Thursday, 4 January 2018
'Loose Tongues' Public Information (1977)
When this poster was distributed by Scarfolk Council in 1977, many people were concerned that they did not understand the poster's message correctly and were thus at risk of unintentionally breaking the law by either talking or not talking about it.
Worried citizens gathered in secret to discuss the poster campaign. Knowing that most homes contained surveillance devices, they debated the poster non-verbally, using hand gestures. Unbeknownst to the clandestine groups, however, specially-trained police mime experts had infiltrated the meetings and reported everything they saw to Scarfolk's police commissioner who, keen to outdo his predecessor's record, had created the public information campaign to boost arrest numbers.
Telephone helplines were set up to provide legal aid to the many who were accused of talking (and not talking) and faced punitive tongue removal. Although the legal experts who manned the lines were not permitted to speak, they were authorised to offer advice via the medium of mime.