Every now and then someone drops a ‘Keep calm and …’ poster on facebook, the backside of their phone, a tee they ware or a bag they drag along with them. I wonder why. I wonder why they want others to stay calm and I wonder why they think staying calm is a positive thing. In fact, when I see one I can rarely stay calm and have a strong tendancy to respond with a big and well meant …
Being a generally kind person I withhold myself from doing so. But not always. Because in my humble opinion a statement like ‘keep calm and be/do/think/say whatever’ statement is patronizing. And I am not the only one. Researchers seem to have found that posters and other crappy goods inspired by the WW2 government poster ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ are not at all creating an atmosphere of upbeat stoicism. A professor Henry Brubaker (I have really no idea who he is) of the Institute for Studies (which probably doesn’t exist) said:
The poster is actually more likely to inspire exasperation, boredom and a sense of living in a hopelessly empty world where nothing means anything any more and all human experience has been reduced to the purchase of trivial nostalgic shite from shops playing Groove Armada CDs.
And I agree with this probably non existing fraud of a professor. The original poster was designed by the British government during World War Two to empower its people while dodging the bombs thrown at them by the Germ(an)s. Which makes me wonder what the effect of staying calm in such a situation would result in. In that type of situation I would certainly not want to stay calm but get the fuck out of there a.s.a.p. before one of these suckers would land on my head and blow me to oblivion. Wherever that may be.
Barter Books from the UK was responsible for rejuvenating the ‘keep calm and carry on’ thing. This little film explains. Looking at it I can only say that apart from this terrible poster thing I do love that bookshop and would certainly love to pay it a visit if I ever get in the vicinity. Probably because of the miniature trains running on tracks above the racks packed with books. I don’t think they play Groove Armada there.
Anywhatsoeverway, nowadays all kinds of people including my dear son are running around with variants of that silly poster on their stuff. Which is equally silly I think.
So my dear keep calm and whatever friends, please indeed keep calm. And fuck off.
Have a nice weekend though. And drink, drive and fuck safely if you have to.
© 2012 Alice Anna Verheij