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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Keep Calm, Carry On, in 21st Century

I first noticed the "Keep Calm and Carry On" posters with their distinctive red crown when we began visiting my stepdaughter Jeni in London in the mid-aughts. By then, the posters were already being parodied: "Keep Calm and Get a Pedicure," "Keep Calm and Drink Vodka." This YouTube video explains the poster's moving significance, as one of three commissioned by the British government in 1939, to offer reassurance to the population for the ordeal that lay ahead. The other two posters ("Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution will Bring Us Victory" and "Freedom is in Peril, Defend It With All Your Might") were actually distributed, but the third never was.

In 2000, the owner of Barter Books in England found the posters in a box of dusty books bought at auction, and framed one. Customers clamored to buy them, and an iconic poster was re-born for the 21st century.

With Britain's leaders anxious to demonstrate their deep empathy about the plight of the country's flood victims bashing about the country in wellies, politics.co.uk is a tad put off, finding such behavior "deeply un-British:" "Whatever happened to "keep calm and carry on?"  -- Barbara Bedway    (h/t @ConnieSchultz)

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