Best Propaganda: Baltimore Police Department

Everyone’s got to have a social media presence, and the Baltimore Police Department is no exception, with its Instagram and Twitter feeds full of net-art-esque, kitschy photos and design. Select highlights include a tribute to a fallen police dog, K9 Cash, Photoshop-collaged together in a manner that recalls a Thomas Kinkade level of kitsch, as well as a photo of the harbor with a very stuck-in-the-’90s style design and typeface to brand the #ASaferBaltimore campaign. We wrote about the way that BPD’s graphic design relates to kitsch, particularly the way that kitsch “pretends to demand nothing of its customers except their money—not even their time,” as Clement Greenberg writes in his essay “Avant-Garde and Kitsch.” The designs are intended to mollify, promoting a positive image of the BPD while the department continues to provoke criticism with its handling (and mishandling) of everything lately, from the 12 O’Clock Boys to our current record-breakingly high homicide rate.

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