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Keep calm and carry on?

Sunday, March 22, 2009 by Marianne Elliott

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It's all the rage in the UK, apparently, this wartime slogan of stiff-upper lips and maintaining the status quo. You can buy the poster, the t-shirt, even the coffee cup. Some of my hip friends in New Zealand have gone in for it too.

I can understand the appeal, a message of calm and continuity in a time of uncertainty and change. It just doesn't sit right with me. If we are to "carry on", does that imply that we should carry on 'as we were'? Please, no.

If the terrible suffering now being experienced all over the world, which has been caused by the exposure of the hollow men of Wall St, is to have any silver lining at all it is going to be in the fact that we all say 'no more of this madness'. The way out of this mess surely cannot be by carrying as we were – caught up in a futile and fragile cycle of consuming and discarding.

Keep calm, by all means. But let's not carry on as we were. There is a better way than this old story. Now is the perfect time to start choosing it.


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7 Responses to "Keep calm and carry on?"

  1. Margaret says:

    This totally relates to my reading about cultural citizenship and identity being linked to consumerism and neoliberal economic policy.

  2. Rose says:

    I have to agree – and I think given the scope of the disasters we currently face, and the mood in New York right now, this t shirt might be more appropriate!!:

  3. Harry Rud says:

    Have to say I was rather taken with this. Not reading it as a message to see us through economic collapse etc; more like a line from the Goon Show. Not maintaining the status quo, just not getting stressed out when logisitics goes pear shaped yet again in kabul. Stiff upper lips and tally ho!

  4. Margaret says:

    Suggesting keeping calm, implies that things aren’t calm. It keeps us consuming risk and fear. It’s a great form of control.

  5. susanna says:

    Hmmm…I hadn’t thought of that when looking at this poster but I totally agree with you. We should be demanding accountability and change…that is, if we want a different future.

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