Politics, Technology, and Language

If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought — George Orwell

In case of radiation attack, watch your head

Posted by metaphorical on 13 February 2007

BlueAthena pointed to the site SafeNow.org today. It’s a hilarious reinterpretation of the “universally understood” signs being allegedly used by the Department of Homeland Security’s ready.gov site (though to tell the truth, I can’t find them there).

They actually get funnier as you move down the page. Here’s an example:


After exposure to radiation it is
important to consider that you
may have mutated to gigantic
dimensions: watch your head.

Safe for work, except for the laugh-out-loud-factor.

5 Responses to “In case of radiation attack, watch your head”

  1. ClaireDePlume said

    Hilarious – a great pre-dinner joke to feed my funny bone! Another hilarious thing is that I’ve saved this very piece in my files since August 2003, and one week ago, mentioned it again to a friend. Not that quirky really, except that way back in 2003, after driving 6 hours to see my friend, I pulled a dog-eared copy from my overnight bag and handed it over – before eating, drinking, resting. I can still recall our wild laughter even now. And it was just last week that I wrote to my friend mentioning this very item. Thanks for the refresher, and thanks for prompting me to search my files to rediscover my copy.

    :D Love it!

  2. Chris Clarke pointed out the first of these parodies on a mailing list we both are on back on 21 Feb 2003, which was about 18 hours after ready.gov first appeared.

  3. Blue Athena said

    Some of them are from the high rise brochure:


    Not sure about the rest. Wow, I’d no idea it had been around so long. I just got forwarded the link.

  4. I had no idea either, though I probably did read the Chris Clarke message at the time. It makes sense that they’re buried on the ready.gov site by now. It’s all about the captions, anyway; these wordless “universal” signs are endlessly mockable if you have a mind to, even when not designed by clueless bureaucrats.

  5. Blue Athena said

    I actually thought of commenting to that effect when I posted the link. The truth is, I think the artist is quite good and did a reasonable job with what he or she was asked to do. I have a good deal of respect for technical illustrators. I decided not to with a little guilt because I thought that extra text would detract from the humor. I hope the designer is taking our laughter in stride.

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