on peace (reposted and revised from April 18, 2009)
If you walk around a mall, you'll find many, many, many different products featuring the Peace Sign. Many brands and many stores feature the Peace Sign.* I'm extremely doubtful any of these stores are actually interested in the political (potentially subversive) intent the Peace Sign may imply. They are capitalizing on a general mood (passive opposition to war) that contributes to a fashion trend.
So the Peace Sign has become a fashionable symbol in a consumeristic culture. And in some ways, this makes the fashionability of the Peace Sign representative for the American mood toward war. There are few "supporters" of the current wars--most are weary and skeptical about these wars. But most people are either not so opposed to these wars they're taking any action, or feel incapable of taking any positive action (it does often feel like a helpless situation, that opponents of war can't really do anything to stop it). Thus people are willing to passively express these (general, vague) negative feelings toward war with the passive means we're most familiar and comfortable with: consumerism.**
*In my experience, the overwhelming majority of Peace Sign products are for women, which calls for further--if obvious--comment. Just as "real men" are supposed to love eating meat (just ask Taco Bell--men shouldn't just want steak but they should want "triple steak," and the only way men can eat a salad is if it is "fully loaded" and the lettuce is buried beneath meat), men are not expected to embrace the cuddly, mushy, huggy Peace Sign (usually around pink, purple, and pastels)--that's for sensitive, softer women.
**I in no way exempt myself from this critique, as I myself wear many products featuring the Peace Sign.