On the Bandwagon

KOI didn’t know where it came from either, but it was suddenly everywhere—posters, shirts, mugs, e-cards in all forms, modifications and spoofs.

Of course, my interest was piqued because it contains “My Theme” so I wanted to be in the know.

First, I made the mistake of asking people.

Here are some explanations I got:

“I think it’s something Margaret Thatcher said when she was queen and since she just died they’re bringing it back in her honor.”

“It’s something to do with Princess Kate’s pregnancy. It’s like her soothing mantra to prepare for childbirth.”

“It was the London Olympic theme.”

Nobody knew, even though most people admitted they’d used it, posted it, pinned it, shared it, or spoofed in some form or another.

We’re such trend junkies.

We don’t care why or how something catches on, we just want to be in the haps so we jump on the bandwagon.

I’m still scratching my head about the popularity of “Gangnam Style.”

That guy is a total creeper.

Anywho, from the moment I saw “Keep Calm and Carry On,” I had big plans to make my own “Kari On” version of it, but I did want to be informed about its origin so when people asked me about where it came from I didn’t have to say, “It’s what Prince Henry chants to himself everyday to keep his inferior complex at bay.”

So, here’s the basic 411 on “Keep Calm and Carry On”:

During World War II the British Government formed the Ministry of Information as the department responsible for publicity. This department was appointed to design a number of morale boosting posters to be displayed across the country during the challenging war times.

The posters were required to be simple, bold in color, similar in style, and feature the symbolic crown of King George VI. Two posters, “Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution will Bring Us Victory” and “Freedom is in Peril” had already been produced and posted across Britain. The third poster of “Keep Calm and Carry On” was printed, but only to be issued upon the invasion of Germany on Britain. Since this never occurred, the poster was never officially seen by the public.

It’s believed most of the “Keep Calm” posters were destroyed at the end of the war in 1945. Then, almost sixty years later, a bookseller stumbled across a copy hidden amongst a pile of dusty old books bought from an auction. A small number also remain in the National Archives and the Imperial War Museum in London, and 15 more were discovered in the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow by a woman whose father served as a member of the Royal Observer Corps.

Of course, there’s a big copyright battle going on about it.

The bookseller who found and displayed the first poster got permission from the British government to reprint it, but he didn’t bother to properly copyright it, so you can guess what’s happened. It’s definitely not “Kept Calm.”

While a bunch of profit-mongers battle it out, the world’s gone ballistic with this iconic saying in their own way and in all forms and formats.

So, I figured, why not jump on?

I like bandwagon rides.

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