US Anti-Espionage Posters
April 18, 2005 11:36 AM   Subscribe

Loose lips sink ships!!!1 (There be images, some quite big here) I suspect a lot of MeFi shares my obsession with propaganda (and propaganda-style) posters, both domestic and foreign, as well as the photoshops that the Something Awful or Fark crowds generate. CoolGov has a link today to the Office of the National National Counterintelligence Executive and their Anti-Espionage poster collection. Some are great, some are almost pure propaganda, and some show how obsessed with secrecy our government has become. That lead me to Google to look for posters on the *.gov and *.mil domains. Check out the posters for "Venemous Snakes of Afghanistan and Pakistan", or what the well dressed airmen is wearing (*note the "Essentials"), posters from the NOAA telling you that "lightning kills", the Code of Ethics for Government Officers and Employees, and this one telling GI's why smoking could kill them.
posted by rzklkng (22 comments total)
Fantastic idea to search for that stuff, and great post. I love the venomous snakes, and those cafepress posters are priceless. I did a report on these back in high school and saw sooo many of these classic posters - the art style is unmistakable and the messages are straightforward.


No mixed messages there.
It's cool to see media that is only intended for enlisted soldiers, too - like a grunt's handbook or that well-dressed airlady.
GIS search for "propaganda" or "propaganda posters" yields a lot of great results like this, this(wow), and this. The wikipedia article has lots of examples too.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 12:38 PM on April 18, 2005

Award Winning?

The more modern posters are horribly designed...
posted by lyam at 12:54 PM on April 18, 2005

[this is good]

Thank you rzklkng...I'll likely spend hours wandering around in there...
posted by schyler523 at 1:08 PM on April 18, 2005

On a similar tip check out these GI pamphlets (with lots of background info to boot).

And when it comes to photoshop fun with propaganda images, I think that the Worth 1000 users do it better than the Something Awful and Fark folks.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 1:31 PM on April 18, 2005

Those posters in the first link are downright creepy.
"Observe and report?"
Big Brother is calling.
posted by bashos_frog at 1:39 PM on April 18, 2005

Damn, I can't find a single instance of the national lampoon poster "Loose Tits Sink Ships", nor do I have a copy to scan in myself.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:50 PM on April 18, 2005

Slack-a-gogo: Absolute brilliance. This one ate up my afternoon - ack! My wife is due home from work any minute and I haven't even done the dishes!

rzklkng - Thanks for posting this!
posted by Baby_Balrog at 1:55 PM on April 18, 2005

Man, those posters suck.

At least the ones from WWII and such had a bit of cleverness to them. Usually.
posted by Target Practice at 2:25 PM on April 18, 2005

Whoever designed this one needs to be beaten to death with an "irony" stick.
posted by clevershark at 3:02 PM on April 18, 2005

God, you're right, Target Practice - that's gotta be one of the most boring and cliched uses of Photoshop ever.

Slack-a-gogo, you really should post that GI pamphlets link to the front page sometime soon; it's fantastic.
posted by mediareport at 3:22 PM on April 18, 2005

Most of those aren't even tolerable to look at. BlackLeotard's links are worth looking at. What good is a poster made by my boss' nephew's girlfriend if it gives me a seizure? Unless, of course, that is the ultimate goal.
posted by gunthersghost at 3:27 PM on April 18, 2005

Wow. We're not even trying anymore, are we. I remember seeing a poster exhibit at the V&A about ten years ago, and some of the posters were so visceral, like a slap in the face, even though I was years past the intended audience. These modern ones seem to say nothing beyond "We have allocated funds to create propaganda posters."

It's not American, but I've always liked the British WWII "Careless Talk Costs Lives" series by Fougasse, like this one. All the little Hitlers seem like inappropriately cute vermin.

Also, I know it's been linked here before, but the online exhibit on Sex and Propaganda (NSFW) is a good example of how nasty this art can be. We're having our way with your womenfolk! Neener neener.
posted by bibliowench at 3:44 PM on April 18, 2005

Great first post..well researched.Cheers
posted by kenaman at 3:56 PM on April 18, 2005

This is awesome. This is what everyone's first post should look like.
posted by klangklangston at 4:14 PM on April 18, 2005

I can't tell the site is facetious or not. The mark of great good irony, i suppose.
posted by TheStorm at 6:16 PM on April 18, 2005

Great post.
posted by blacklite at 9:03 PM on April 18, 2005

excellent stuff--thanks!
posted by amberglow at 9:07 PM on April 18, 2005

Excellent Post
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:34 PM on April 18, 2005

Yeah... that stuff is pretty weird.

'Course, keep in mind that posters are no loner the main way that the government reaches out to people., for instance, is a new pro-abstinence site created by the Department of Health and Human Services.
posted by ph00dz at 6:19 AM on April 19, 2005

This one really creeps me out, especially calling for the "blood of patriots" (and tyrants) to refresh the tree of liberty.
posted by illovich at 7:31 AM on April 19, 2005

rzklkng, this is an amazing first post. Thank you for taking the time to build it and share it with us.

My personal romance with propaganda posters (vintage, that is -- I agree with bibliowench's comment above that "we're not even trying any more") began in the 1980's when I was living and going to school in England and a local museum was hosting an exhibit of classic Soviet posters, which they were advertising by hanging replicas of the banners and posters all over this lovely and historic English city. The dissonance was amazing, and yet it made it much easier to picture the city during WWII, when seeing undisguised propaganda would have been the norm.
posted by anastasiav at 7:37 AM on April 19, 2005

"But women are not made only for having babies. They have hands and brains and even in a man-made world have acquired innumerable skills. Women, therefore, have capacity for a work function similar to that of men."

posted by five fresh fish at 11:22 AM on April 19, 2005

« Older motion induced blindness   |   Kinematic Models Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments