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Oh, the horror! The skull ad

July 20, 2011 , , , , , , , , , ,

L'usage et l'abus

This is a page from the French newspaper Le Journal illustré in 1866. It is an early warning against the consumption of absinthe, since it was first 48 years later that absinthe was forbidden in France. The illustration is composed of four sections separated with titles that read in English: The use and abuse – of water – of coffee – of wine – of absinthe.

The first row illustrates that on one side man can use water to drink when thirsty, and on the other side man can abuse it for committing suicide.

The second row illustrates that the proper use of coffee is enjoying it in the company of other gentlemen and ladies, and the opposite is abusing it for keeping man awake, lonely and stressed out.

The third row illustrates that wine makes friends when used in moderation, and it makes enemies when consumed abusively.

The fourth and final row shows that the proper use of absinthe is to feed it to pigs, and the consequences of absinthe abuse is that man sinks to the status of a pig or a wild animal.

The different sections of the illustration are arranged and drawn in a way that the overall picture appears as a big, dark skull.


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