Help the Gallic Rooster’s victory over the Prussian Eagle!

France: Almost cool again

Andrew at Bound by Gravity has posted a sampling from McGill University’s collection of Canadian wartime propaganda posters.  My personal favourite is the one below, showing a brave but foolhardly French rooster taking the stuffing out of a German eagle.  I initially thought this was something of a backhanded compliment to the French, not realising that the Gallic rooster was an actual (if unofficial) symbol whose association with France dates back to the Renaissance.  The Latin word “Gallus” carries a double meaning—both “someone from Gaul”, and “rooster”.  The rooster was, at one point, prominently featured in French patriotic artwork and even on the buttons of 19th-century soldiers’ coats.


You have to admit that at best, the eagle looks mildly inconvenienced by the agitated rooster.  Eagles have been known to hunt and eat roosters, after all, and one can hardly imagine even the bravest chicken turning the tables on a raptor.  Imagine a notional Boer War poster where the South African national symbol, the springbok, takes a swipe at the mighty, iconic British lion.  This kind of prey-turned-predator conceptual absurdity is what elevates the recruiting poster above from mere propaganda into the realm of sublime comedy.  That and the soldier pointing at the unlikely spectacle, as if to say “Where’s that ten bucks you owe me?  Eagle got PWNED!”

Here’s a close-up of the French rooster opening up a can of whoopass on the German eagle.  Or as the kids today would say:  “im in ur aerie plucking ur head feathers”


Hats off to the anonymous fellow A.G.R. who created this recruiting poster during the Great War.  And on a more serious  note, this weekend, be sure to remember those who have served, and are serving, this great nation at home and around the globe.

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