After the post about British wartime posters I came across a limited but great collection of American ones at Northwestern University Library. As the site describes it,
these posters represent the government's effort, through art, illustration, and photographs, to pull the American people together in a time of adversity for the country and its population.The only time in recent era I've felt American people "pulling together" was in the stunned aftermath of 9/11, and in a very different way, in rallying behind Barack Obama. Americans need some commonality to counterbalance the puerile "its a free country I can do what I want" reflex. I fear the country is stuck in polarity and atomizing. As Sophie Munns puts it in a comment here:
there are times for distinct messages to be put to the public reminding us of that working together for the greater good is critical - even though the "greater good scenarios" are immensely complex and global nowNot that posters could accomplish this in 2009 but a creative effort deploying ads and youtube with content created by different independent artists and small design studios might be worthwhile. (I've long thought that someone should do a pro bono ad campaign for fruit aimed at children). Alas, there's so much crap bombarding us perhaps there's no mental bandwidth to absorb civics reminders...
some random thoughts:
"Scrap" is astonishing—why the US gov't appropriated a very European fascist graphic idiom is mysterious but effective.
"United we win" is very poignant.... civil rights still had decades to go
I particularly respond to "Is your trip necessary" and "Do with less" philosophically — I could see these working today: "Leave the car at home: Walk it", and "Do with less" needs to be posted at every Costco, Walmart and Olive Garden Never-Ending Pasta Bowl and Salad bar...