This blog covers everything except sports and gardening, unless we find a really good link about using dead professional bowlers for mulch. The author is a StarTribune columnist, has been passing off fiction and hyperbole as insight since 1997, has run his own website since the Jurassic era of AOL, and was online when today’s college sophomores were a year away from being born. So get off his lawn.

Keep Calm and Stop Making Those Posters

Posted by: James Lileks Updated: June 27, 2014 - 12:18 PM

It’s the 75th anniversary of a nice piece of design which was ruined by overuse. That "Keep Calm and Carry On" poster.  New Statesman:

So here we have a poster that was not even used for its original purpose during the war yet has seen mass popularity upon its rediscovery. The timeless nature of the stylistic and predominantly textual design goes some way towards explaining this. Another reason might be to do with its message of sober restraint, which chimes with expectations about the history of World War II.

Here’s the kicker: it wasn’t used during WW2. The government thought it was too “mundane.” There were two other posters in the series, which people forget about. 

They’re the Gummo and Zeppo of war posters.

SHANEISMS Stop doing that, Shane. - The Management. (Provided in case the idea breaks out into the mainstream and you have to explain it to someone. 

ART Uh huh. Right. Yep. Art. Atlantic:

On the third floor the Museum of Modern Art, in New York City, if you go to the bank of windows overlooking 54th Street and then turn right, you will find some synthetic sweat. The liquid, stored in a short glass vial, mimics the perspiration of cage fighters—collected just after a bout and chemically analyzed using a technique known as gas chromatography. It is slightly viscous. It is slightly yellow. It is slightly disgusting.

Which is the point. The vial is part of Design and Violence, an installation co-produced by Jamer Hunt and Paola Antonelli, one of MoMA’s most prominent, and provocative, curators. As a physical representation of some of humanity’s most enduring features—sex, aggression, smelliness—the bottle’s manufactured contents are both entirely and not at all natural. “We wanted objects that have an ambiguous relationship with violence,” Antonelli says.

Well.

So we're back to collecting gladiator sweat, I guess. At another institution devoted to cultural relics, there’s a problem:

With more than 5 million items, it's an impressive collection. There's just one problem: Despite the best efforts of preservationists, some of them are physically decaying and in danger of being lost forever.

"Any physical artifact is just that, a physical artifact," said Mike Mashon, head of the Library of Congress' moving image section. "These things can shrink, they can fade, they can crumble to dust in less than a lifetime.”

They’re films and audio files and old TV shows. It’s difficult to get attention for these things.  A commercial for dishwashing liquid may tell us something about the mores and styles of the mid-50s, but it lacks an ambiguous relationship with violence.

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