Hong Kong protests mark twist in history of umbrella symbolism
The Wall Street Journal - 10/01/2014
As young people in Hong Kong pop open umbrellas in a show of defiance against China’s plan for watered-down democracy in the city, a U.S. academic notes that to previous generations the accessory symbolized appeasement.
From 1930s England through the Kennedy and Nixon years in the U.S., to display an umbrella was to allege political softness, says Edward H. Miller, an academic at Boston’s Northeastern University. “If you are compromising, you are umbrella man.”
“It seems the umbrella is used for the opposite purpose (in Hong Kong),” Mr. Miller said in an interview with China Real Time. “It’s a symbol of strength, a symbol of defiance.”