Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Electric Kool-Aid Syphilis Test

How fortuitous that I happen to be reading Tom Wolfe's hallucinogenic masterpiece right now, because my first thought upon seeing this super weird 1970s cartoon syphilis video produced by the Navy is how incredible it would be to watch it on acid. Which, in the Navy in the 1970s, might have been just the state of mind in which many viewers saw this film.

The video sets up an award show in which Venereal Disease, and specifically Syphilis and Gonorrhea, win the award for "Communicable Disease of the Year" against such worthy adversaries as smallpox, the common cold, and scarlet fever. The show's MC explains that, while each of the other contenders has made their own splash, syphilis has stood the test of time and has been with us humans for centuries.

What follows is an accurate and entertaining (at least for sexual health nerds like me who love syphilis) history of the infection. Like many contemporary sex ed videos, the narration fails to mention that, you know, condoms help prevent syphilis and gonorrhea. But that's neither here nor there--this is a historical gem.

Of course Texas has been a trendsetter in the retro syphilis sensation of the past decade and we're real proud of that but we could all stand to learn a little somethin' about the syph.


  1. So what you're saying is that by using a condom I will be theoretically staking the heart of the spirochete? Most excellent.

  2. better than it curling up inside the vagina. i mean, seriously. yikes.