Thursday, October 28, 2010

Managing the message of sacrifice and economic austerity

What do we need to spur us on when asked to sacrifice and tighten our belts for the greater good?   A good slogan, of course.  Cultural voyeur Dr. Meg Harper, now of Limerick, Ireland, and Limerick University, offers this:

"I'm seriously committed to informing you all about the culture here, as you know. I've recently found a way to encapsulate Irish attitudes towards the current economic and political troubles. In England (and Northern Ireland), there's a resurgence of (commercially inspired) interest in a slogan and poster that was printed and put up all over Britain in 1939. On a red background, simple white letters read "Keep Calm and Carry On." 

She goes on to say, "I recently saw an Irish equivalent, which I'm enclosing for your edification."

Thanks Meg!  This speaks volumes, and just as the Irish equivalent might confuse or scandalize Americans I suppose we need a uniquely American version.   Let me leap into the fray and offer two (tongue in cheek) American options. 

Or perhaps this...with a nod to our French comrades:


If you have a alternative or perhaps a suggestion for a more positive message, please speak up.   I would love to hear your suggestions.


Ano said...

One thing I find especially disheartening about the nasty and devisive tone that political and social discourse is taking is that it seems to indicate that, despite being a self professed land of ideals, we are so quick to through away our core values of decency and respect when the economy turns sour. I understand that loosing a job is unsettling, and leaves you exceedingly vulnerable. But is it so terrible that you are compelled to abandon all the social, religious and familial teachings that have urged us to simply keep it civil?

Or am I wrong to assume that we've been that civil and idealistic in the past? Do economic downturns make Americans feel so threatened that it's time to throw down the gauntlet, lock and load, and barricade the door? Would the tone be any better if we had basic guaranteed social safety nets? More civics lessons in school?

A recent political ad lambasted a candidate for supporting "Nancy Pelosi's government take-over of healthcare" and, in the same breathe, for "cutting Medicare spending by $500 billion." That seems like completely illogical criticism, if you are against "government take-over of healthcare" wouldn't you support Medicare cuts?

There are plenty other examples that seem to suggest that we are loosing all perspective and sense of rational thinking. So yes, some marketing to let us know that it's all going to be ok, to play nice, be civil and not poke each others eyes out in rash arguments about how the future looks seems appropriate!

Meg Harper said...

From Meg Harper,

Wonderful! I saw a poster today that read, "Keep Calm and Buy Shoes" and another that read "Keep Calm and Eat Cupcakes." Rick says the American one should go "Stay Afraid and Go Shopping."

More soon. I love you.

Unknown said...

Speaks volumes about our national persona.
Speaking of this we (Natalya and I) are off to the Rally to Restore Sanity in Washington DC. We had to go and will take pictures. It is an antidote to all the hateful division speech. We are really giving some thought to our sign or buttons. Maybe they will say "Listen nicely".