisioned. (plus an honorary comment on how we might be reading to far into this by assuming it goes on an existing/real country) 22:11, 15 October 2021 (UTC)

I don't agree with the hypothesis in the sentence starting "If this flag is intended for the USA...". I interpret this map to be a hypothetical new micronation within Delaware, where on a typical USA map of this design the state would be covered in a red stripe (perhaps suggesting that that stripe or all of them are greater Delaware). It makes more sense that Randall would establish a micronation just to sabotage these maps than it would to get this flag adopted as the national American flag. 00:16, 16 October 2021 (UTC)

Any possible connection here to the "Red Flag" 🚩 memes that have been trending on Twitter recently? Is there some reason why Delaware raises red flags for Randall? 17:22, 16 October 2021 (UTC)

So, we have Europe and North America already ... now, what if it's U.S. states map supposed to be sabotaged by this? https://ubique.americangeo.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/map34.jpg -- Hkmaly (talk) 20:28, 16 October 2021 (UTC)

Ironically, that would make most of Delaware disputed territory. 13:59, 18 October 2021 (UTC)

What about the unexplored insides of the giant monster in the part of Greater Delaware formerly known as Albania? I think Randal missed a joke there. 15:44, 18 October 2021 (UTC)

Actually, bordering Belgium wouldn't work - Randall used the wrong colours, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Belgium#Design_and_specifications Probably wouldn't work for a lot of other countries' flags as well. 18:09, 23 October 2021 (UTC)

Theory of how randall thought of this: https://twitter.com/xkcd/status/1420142457413570560 maybe? 16:05, 15 November 2021 (UTC)Bumpf

Just realized that countries such as India or Ireland would be at least somewhat immune, since their flags contain the color orange (not represented in the key). Trogdor147 (talk) 04:06, 6 September 2023 (UTC)