What We Talk About When We Talk About Syphilis

Here’s twenty anti-syphilis posters from the 1940’s.

And, to see how far public service design standards have fallen in the past 60 years, here’s Phil the Sore, Los Angeles county’s recently discontinued anti-syphilis spokesore:

To see this trend in a less venereal-based format, just consider and compare the art deco overpasses along Connecticut’s Merritt Parkway, built by the WPA during the Great Depression, with any modern highway overpass. Of course, nowadays, you’re much less likely to contract polio or the smallpox or to get yourself lynched, so I ain’t sweating it too hard. But still, it would be nice if Congress would pass some kind of “Make Things Look Cool Again” legislation.

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