“Over There,” the World War I rallying song by George M. Cohan, is said to have been inspired by newspaper headlines he happened to see during a train ride to New York City. But had the original Yankee Doodle Dandy instead been studying the xenophobic satirical maps popular in Europe at the time, his lyrics might have turned out quite different: Send the word, they’re absurd, over there . . .
The blog BibliOdyssey has rolled out an absorbing collection of colorful (and off-color) cartoon maps used by both sides in the Great War to gin up passion for the home team. Like a Rand McNally roast of nations, the illustrations are loaded with stereotypes and animal stand-ins. That resurgent Russian “bear” that’s been in the news a lot lately turns up. And a dandified French poodle shows how little the art of slagging a people has changed. After seeing these drawings, you may decide the Euro qualifies as a true miracle.
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