The rainbow flag, created by artist Gilbert Baker, was first flown as a symbol of queer liberation at a San Francisco parade in 1978. Pink Floyd released their eighth studio album, The Dark Side of the Moon, five years before, in 1973 — with cover art depicting light refracted through a prism to produce a rainbow. The late designer Storm Thorgerson intended it as a tribute to the band’s famous light shows.

And now, in 2023, as the legendary group marks the 50th anniversary of their most enduring touchstone, a few ill-informed individuals have conflated these two strains of counterculture in order to make themselves very, very mad. Yesterday, on Facebook, the official Pink Floyd page unveiled a logo for the occasion, prompting statements of grievance from members who believed the rainbow design was a nod to LGBTQ solidarity rather than the iconic record sleeve.

“Yeah, cuz I always hear Pink Floyd fans saying ‘I wish Pink Floyd was more gay,’” commented one gentleman. “Sickening,” wrote another, who has also shared Covid-19 truther memes on his profile. “I used to listen for the music. But I’m done now. Gay propaganda being put into everything.”

There was somewhat less blowback to the rainbow on Twitter — where the $300 price tag for a new deluxe Dark Side box set was the main point of concern — but one critic did accuse the band of going “full establishment & pro big government.”

But while observers and media outlets noted with dismay this ignorant response — chalking it up to nasty trolls and forgetful, Fox News-addled Boomers — the tide was swiftly turning. The true Pink Floyd devotees, of every age and background, buried the homophobes in an avalanche of mockery. Thousands piled into the Facebook thread to call them fake fans, many pointing out the anti-authoritarian, left-leaning themes of the band’s music. (Roger Waters, a Floyd co-founder who wrote much of Dark Side, outraged part of his audience with a Trump-bashing tour in 2017.)

“You can easily spot the Pink Floyd fans who ate too many lead paint chips in their youth,” commented Jesse. Quipped a fan named Berkeley: “I’m surprised the anti-rainbow people aren’t also upset at the pinkness. ‘Floyd is a man’s name! He should be blue!’” References to the lyric “We don’t need no education” abounded.

Some couldn’t resist joining the fray with takes that satirized the offense taken by right-wing snowflakes. “Good job Pink,” sneered Daniel. “You just lost another fan. I have been listening to this album for the past 50 years since I picked it up at my local record store for 50 cents. I just happened to never look at the album cover.” Another mischievous commenter, Paul, said: “Can’t believe Pink Floyd have gone woke. From now on the only classic British artists I’m listening to are Queen, David Bowie, Elton John, George Michael, Judas Priest, Morrissey and Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow.”

In fact, these parodic statements were soon so numerous that newcomers to the thread had trouble separating jokes from genuine ire — and wound up attacking like-minded fans who were just ridiculing the culture warriors. One woman, Rhonda, noted that “you guys posting the sarcastic remarks are making it so hard to find the real idiots!”

You can rest easy, then, knowing that the Pink Floyd army is as open and accepting as ever, while remaining staunchly pro-rainbow. Far more fans complained of the Dark Side anniversary making them feel old than about the commemorative logo. If there is a true scandal amid all the psychedelic nostalgia, it might be that the band is soliciting animators to create new music videos for them without promising compensation.

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Damn. Guess you can’t have rock without a little controversy. We’ll see you back in here when someone decides The Wall is a concept album about the U.S.-Mexico border.

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