Sober Thought national symbols
Sober Thought has adopted various national symbols for gameplay or roleplaying purposes including a flag, national animal, motto, currency and national anthem. All but the latter are Game customisable fields.
The current national flag and ensign was originally created by Sober Thought as one of several drafts for the International Democratic Union to use. The charge on Sober Thought's flag is a white the scales of justice encircled by a gold chain of sixteen links while the field, or background, of the flag is light blue. Conforming to NationStates specifications, it is approximately two units high by three wide or more precisely 71 units high by 107 wide. One flag serves as the state flag, civil ensign and naval ensign for government purposes as well as the national flag and merchant ensign.
Two closely contested rounds of balloting, the last on April 8, 2005, resulted in a rejection of this pattern in favour of the quadripartite design featured on the IDU's offsite forum. After the IDU disclaimed any interest in the rejected design, Sober Thought adopted the flag on the understanding that it would relinquish it if the IDU later chose to adopt it. Sober Thought's interest in designing flags led to the eventual creation of the Custom Flag Service.
Prior April 2005, Sober Thought used an unusual square flag which only displayed properly on the individual nation screen. It had a field of white charged with four triangles, alternatively coloured red and black, around the edges forming an offcentre square in the middle. It was replaced by the current design when it became available because the original design was reminiscent of the National Socialist Party flag (red, black and white; the triangles looking somewhat like swastikas) and it displayed improperly most of the time.
The owl is the current national animal of Sober Thought, as it is for other IDU members like Domnonia. It represents wisdom and learning since Sober Thought education is highly valued. Prior to the summer of 2005, the national animal was the fox. It represented thought of a sort, but more connotations of intuitive cunning rather than considered wisdom.
A stylised figure of an owl, reserved for the exclusive use of the Sober Thought government, is a recurring feature in the nation's heraldry and national symbolism. For instance, it appears on the definitive stamps issued by Sober Thought Post, in the logo of InfoST and on the shoulderboard insignia of the Community Defence Forces' reconnaissance troops.
Actual owls live in the wild and prey on other small birds and small mammals. Occasionally, over population or hybridisation become an issue and they are hunted for food, to keep the population in check or to keep the species distinct. Farmers, such as those in Pastbeshchye or Potato Island like the fact they protect crops from rodents and other vermin.
In a sense, one might say there are four national mottoes in three languages. However in practice, there are only two: the English motto that appears as part of gameplay and the trilingual motto that appears in roleplaying. The former is in fact an advertisement for the Custom Flag Service and reads "Telegram me about customised flags."
The more important motto expresses its sentiments in three languages but its intent is the same in all of them:
- "We are extreme in our moderation." (One official language.)
- "Nous sommes modérés en extreme." (French, the other official language.)
- "Wir sind Extremgemässigte." (German, the neutral and unofficial third language.)
The only currency ever legal tender in Sober Thought has been the Denkmark and its symbol is a dash-D or Ð. Unfortunately, its value outside the country is very low with the real world United States Dollar trading for over two hundred Denkmarks.
The money got its name, like most things in Sober Thought, by trying to be sensitive to official language issues and to prevent public ridicule of a currency already a target for derision. Penny was briefly considered as the currency name, as in "penny for your thoughts," but it was rejected as applicable only in English, too informal and not sufficiently suggestive of a high value.
Denkmark, a German compound word, is applicable in both languages, is potentially formal (although Dinkmark quickly came into usage among some economic right wingers) and suggests thought. Furthermore, as part of the Mark family of currencies it avoided being tagged as part of either the anglophone Dollar or the francophone Franc. See the Currency article for the results of a survey of currencies in NationStates. See the Curencies category for an incomplete list of currencies.
Sober Thought struggled with the problems of selecting an appropriate tune and lyrics for its national anthem just like many RL countries. It adopted an existing song from a distinguished composer as its national anthem, namely John Cage's 4′33. It has the cachet of an established composer, the lyrics cannot go out of style, the words are easily translated, musicians find in easy to perform and the song gives all who listen a chance for sober thought and reflection.
The full national anthem is heard at the start and end of the broadcasting day, before primary and secondary school classes, before film showings and during international events. The fanfare or national salute, used to greet foreign visitors, includes only the first movement of the song.