Chinese Christian Poster Project History 241000

Alexander Basinger

Overview Of Three 'Evils' Posters

The reason why I chose these three posters was because they had an overarching theme to them, and I read all three posters as a type of story with the same man in all three pictures. In the drinking poster is starting well of in life but is perhaps stressed over something so to relieve himself he turns to drinking. The second poster is where her lost a lot of money to his drinking problem and he turns to gambling to get the former wealth he had back. The drug poster is the man at his lowest, so he turns to drugs to relieve the pain that he feels from all the mistakes he made. The only question that arises when I see all three posters together like this is where these posters paced in the same areas or were each poster placed in certain areas to target a certain people with this habit? These poster all lack a Christian theme to them making it seem like they were more for promoting problems within Chinese society by missionaries, instead of being about converting to Christianity to save their souls. These poster are used by the Baptist Publication Society to spread a message to avoid excessive drinking, also to completely remove both gambling and drugs form your life; then there is a possibility that you could live a good life.  

The Evils of Drinking

This poster exhibits an anthropomorphic bottle of a Chinese alcoholic beverage, most likely sake, with a snake coming out of the top. The alcohol is also dragging a man you appear to be well off in life by the neck by a long chain. This poster is also surrounded by text describing the evil of drinking. For the most part the poster is fairly barren, with only one hidden message in the poster, showing that the poster produced by the Baptist Publication Society wanted to get a clear message across without having the people who are meant to see the poster that drinking is evil and lead you astray. The one hidden message is the snake coming out of the bottle can be interpreted as alcohol being a poison that will eventually kill you if you continue to allow it to drag you along in life. The poster lacks a sort of background to give context and this allows the views to focus mainly on the alcohol and the person being drag away by it. The poster as stated before is pretty simple with the only color coming from the person and the alcohol bottle; the text is in simple black ink making the viewers eyes be drawn to the color first then to the what surrounds it later. The poster is more of a social issue poster than a poster that promotes the values and the gains that a person would get by following any form of Christianity, meaning that this poster was meant to be used as provide for the people now instead of later. I would say that the only strange thing about this poster is the fact is that the creators gave the alcohol bottle legs and arms; while the other posters in the “social issue” section all present some sort of problem or perceived problem, this was the and the other posters by Baptist Publication Society are the only ones like this so it would appear strange in that context. I would say that this poster is not really effective, some Chinese people refer to alcohol as the “water of history” meaning that it is greatly integrated into the culture so I doubt that some religious missionaries would be able to change that.

The Evils of Gambling

This poster is also done by the Baptist Publication Society portraying the evil known as gambling. The poster has central frame around the characters as both the drinking and drug counterpart; the character on the right is brown colored ghost with the one through four sides of a dice in red color. The second figure on the right is a man in a blue shirt, orange paints and black shoes hold the three side of a dice in his hand. The brown figure is believed to be a ghost of some sort, has a chain around the man’s neck to pull the man along. Surrounding the central image of the two figures a person’s eye will be drawn to the text talking about how gambling will take everything a way from a person and leave them with nothing. Compared to the gambling and drug posters, this one is probably the tamest considering it does not contain some sort of anthropomorphic item in it. The poster does not contain any sort of background image, this allows the viewer to focus on the image first then have their focus drawn to the text without have them be distracted by some other image which may draw attention away from the message. This poster is more geared towards salvation on earth than towards saving the spirits of people so that they could go to heaven, meaning that this is more of a social issue poster instead of poster to bring people into the church. The posters main focus is for the two figures to get the basic parts of the message across for all viewers, then the text that surrounds the two people contain slogans and information about the evils of gambling for the literate. As stated before the ghost that represents gambling within the poster has the man chained by the neck, similar to the drug and drinking posters, which indicates to the viewers that the message here is that if a person let gambling take over his or her life then they will soon lose every thing to the bad habit. I would say that this poster would be effective getting the message across and serve as a warning about the evils of gambling. I would also say this poster is effective due to its simplicity to get the message across and leaving little to no room for interpretation.

The Evils of Drugs

This poster features and anthropomorphic drug needle with slightly buff arms and a cartoonish frowning face on the hub (the part of a hypodermic needle connects the actual needle to the place where the drugs are stored). The needle is also holding a chain that is once again tied around the neck of a person, however compared to the drinking and gambling poster by Baptist Publication Society this person is far worse looking than the other two. This person is thin and has no shirt and is also covered in a combination of needle marks and rashes. The central draw of this poster is are the two figures in the center, then the viewers eyes are then drawn to the text surrounding them. This poster does not contain any from of background like the previous poser done by the same organization. The poster is more of a social issue than a poster promoting the greatness of Christianity. This is the second poster done by Baptist Publication Society that features an inanimate object with arms and legs dragging a person away using a chain, so its clear that this is part of a larger theme. This poster is clearly an anti-drug poster with a clear message about how if a person lets it drugs will become the all controlling force in a person’s life. I would say that this posters ability to be effective really depends on if a person is already to addicted or not. This poster and the other poster done by the same publishing company are more of a warning type of poster than a poster trying to convince a person that what they are doing is bad.

Posted by Alexander Basinger