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Monday, November 23, 2009

I knew it!

This ubiquitous poster and indicator of substandard Caucasian interior decorating has a disturbing provenance. It was one of a series of three posters created by the British propaganda office during World War II, and the only one never displayed publicly.

"'The others were 'Freedom is in peril, defend it with all your might' and 'Your courage, your cheerfulness, your resolution will bring us victory.' The government plastered Britain with those two posters. But it held back 'Keep calm' for even more upsetting circumstances.

"'The plan was, it was to be displayed and it was to go up if Germany ever invaded [Britain].'"

It was actually a call for British citizens to submit peacefully to Nazi rule.

[The New York Times]

23 comments:

Robin said...

(shiver)

Thank God they never needed it!

me melodia said...

never did i ever buy this from etsy, frame it in white, hang in my living room.

never did i ever spot it at Zgallierie.

never did I ever step foot in a zgallerie.


(thanks for the great facts btw.)

nkp said...

I don't know what to say.....perhaps they should have kept it locked away in the vault and done us all a favor. Thankfully history averted it's necessity.

ita darling. said...

I always felt this poster was a little sinister. It just doesn't make sense- and it totally fits that drones of folks hung this in their house.. Keep Calm and Carry on? What about Keep on Truckin', Don't Stop Partying?

-susan

drollgirl said...

there is a reason i have always hated this thing! i am smarter than i thought. maybe.

Leigh Chandler said...

I always thought it was from a Monty Python bit, you know where one of the characters dressed in drag as the queen. Now I am horrified that I would have attributed this to one of my all time favorite comedy ensembles!

erin@designcrisis said...

Stoicism confuses me. That's why I hate this poster. I am definitely more in the "spaz the fuck out!!!!!!!" camp.

professor plum said...

In defence.. I bought mine from here for my husband for Christmas 2003 http://www.barterbooks.co.uk it cost less than £5 (I know how to treat my man, eh?) we hung it in the kitchen and it was much admired and loved. Needless to say it ain't in the kitchen any more.. if you look at the website, check out the copyist bit for how it became the twats' badge..

Raina Cox said...

Professor Plum - You receive a decorating pardon if only for using the word "twat" in the comments. Brilliant.

karly / design-crisis.com said...

I'm too tired to migrate over to the new york times... do they happen to mention that the poster is fucking lame no matter what? I hope so.

susieq said...

I'm totally with Erin. All that stiff upper lip stuff drives me crazy. I like the parody poster: Keep Calm and Fake a British Accent.

Lauren said...

oh my gosh that's too funny!!!

griffo68 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
griffo68 said...

Well we may not have been invaded during the war but we have certainly been invaded by thet effin poster! Gggrrrr....

Some of the takes on it are quite amusing...

http://www.artrepublic.com/attachments/image/885/16885/16885.jpeg

http://www.theawl.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/picture-48-200x260.png

Raina Cox said...

Oh, Griffo!!!! I ADORE the second one.

eva ravenstein said...

ha! i love this information, thank you!
(i do like the second one about courage and cheerfulness though...damn, must start printing immediately:)

Raina Cox said...

Hello Eva and welcome to this deliciousness!

House of Slappy said...

We will not submit peacefully to that poster!

Designers' Brew said...

OMG this reminds me that I have to do my post about the spoofs! Coming right up.

christie said...

Just discovered your blog today and love it! Last month I actually wrote an almost exact same post on my blog regarding the same article - so happy to finally have a valid reason to despise those posters aside from just being annoyed by them!

Raina Cox said...

Christie - Hello and welcome to this deliciousness!

Amy said...

The provenance of the poster has long been known. It's fine to hate the poster because you think it's too common, ugly, or stiff upper lippy, but the article didn't say "It was actually a call for British citizens to submit peacefully to Nazi rule."

Its point was that people should carry on with their life and duties should Germany have invaded their homeland instead of freaking out and panicking.

Raina Cox said...

Amy - How is "carry[ing] on with their life and duties" different from peaceful submission?