Illustrator Robert Osborn couldn’t have known in the early 1970s that Donald Trump would become president. At that point Trump was busy dodging Vietnam.
It’s therefore pretty incredible that today, hours after the New York Times published an op-ed from a Trump staffer claiming to be standing between our deranged president and chaos, I searched “incompetent” on Library of Congress’ website and found, first thing, this 1970-1973 Osborn drawing entitled “The Incompetent Carried by the Underlings.”
There’s no indication the titular incompetent is the President of the United States, but I couldn’t not make the connection, especially after reading this description: “A large, erect, Frankenstein-like creature stand[ing] with arms folded, carried by an army of small men who act as his feet.”
The resemblance is uncanny.
Here’s a detail. I would download a better quality image, but the file is only available at the actual LOC:
I recently celebrated six years since my last alcoholic beverage. Awesome, right?! I think so, especially since I started drinking at age 12 or 13 and by the end of my journey, at age 31, I was waking at 6am just to take a slug of whiskey, of which I drank at least a liter daily before passing out in a puddle of sweat and filth on my frame-less mattress, as I had done the day before, and the one before that, and before that, too. You get the idea.
By the time I hit bottom I was unemployed, kicked out of my apartment and penniless. Luckily, I had friends and family willing to help me down the road to recovery. And now here I am: I have a roof over my head, steady work, a boyfriend and a cat, and, most importantly, an incredible sense of accomplishment for having freed myself from a cycle of shame and regret.
With that in mind, and with discussion that alcohol perhaps played a role in Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain’s suicides, here are five vintage PSAs about alcoholism, all government-issued between 1972 and 1976. Why don’t such things exist today? I haven’t done too much research, but my educated guess is that it has something to do with liquor lobbyists and political persuasion and some agreement that a small “please drink responsibly” print fulfilled the companies’ legal obligations, even though The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found in 2105 that 15.1 million adults suffer from alcoholism in the United States, while 26.9% of adults reported binge drinking that same year.
Meanwhile, alcohol contributes to 88,000 deaths annually, and that’s not counting drunk driving deaths (almost 10,500 in 2017), nor does it consider the contributing role alcohol plays in non-fatal domestic and sexual violence (an estimated 100,000 cases each year). In other words, alcohol has vast destructive potential too often ignored.
If you are struggling with your alcohol usage, please check out Alcoholics Anonymous or another dedicated group. I’m proof that even the most desperate of cases can free themselves from alcohol dependency. It takes hard work and a lot of honesty and you may lose some drinking buddies, but it’s far less than what could be taken from you in the long run: your life.
Anyway, check out these dope alcoholism PSAs, AFTER THE JUMP….
On this date in 1844, Samuel Morse typed out the first telegraph, sending a message from DC to Baltimore: “What hath God wrought?” Quite: we all know the technological revolution would accelerate exponentially in decades ahead, ending with, at the moment, smart phones. Who knows what will be next… Something more inescapable, intrusive and indispensable, that’s for sure.
That said, today’s truncated Found in the LOC is an image of a telegraph repairman doing his thing circa 1862. He’s like a high-tech lumberjack!
(And for more Found in the LOC, click here.)
Last week marked the 83rd anniversary of Franklin Roosevelt creating the Rural Electrification Administration, one the president’s many New Deal efforts to give poor Americans an assist in catching up with urban areas. And as with all such initiatives this one came complete with a series of graphic-driven PSAs like the one above, by Lester Beall.
The unofficial grandfather of modern graphic design, Kansas-born, New York-based Beall broke free from previous realist design rules, toying with perspective, space and planes to create a new, almost collage-like three-dimensionality aimed at eye and heart alike. The designer “must work with one goal in mind—to integrate the elements in such a manner that they will combine to produce a result that will convey not merely a static commercial message, but an emotional reaction as well,” he said.
And it’s this philosophy that garnered Beall a loyal following and booming business over the next decades. While he worked for the government again later, during a Housing Authority campaign against slums, his work in the 1940s was primarily for editorial clients like the Chicago Tribune and Collier’s, the latter of whom he designed the chilling “Will There Be War?” cover featuring Churchill, and corporate entities, including Upjohn Pharmaceutical and Abbott Technologies, for whom he designed corporate magazines. Later, in the 1950s and 1960s, he pioneered modern branding for industrial giants like Caterpillar, Merrill Lynch, and International Paper deploy design to create public personas for themselves. Lester Beall died in 1969, leaving an indelible mark on our visual culture.
After the jump, 15 more Lester Beall posters from his time working for the government, mostly for Roosevelt’s Rural Electrification Program, and all found in the Library of Congress.
And for more “Found in the LOC,” click here.
While Found in the LOC is typically a collection of images found in the Library of Congress’ online archives, today’s is but a link and very brief excerpt to/from the 1901 book Pussy Meow: Autobiography of a Cat.
Dictated to author Louise Patteson as a means of encouraging respect for animals, it’s an endearing tale with an enduring message. A brief taste, from the cat’s perspective:
One morning, when my mother had gone away as usual, I saw some children at play on the sidewalk, and I thought how nice it would be to be with them. It was very naughty for me to think of such a thing, because we had been told never to go outside the yard; and as neither Trix nor Nora would go with me, I went alone.
As soon as I reached the sidewalk, a big black dog came across the street and barked at me. I started to run back through the gate, but it had closed, and I hadn’t time to look for a hole to crawl through. So I ran down the sidewalk, trembling with fright.
When I had run a long way, I went into a yard, but the people there didn’t like cats; a boy was sent to chase me through the gate, and I continued my wearisome journey. How I did wish that somebody would take me up, or show me the way home; but nobody seemed to care what became of me. Finally, being so very tired, I crawled in under a fence, and seeing no one around, I lay down in the corner and went to sleep.
I do not know how long I lay there. When I awoke the moon was shining, and I continued my
journey down the sidewalk, hoping to find my yard. But when after a long walk I didn’t find it, not knowing what else to do, I sat down by a tree and began to cry.
Find out what happens to this erudite cat by checking out the full copy over at the LOC.
Earlier this month, I posted an incredible image of a woman working on B-25 bomber during World War II. That was just one of hundreds such images taken by Office of War Information photographer Alfred T. Palmer, though only a few dozen are color.
Here are 29 of those colorized images, some taken in Long Beach, others in Akron and others in Nashville, all between 1941 and 1943, and all showing how integral women were to the war effort: A quarter of the female population was working either on the home front or as part of the armed services during those years, only to be sent back to the kitchen when the men folk returned. It was an injustice, to be sure, but helped set the stage for the women’s rights movement in the decades ahead.
[That said, had men of that era really respected and appreciated women’s efforts in the war years and kept them on, perhaps the women’s rights movement wouldn’t have been necessary….]
Anyway, check out 28other great images after the jump. I’ve kept commentary to a minimum, but I must say some of the outfits here deserved a shout out. To some, commenting on women’s clothing may seem sexist, but what can I say? I’m a fan of fashion.
Above, a woman working on “Vengeance” dive bomber in Tennessee, 1943.
[And for more Found in the LOC, click here.]