Thursday, 25 June 2015
Children's Nuclear Warning Poster (1979)
In the late 1970s the nuclear arms race was almost as popular as squash.
On the face of it, Scarfolk council wanted to prepare children for the probability of a nuclear strike by Russia, China or the Shetland Islands without unduly frightening them with words and phrases such as 'apocalypse' and 'modicum of extinction'.
In 1979 the council produced a poster campaign which substituted negative words for more pleasant, child-friendly ones. 'Flopsy Bunny', for example, became a euphemism for 'the complete annihilation of the known world'.
However, the government's true motive for the campaign became clear later that year when it adopted a cute, long-eared rabbit as its mascot in civic literature and public information films. It also vigorously promoted a soft-toy 'Flopsy Bunny', as well as a fluffy, nuclear mushroom cloud called Arthur.
In the run up to Christmas children begged their parents and Santa Claus for the aforementioned playthings and there were even riots in Scarfolk toy shops.
This bait-and-switch permitted the council to take the population's desire for 'Flopsy Bunny' (or total annihilation depending on one's interpretation) as consent to proceed with its plans to build a nuclear missile silo cum leisure centre below Scarfolk primary school. The Parent-Teacher Association at first protested the project but withdrew when they were given free sauna passes.