This article from the BBC shows “scolding” signs (a sub-set of normative signs, I guess) photographed by the author, Fraser McAlpine, during a walk through Southwark, in London.
Here’s a sample:
*I normally only post “original” content (photos sent to me by the person who took them), but the signs McAlpine photographed are too good not to make an exception.
— Thanks to Phil Smith for sending me the URL.
1) It seems like a perfectly reasonable request—provided you have a clear understanding of what “foreign” means in this context.
2) What’s the story here? What’s the history? What were people flushing (no, I don’t *really* want to know) that inspired officials to print and post this sign? (My constant theme: every sign, like every government regulation, has a history.)
Thanks to Charles for contributing this image (which is from an office building of Canada’s federal government).
As the contributor of this photo says, “Imagine how annoyed doctors would be if everyone started booking appointments to get permission to have a steam bath.” (Yes, this sign is likely intended to mitigate liability. But imagine if it were taken seriously!)
The picture was taken at a YMCA in Toronto, and contributed by Marnina Norys.
We assume this was not intended to be taken too literally. The pic was taken at a 7/11 in Virginia, and submitted by Phil Smith III. One imagines the literally-minded, dancing in distressed fashion, beside the toilet, sputtering, “But…but…but…!”
As Phil points out, the Spanish version is more reasonable. We do not know what the Korean version says.
This sign is posted by a pond in Florida. A couple of things are interesting about it. First, most will find odd the idea of being tempted to harass a dangerous animal. “Harassing” a gator seems as obviously foolish as poking a lion. (And the word “harass” might itself seem off-base. Doesn’t harassment usually imply some sort of power imbalance in favour of the harasser? Can you harass someone or something that could eat you? Or are you merely antagonizing it? Dunno.)
Second, and more substantially, this is an example of a sign that is incomplete in an important, but perhaps unavoidable, way. The sign says not to feed the gators. But the sign doesn’t say not to feed the fish, which in turn might attract gators. I’m told that when this photo was taken, a father and son were merrily throwing bread to the fish in the pond, not realizing that a) the bread itself might attract the alligators’ attention, and that b) alligators eat fish (among other things), so that if you attract fish you’re pretty likely to thereby attract gators. But then a sign that said, “don’t feed or harass the alligators, or do anything else that is reasonably likely to attract their attention” would probably lose its impact.
This sign was posted on a church (obviously) in Buffalo, NY. Not unique, certainly, but interesting. It’s an example of a normative sign that isn’t really a normative sign, at least not in the usual sense. It’s not actually telling anyone what to do. No one is expecting to bring nuclear weapons into a church, ergo no one is being directed not to.
So, the sign is clearly symbolic. It’s a political slogan, masquerading as a normative sign.
Thanks to Ralph Walton for submitting the picture.