Saturday, April 16, 2011

Wretched refuse

The US Postal Service has inadvertently issued a stamp depicting the fibre-glass simulacrum of the Statue of Liberty in Las Vegas, rather than the original. But this hasn’t provoked the outrage one might have expected, according to the New York Times.

“Wouldn’t anything be a replica anyway?” asks firefighter Doug Jessup, demonstrating a pretty good grasp of the Baudrillardian fundamentals. “It’s still only a picture, a representation in any case.” But it’s the response of 21-year-old Alex Henes that will most depress anyone who has pored through a Stanley Gibbons catalogue. “It’s a stamp to me,” he says. “We’re not the snail-mail generation; we’re the ‘e-mail, get it out as quick as you can’ generation. If it was 50 years ago, I would take issue with it.”

PS: Mrs Peel directs to some incisive comments from Times readers.


The Militant Working Boy said...

If the Statue of Liberty is merely a representation of a woman and not a REAL woman and the statue in Las Vegas is merely a representation of a representation and the photograph is a representation of THAT and the stamp is a representation of the representative photograph, then the stamp is so many levels of the non-real, it can pretty much be considered nonexistent and therefore not worthy of my attention.

M.A.Peel said...

Tim, there's some pretty good outrage in the comments in the underlying article. Wish Barthes was around to sort this sign/signifer thing out. On the one hand the lack of knowledge at the USPS (which is no longer a federal agency, but a private business) is scary, but heartening that there's always someone in the big community who knows the right stuff.

Tim Footman said...

I find non-existence far more worthy of my attention than all these boring realities, MWB.

Thanks for that, MA. An imagining the French postal service using a picture of the Vegas version of the Eiffel tower. Or, even better, the Blackpool version.