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50 Shades of Green


Written by Thomas Giblin (he/him) | @thegreengiblin | Entertainment Editor

Like Drake, Lil Wayne, and Nicki Minaj in the song 'Seeing Green', I've been seeing the colour everywhere. I've traversed the colour spectrum to find the best and worst shades of green. I've done hours of painstaking research. When I close my eyes, instead of the world fading into the dark abyss, a mosaic of green, from light to dark, dances across my photoreceptors.

Chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele introduced the colour green to the art world in 1775. This particular pigment, Scheele's Green, contained the toxic arsenious oxide. Before 1775, ancient Egyptians identified their crops as green with the word wadj. The Romans created Verdigris—a green pigment, by soaking copper in wine. The word green comes from the Proto-Indo-European word ghre, meaning "grow".

With the advent of agriculture twelve thousand years ago, green became closely associated with nature and its processes. During the Middle Ages, European writers connected the colour to fertility, hope and joy. Now, green has also come to represent wealth and success, hence all the bragging about money and power in 'Seeing Green.'

I've had a profound thought. Before humans discovered the colour green, was a grass field black and white? Or was it blurred out like an area yet to be found in a video game? 

As a self-professed pompous critic whose opinions can never be wrong, all scores are final on this listicle. If you disagree, please direct all hate mail to Debate Magazine's graphic designer, Gabbie. Also, if you need a fun answer to the Hinge prompt "Green Flags I Look For", type: "Flag of Libya (1977–2011)." 

Go Away Green

Disney can create the impossible, and make you believe in it. A clownfish with a receding hairline, anthropomorphic toys, flying carpets, and a world where the dead come alive - you name it. Disney amusement parks are truly magical experiences, even if you hate monolithic multinational mass media companies. 

To immerse visitors in a magic kingdom full of princesses and princes, they've created a shade of green that redirects visitors' focus to the attractions. Fences, garbage bins, and administrative buildings blend into the landscape. Disney wants you to inhabit a fantasy world where these unsightly things don't exist. 

Score: 6/10

Mint Green

From 1919 to 1939, you could find this colour everywhere. Mint Green was uber-popular in the Art Deco movement - bathrooms, household appliances, and even cars were furnished in the colour. Mint green, a light shade of green with a hint of blue, unsurprisingly derives its name from the plant. I hate this colour. It doesn't make me feel restored or secure - it makes me feel queasy. Mint shouldn't be the inspiration for a colour. It shouldn't even inspire an ice cream flavour. Keep anything mint far away from this discerning critic.

(editor's note: BOOOOOO BAD TAKE)

Score: 2/10

Neon Green

I have a love-hate relationship with this colour. It reminds me of the ghastly cheap RTDs you'd guzzle as an 18-year-old. I also think of its use in some of my favourite films. Neon green in Spring Breakers and How to Have Sex are motifs for youthful hedonism. Best used sparingly, this colour is striking for how bold it is. I'd never wear a neon green shirt, but I'd happily drive an expensive sports car in the colour - assuming I had self-respect and a drivers licence.

Score 4/10

Shamrock Green

I'd betray my Irish heritage if I didn't give this colour anything about but a ten out of ten. Erin go bragh! 

Score: 10/10

Scheele's Green

This colour, developed in 1771 by the Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele, is one to avoid. It may make you feel 'green'. Scheele's green was by blending copper and oxygen with arsenious oxide. The latter ingredient is highly toxic—a carcinogen. The colour mimicked the vegetal green found in flora and fauna. It was striking, and a favourite of those who were wealthy in a pre-victorian society as the Industrial Revolution turned the streets ugly and grey. Scheele's green was used in wall coverings, rugs, and textiles. The colour even found its way onto dresses, waistcoats, shoes, gloves, and trousers. By the time governments had gotten around to regulating arsenic in the 1870s, Scheele's green had fallen out of favour. Many had already "wasted away in their sleep", with arsenic poisoning rumoured to have been a contributing factor to the death of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Score: 0/10

The Green Party Green

It's surprisingly difficult to find what shade of green represents the Green Party of Aotearoa, New Zealand. The party may be on the right side of history, but it's unclear whether #49B756 or #004A20 is their official shade of green. Maybe the party's lack of unified branding is why the left is more divided than the right in Aotearoa.

Score: N/A

Army Green

This muddied shade of green, also called Olive Drab, is used by militaries all over the globe. The Second World War and its use by American soldiers popularised it. As camouflage, the colour blends well with most of the world's landscapes and foliage. Even if you wear this shade of green on the battlefield, it might not stop you from dying for 'freedom', 'liberty' or an oil company.

Score: 7/10

Copper Green

Otherwise known as Verdigris, this shade of green, like Scheele's green, is also poisonous. Thankfully, it's not as toxic. Copper green is easily identified, with the colour being responsible for the Statue of Liberty's iconic patena. It's also the colour smeared on your fingers when the cheap rings you bought react to sweat and oxygen. Because of a process called oxidation, over time, copper reacts to water and air, giving the metal its recognizable look. 

Score: 7/10

I'm sorry to disappoint you by not reviewing 50 shades of green for a listicle, as the title suggests. It was clickbait. But if you actually expected me to rank that many shades of green, it's time to realise that life is one long, steady disappointment.


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