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“Keeping the public informed since the 20th Century”
September 22, 2012 5:03 AM   Subscribe

From 1915-2003, the National Office of Importance carried out its statutory public duty “to inform, insist and admonish” on behalf of the British Government.

Seen by some as a necessary conduit, and derided by others (notably the formidable editor of The Times, Auberondley Handelsman, who memorably dubbed it “a zoo of nannybodies, nincomboobs, whows, bingo-morts, gundiguts, mopsies and trotterclouts given inexplicable charge of a printing press”) many of its campaigns and much of its publicity material has now become as fondly-remembered a part of the cultural landscape as coddled eggs and transistorised wainscotting.
posted by MartinWisse (23 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
I think recent history shows what a terrible error it was to dissolve this august body - now irrelevance has found its way to the very heart of our national political life with the Lib Dems in government.
posted by Abiezer at 5:15 AM on September 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


We sat in our office, my staff and I, on the first day of Summer, waiting for the telephone to ring, hot with complaint and inquiry. Came there of either none.

That second sentence there is a thing of beauty.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:42 AM on September 22, 2012 [14 favorites]


MetaFilter: ....no, it's just too easy.
posted by DU at 5:47 AM on September 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


I was a bit too young to understand, but I remember all the fuss about the introduction of summertime.
I hope they post more of these. The English have done such daft things in the past, and it's well to be reminded of them.
posted by Flashman at 5:51 AM on September 22, 2012


Of all the peoples in the world, surely only the British could be trusted with End of the World failsafe buttons. Good thing there were no untimely heart attacks.
posted by Malor at 6:05 AM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


The English have done such daft things in the past, and it's well to be reminded of them.

posted by Flashman


Eponysterical.
posted by acb at 6:16 AM on September 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


MartinWisse: This is great, but how on earth did you find it?
posted by Leon at 6:19 AM on September 22, 2012


B&T, best blog ever? :)
posted by Isn't in each artist (7) at 6:21 AM on September 22, 2012


For a brand new blog with only five entries under its belt, it's an impressive start.

Shades of a certain poster found in Barter Books a decade ago. We should see the knock-off range of tea-towels, mugs and cushion covers soon. "No-body is interested in your dreams. Keep them to your-self and carry on."
posted by rory at 6:35 AM on September 22, 2012


Gotta get me some o' that transistorised wainscotting.

It'll go nicely with the atonal apples and amplified heat I copped off that warthog in the shop 'round the corner.
 
posted by Herodios at 6:45 AM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love this idea. In fact, along the same lines as David Letterman's American Foundation for Courtesy and Grooming, I have dreamed of a) becoming rich and b) starting a foundation whose sole mission is to admonish the public into behaving more politely. Sort of like privately funded public service announcements. Things like "Don't pass on the right!" and "Please don't stand so close when waiting in line. Breathing down my neck and making lip-smackey noises won't make time pass any more quickly."
posted by gjc at 7:19 AM on September 22, 2012


Metafilter: a zoo of nannybodies, nincomboobs, whows, bingo-morts, gundiguts, mopsies and trotterclouts.

I just love these polite insults.

/Yes, it was too easy. But I did it. And you can't stop me.
posted by Mezentian at 7:23 AM on September 22, 2012


Auberondley Handelsman ... a zoo of nannybodies, nincomboobs, whows, bingo-morts, gundiguts, mopsies and trotterclouts ... coddled eggs and transistorised wainscotting

Okay, is this the script of an alternate version of the RAF banter sketch?
posted by Pyrogenesis at 7:31 AM on September 22, 2012


I realise it's Saturday, but just a heads up old chums, there's a bit of the old Gordon Tipple for the “Crackers aren’t just for Christmas,” 1985" sections and it might be a tad NSFW.
posted by Mezentian at 7:50 AM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


...a zoo of nannybodies, nincomboobs, whows, bingo-morts, gundiguts, mopsies and trotterclouts...

'Tomnoddies', too?
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 8:06 AM on September 22, 2012


This reminds one that the department of Social Scrutiny is still doing sterling public service.
posted by wilko at 8:23 AM on September 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


so the Monty Python government skits were basically like shooting fish in a barrel because the UK government writes it's own parodies.
posted by liza at 8:35 AM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I enjoy the earnest replies to this.
posted by subbes at 8:48 AM on September 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


so the Monty Python government skits were basically like shooting fish in a barrel because the UK government writes it's own parodies.
Though these posters are parody/satire, some early post-war information campaigns were almost as surreal:

"Don't store coal in the bath!"
"Wash your children at least once a week!"
"Don't use your doors as firewood!"
"Children grow healthier with shoes!"
posted by Jehan at 9:19 AM on September 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


"Children grow healthier with shoes!"

Hmm, I dunno about you, but I prefer children with regular feet.
posted by Malor at 12:56 PM on September 22, 2012


Remember Charles Dickens' "Department of Circumlocution." I wonder if he was the first to publicly parody the British Gov't in that way? Some of my favorites are Dickens' fake names for British politicians in the British Gov't that appear in 'Bleak House.' Little appears to have changed in British politics since that book appeared in 1852.
posted by Galadhwen at 3:27 PM on September 22, 2012


I enjoy the earnest replies to this.

This is to be expected, historically. 'Earnest' replies were of course the standardized, trained WWII replies to any counterintelligence agency that all British personnel had to learn. The "Earnest reply", named after earl Earnest W. Llowellynshire, became both a sign of heroism for British troops, and an endless source of frustration for the Nazi intelligence corps. To this day, Britain can be proud for always giving the highly misleading "Earnest" reply to any Nazi collaborator. Go Britain!
posted by Pyrogenesis at 3:58 PM on September 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


mmm, wainscotting
posted by devious truculent and unreliable at 5:44 AM on September 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


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