Thoughts on a Decoration

I have the above poster on the wall in my dorm room. It caught my eye in my grandmother’s resale shop this past summer, and I picked it up to bring to college. It’s a decoration that I’ve given some thought, and come to mixed conclusions on. At first glance, I got a strong scent of propaganda from this poster. The style of the illustration and text, the stars, the weathered appearance all suggested to me that this came out of some factory in the 40’s or 50’s. “Today will be a Good Day,” it told me, if you put on your hat and pick up your briefcase and go off to be a hard-working, productive implement of the capitalist machine!

But then I looked again at the man, walking cheerily off to start his day, and I wondered if he might not just be a robot. He does seem genuinely happy, after all. What if he really does put on his hat and pick up his briefcase and goes off every day believing that “Today will be a Good Day”? In this case, he’s found joy in the ordinary day. He takes pride in his day, no matter how menial or unremarkable it may seem, and is just as excited at the beginning of the next one. And that’s more than a lot of people can say, I think.

I’m still not totally sure what I think of this man and his slogan, but regardless, I’m glad they’re with me for my first year at Williams.

3 thoughts on “Thoughts on a Decoration

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  1. Yeah, I’m with you that the image is what somewhat strips the sentiment of its pure good intentions. If it was a photograph of an individual climbing a mountain, looking “on top of the world,” I think we might chide its 4th-grade-classroom-esc cheesiness, but not question whether its definition of a good day is Orwellian or not.

    1. Right, there’s nothing wrong with the slogan in itself, it’s the cumulative effect of the design, illustration, etc. that gives me pause. And if the picture was of an inspiring mountain climber or peak athlete or something, there’s no disputing that “Today is a Good Day” for them! It’s that affirmation along with the normalcy and repetition embodied in the businessman that leads to some dissonance.

  2. Honestly, that man sort of reminds me of myself on a rough morning. Maybe, rather than being perpetually happy or a tool of capitalist propaganda, he’s adopted more of a “fake it till you make it attitude?” Not the deepest observation, but that was my immediate thought. Either that or he is actually a robot who eats babies and is plotting each day to destroy the world. One of the two.

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