A remarkable thing about podcasts is that if you look around, you can find a podcast about just about any topic you want to dive into. As a dabbler in flag geekery since I was very young, I was thus delighted to learn of Simon The Cannibal‘s Vexillogicast. Simon records his podcast in Philadelphia, a setting he uses for context regularly. On each episode, he talks about vexillology, the study of flags and flag design. Simon’s a self-described “schlub with a microphone.” More importantly, he’s a creator who does his research.
Since its launch in April of 2015, Simon has released 26 episodes. He had heard other podcasts such as 99% Invisible briefly address flag design. So he took it upon himself to create a show dedicated to flags. Everything about flags is fair game, including history, graphic design, and geography. Individual show notes are available on the podcast page, as well as through discussion on the SimonTheCannibal subreddit.
I binge-listened to a number of episodes to get a sense of their flow. Each is brief; none I listened to was over 20 minutes. Simon carefully chooses his language to include listeners who don’t possess the technical jargon to navigate flag discussions. When needed, he’ll define a term such as “canton.” The typical format includes flags along one one conceptual theme, or one geographic region, such as a state and cities in it. Simon told me episodes are evenly split in inspiration three ways. Some are general topics like the “Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey” episode. Others are culturally relevant topics, like the history of rainbow flags. He recorded that episode soon after the 2015 Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality. Finally, inspiration can come in the form of listener requests, as in the case of the Jolly Roger episode. Over the course of the series, the friendly host has tempered his desire to describe challenging flags such as Tampa’s.
If you’re curious about the phrase “seal on a bedsheet,” which United State flags are officially accepted, and what micronations do for flags, subscribe to or download The Vexillogicast. If you like what you hear, Simon runs a Patreon, too!