Keep calm and carry on...

BoogieBoogie Shipmate
edited October 3 in Purgatory
This has been a ‘British’ trope for many a year.

Keep Calm and Carry On was a motivational poster produced by the British government in 1939 in preparation for World War II. The poster was intended to raise the morale of the British public, threatened with widely predicted mass air attacks on major cities. It has been used in posters and memes ever since.

The present political climate seems to have forgotten how to keep calm. Screaming and shouting and upping the ante seems to be the way everyone is beginning to behave.

Across the pond the POTUS himself is using ‘tactics’ of fear and confusion, gaslighting and rage.

Politicians stir up fear then promise ‘safety’ to win votes.

When will calm return to our political discourse?

Is social media to blame?

What can we do to counteract this trend?

Are there any signs of hope and/or a move back to calm discourse?

Comments

  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    edited October 3
    Just as an observation, but you can get an inaccurate idea of a nation's collective character by analyzing their self-flattering slogans. The people allegedly governed by "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" are also the ones who have made "There oughta be a law against that!!" a standard response to eccentric behavior.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    Very true @stetson . Yet, in this age of social media slogans, sound bites and memes seem to be preferred method of communication.
  • BlahblahBlahblah Shipmate
    There is a time to keep calm. And there is a time to panic.

    The mistake is to assume that the correct response should always be to calmly accept whatever is happening.
  • Douglas Adams borrowed a famous saying from a famous TV butcher and Home Front soldier which is particularly good advice for Britons and Americans at present.
  • I recommend this series. Specifically I suggest the episode on stoicism.
  • I'll check that out Doublethink, it looks good. Meanwhile for those who only have 3 minutes in a break at work...
  • ooh, that looks good. Andy Zaltzman funny bloke.
  • Now I don’t think this is the moment for keeping calm and carrying on and taking the whole thing lying down. I think it is the moment for taking to the streets in a spirit of furious, vociferous protest. I grant this is a different thing to panic.

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: imagine how the French would have reacted to the Brexit omnishambles, and you suddenly realise how docile the British have been.
  • As Boogie notes, the 'Keep Calm' posters were drawn during the early part of WW2, but we're in fact never used. They were intended to be deployed only in the even that the UK was invaded by Nazi Germany - knowing what had happened in other occupied territories when the civilian population opposed Nazi policies. Mainland Britain never was invaded, and the posters were never used. Only recently were they rediscovered, and the legend 'Keep calm and .....' advocating everything from tea drinking to anal sex on posters, mugs key rings and anything else you can imagine now appear everywhere - few of these objects are more than a decade old.

    Simon Toad linked to the immensely popular Dads Army by Croft and Parry - UK shipmates will probably be familiar with the catchy opening song of the show, 'Who do you think you are kidding Mr Hittler, if you think old England's done?' This prompted floods of memories of people singing the song during the War seated around the home fires and in air raid shelters. In fact Croft and Perry had written the song specifically for the show, which did not air until the late 1960s. Even public statements by Bud Flanagan, who sang the song, and had been a popular singer during WW2 did not pursuance people that their fond memories were false.

    There's surely a lesson here about how we've ended up in some of the messes we're currently in
  • Personally I think this is more a time for the "mad as hell" speech from Network.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    edited October 3
    What do you think of this opinion?

    He’s saying that outrage plays into the demagogue’s hands and that we should -
    Never get drawn into a shouting match, however offensive the other person might be. Don’t be distracted by attempts to manufacture outrage: bring the conversation back to the topics you want to discuss. We should emulate the calm strength with which Greta Thunberg responds to the tidal wave of nastiness she faces: “As you may have noticed, the haters are as active as ever – going after me, my looks, my clothes, my behaviour and my differences ... But don’t waste your time giving them any more attention.”
  • I agree Boogie. I think the Americans are very lucky to have Nancy Pelosi at this moment, an experienced presence radiating calm.

    Is there a similar politician in Britain? I don't really follow British politics. There's a Tory called Hammond who might fit the bill, but he doesn't have Pelosi's power. Possibly the Speaker is analogous, but I don't warm to Berkow.

  • Boogie wrote: »
    What do you think of this opinion?

    He’s saying that outrage plays into the demagogue’s hands and that we should -
    Never get drawn into a shouting match, however offensive the other person might be. Don’t be distracted by attempts to manufacture outrage: bring the conversation back to the topics you want to discuss. We should emulate the calm strength with which Greta Thunberg responds to the tidal wave of nastiness she faces: “As you may have noticed, the haters are as active as ever – going after me, my looks, my clothes, my behaviour and my differences ... But don’t waste your time giving them any more attention.”

    Well, I think it's a good point. But it takes two to tango. If you're involved in one side of a discussion, the other party is also civilised and the abusive party is a third party, then it's easy to take no notice. If the person directly hurling abuse at you is the party you need to deal with, then it's more difficult.
  • Simon Toad wrote: »
    I agree Boogie. I think the Americans are very lucky to have Nancy Pelosi at this moment, an experienced presence radiating calm.

    Is there a similar politician in Britain? I don't really follow British politics. There's a Tory called Hammond who might fit the bill, but he doesn't have Pelosi's power. Possibly the Speaker is analogous, but I don't warm to Berkow.

    Hammond is a turd who only looks slightly polished because he winds up Boris. Margaret Beckett, at a pinch.
  • Simon Toad wrote: »
    Possibly the Speaker is analogous, but I don't warm to Berkow.

    Berkow is a complete arse. Even when I think he's right, he's an arse about it. Arse is basically his entire character.

    I'm not sure I can help much with your search for an experienced rational calm pair of hands in contemporary British politics. Margaret Beckett? Maybe, but it's an awfully small pinch. I've got a bit of a soft spot for Frank Field, but I'd hardly cast him in this role.
  • HugalHugal Shipmate
    Hillary Benn?
  • EirenistEirenist Shipmate
    'If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you . . .'
    . . . then you probably haven't the faintest idea what's going on.
    Not mine, I'm afraid.
  • Hugal wrote: »
    Hillary Benn?

    The problem with Benn is the likelihood that he finds a way to abuse his position to mount yet another coup attempt against the Labour leadership.
  • I think Hammond has only come to my notice since Boris became PM. Possibly why I missed that he was a turd. If you don't make it to Dead Ringers, you don't make it to me, in terms of British Politics, sad to say.
  • There was another contemporaneous poster of similar design which I have a print of. Far more appropriate.

    “Freedom is in peril. Defend it with all your might.”
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    As a schoolteacher I sometimes had to keep calm in the face of rage. This was from parents, not children.

    It becomes second nature not to rise to it.

    I’m sure other people who work with people are just the same. Call centre workers and paramedics come to mind.
  • The trick, which I don't manage, is to resist responding to rage in kind whilst at the same time opposing the underlying message. The constant deluge of anti-immigrant propaganda needs to be opposed: how do we do this without getting angry at those who promote it? Espeically in a world where all politics are identity politics, i.e. where everyone is personally invested in their views and treats any challenge like an attack on their person?
  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    Robertus L wrote: »
    <snip> the legend 'Keep calm and .....' advocating everything from tea drinking to anal sex on posters, mugs key rings and anything else you can imagine now appear everywhere - few of these objects are more than a decade old.
    <snip>
    [Tangent]
    A restaurant in Boston displayed my favorite version of this: "Keep calm and carry out."
    [/Tangent]
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    edited October 12
    The trick, which I don't manage, is to resist responding to rage in kind whilst at the same time opposing the underlying message. The constant deluge of anti-immigrant propaganda needs to be opposed: how do we do this without getting angry at those who promote it? Espeically in a world where all politics are identity politics, i.e. where everyone is personally invested in their views and treats any challenge like an attack on their person?

    Yes.

    I replied to a ‘funny’ Brexit meme with an anti Brexit one of my own. The reaction was extreme. So I tried to talk rationally about the way we both, by and large, live in echo chambers and that these memes probably aren’t helpful.

    No dice - she decided I was a horrible unpatriotic disrespectful person for being anti Brexit and she wouldn’t engage rationally at all. She just let out a torrent of verbal abuse which really took me aback.

    I lost a customer as she used to buy a lot of our wooden carvings which we sell in our little cottage industry.

    Ho hum.



  • tclune wrote: »
    Robertus L wrote: »
    <snip> the legend 'Keep calm and .....' advocating everything from tea drinking to anal sex on posters, mugs key rings and anything else you can imagine now appear everywhere - few of these objects are more than a decade old.
    <snip>
    [Tangent]
    A restaurant in Boston displayed my favorite version of this: "Keep calm and carry out."
    [/Tangent]

    I have a t-shirt based on an IT Crowd episode which reads "Keep Calm and Dial 89753045230143528" (or something)
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