Saturday, February 27, 2010

Anti-American Art: Tiny Tiny Enemies

Today a special double feature. Look closer at these 1950s Chinese health posters (click to enlarge). In the top poster, a resolute mother is determined to defend her children....from a US bomb full of disease-bearing bugs. In the second, vaccination is urged as protection from the creepy Westerner who fills up a bomb with disease-laden mosquitos, flies and rats. When it comes to paranoia about germ warfare, I'm not one to say never. Given the reputed intentional distribution of smallpox-ridden blankets to Native Americans by United States settlers, germ warfare before the term was even invented, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that cold war scientists cooked up ways to distribute contagion to the "Reds." On the other hand, paranoia is quite a tool for keeping people on your own side. I wonder what the truth was behind these posters.

I found these scans on the amazing CultureGems gallery site.

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