The video: In 1973, the United States Navy saw fit to produce a 20-minute animated public service announcement highlighting the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases. In the whimsical "cautionary tale," Venereal Disease, represented by the syphilitic Count Spirochete, pulls off a huge upset at "the annual Communicable Disease of the Year Awards" and "wins the coveted Fourth Horseman award over diphtheria and smallpox." The unexpected victory prompts a deeper exploration of the disease, with Count Spirochete (a vampire, naturally) taking viewers on an international journey that documents the affliction's origins and dangers. The odd clip was uncovered by the Defense Department's Armed With Science blog, and is now on sale for a cool $55 on VHS tape.
The reaction: This is "the VD version of Schoolhouse Rock," says Spencer Ackerman at Wired, though it's "weirdly modest about broaching the actual means through which the disease is transferred." Still, it would make "a great holiday gift for your sexually reckless and technologically backward friend." Just "watch this," says Cyriaque Lamar at IO9. "Your head will explode Scanners-style from the sheer weirdness of it all." Watch the Navy's PSA:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How liberals are unwittingly paving the way for the legalization of adult incest
- Why the Chinese military is only a paper dragon
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 10 things you need to know today: September 30, 2014
- Libertarianism's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea
- How the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover revealed the worst of both shows
- The troubling persistence of eugenicist thought in modern America
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Are hedge funds doomed?
Subscribe to the Week