Ryan Mungia's Protect Yourself: Venereal Disease Posters of World War II uncovers many obscure propaganda posters that were, once upon a time, just as popular as the iconic "We Can Do It!" woman.
The posters represent a strange and uneasy attempt to refine wartime propaganda, and their various iterations tell a largely unknown story about sexual mores, puritanical anxiety, and how the establishment reconciled itself to the fact of sex.
The posters scream for themselves. They were the product of antagonistic collaboration between the military, the Surgeon General’s office, and the War Advertising Council, a cabal of New York admen given the task of fine-tuning American propaganda. The near-schizophrenic variety of messages and graphics in this collection reflects the internal conflicts of the U.S. propaganda machine, which was trying to appease several different agendas simultaneously. Few of the posters in Protect Yourself are attributable to specific years, but the book makes it possible to trace multiple evolutions that unfolded during the war. The bold, abstract designs of the Work Projects Administration give way to the straightforward illustrative schemes of the WAC, which resemble advertisements from the pages of Fortune or the Saturday Evening Post. In the parade of captions, you can watch the morphing attitude toward sex education. What begin as concerns over public health—“Whom Have You Exposed To Syphilis? Tell Your Physician, They Should Be Examined; They May Need Treatment”—become manipulations of guilt and shame: “VD Can Be Cured But There’s No Medicine for REGRET.”
Protect Yourself [Sam Sweet/Paris Review]
Protect Yourself: Venereal Disease Posters of World War II
Psych scholars from San Diego State and U Georgia used Google Books to systematically explore the growth of swear-words in published American literature: they conclude that books are getting swearier and that this is a bellwether for a growth in the value of individualism: “Due to the greater valuation of the rights of the individual […]
Back in 2011, The New York Review of Books inducted Daniel Pinkwater’s classic Lizard Music into its canon with a handsome little hardcover edition; today they follow that up with a stylish, jazzy paperback, priced to move at $10.
After years of buzz, the USC Game Innovation Lab finally released Walden: The Game earlier this month, allowing players to immerse themselves in a six-hour experience in which they play Henry David Thoreau on his gripping quest for solitude and mental clarity.
The Pry.Me Bottle Opener holds tens of thousands of times its own weight, and you can pick one up now from the Boing Boing Store.This remarkable keychain is considerably smaller than any of your keys, but don’t let that fool you: it can easily open any bottle, and could even tow a trailer full of […]
Guaranteeing your privacy online goes way beyond checking the “Do Not Track” option in your browser’s settings. To ensure that your internet activity is totally hidden from Internet Service Providers, advertisers, and other prying eyes, take a look at Windscribe’s VPN protection. It usually costs $7.50 per month, but you can get a 3-year subscription […]
This project management bundle will help you get organized and learn how to lead a team to success. You can pay what you want for these five courses when you pick them up from the Boing Boing Store.To help you become an invaluable asset for your company, this bundle includes a curated collection of professional […]