• Steven Heller

Game of Flags: American Flag Propaganda

Poor Old Glory has been a staple of propaganda posters for as long as anyone (well, anyone standing around me at the moment) can recall. American Flag propaganda is having its symbolic moment again, brought back as the object of hatred in anti-American propaganda in a certain small nation dictated by a certain Glorious Leader. In February 2013, NPR ran a story by Scott Neuman that begins: “Ahead of North Korea’s latest nuclear test, the country launched a preemptive barrage of propaganda aimed at the West. But in the age of the Internet, has such ham-fisted messaging lost its punch?”

The ham in question is a crude video that has all the rancor and melodrama of the old style poster below, with less artistry. But it is reminiscent of a certain American TV commercial. Still, I was interested to hear Louisa Lim’s report on NPR regarding the lack of outward signs of aggressive propaganda in the streets of Pyongyang. Listen here.

North Korea today.

United States, 1917.

United States, 1944.

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