Tuesday, June 12

The Best of the Worst Postcards

I've been keeping this news article open in my browser for about a week. It's high time I shared it with everyone else (so I can close and refresh my freakin' browser).

Bad Postcard of the Week sounds maybe a little mean-spirited, if you have an underdoggish view of the postal system, but the writer isn't deriding postal transmissions. He's simply acknowledging that alongside the quaint, gorgeous, and touching postcards flying around the world for over a century, there are also some really bad examples too. There are postcards so ugly, they transgress the border of surrealism.

It is not the postcard's fault. Nobody's saying that.

What I like is that he accepts submissions, so his collection has got to look like the fabric from which nightmares are cut. Can you imagine? In Postcrossing, participants commonly ask for themed postcards: one girl collects black-and-white images, another retiree would like pictures of lighthouses, and some young guy is asking for anything porn-like that can legally be sent through the mail. Everyone has their preferences.

Now, imagine what would happen if you asked everyone for the most garish, confusing postcards anyone could get their hands on. Try to imagine what would show up in your mailbox each week. I'll give you a hint: you can't possibly imagine. The images that would enter your home have the advantage, in that they represent the end-product of someone else's lifetime of poor judgment and damaged aesthetics. You can't sit there for ten whole minutes and guess what otherworldly creations have been orchestrated and set to print.

But it's intriguing, isn't it? Even if you asked for something particular, like "a woman holding a candle" or "a young man in a hat," you would receive the entire world's creative interpretation of those themes. You could conceivably end up with over a hundred different images of a young man in a hat. Isn't that intriguing?

No comments: