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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Photomail

Have you seen those TV commercials for Photomail?

I have, for the past week now, and they blew me away when first I saw them.

Photomail apparently makes US Post Office approved stamps, by turning your family photos into a stamp!

You presumably just upload your pic, and print out the stamp to be adhesived unto your letter for instant and pain-free posting.

Now, I hate those US Post Office queues as much as the next person, (especially if the next person has BO), but I find this service at once fantastic...

...and utterly appalling.

Obviously, the fantastic bit has to do with being a great convenience for time-budgeted folks, who furthermore, will be able to send very cutesy stamps all over the US.

-- These are obviously the same type of people who flick out at the drop of a hat, their grandchildren's baby pics and their camcorder memories of that trip to Hawaii. Argh. --

But seriously, how much more personalised to we need our stuff to be in life??

Plus, for me a big negative of this service is, like those endless licence plates offered by each US State (which people used to international centralised standards consider almost scandalous), that one will have too many choices for a stamp.

Heck, what is to prevent me from printing out stamps with a photo of Schmoopsie and the toast rack??

Or how about pr0n??

Potter Stewart ain't seen nothing yet!

There is also another, deeper philosophical point about this matter, which might not have occured to you.

I come from a country where a woman with a crown is on our stamps.

Lots of other people also have similar monarchs, sports stars, and current national heroes on their stamps.

You may not think this is bad, but I do.

See, I like the fact that no living person can be portrayed on a US stamp, ever.

You have to wait until the honoree has kicked the bucket, before they are eligible.

And I admire Americans for having that stricture!

It's the ultimate anti-cult of personality statement.

But now?

Now that I can print out a stamp with any photo on it...well, I'm sorry. But that just doesn't sit right with me.

What we make up in convenience, I rather believe, we lose in ethics.

What do you think? Am I reading too much into this situation, or do you agree?

UPDATE: The site is currently down for maintenance, so I wasn't able to see how the process is.

Surely, there must be some kind of review of photo submissions, to avoid the more pornographic shots, or copyrighted material to be printed, I hope...

8 Comments:

  • Yes, Victoria, there certainly are restrictions on Pr0n and copyrighted images! Also, no celeb stamps!

    But I certainly agree with you; I like the 'no living persons' rule. On official US stamps, you have to be dead 10 years, (presidents 2 years) and then you go through a vetting committee, (which includes Karl Malden!) and then they send out for artwork...it takes awhile...

    By Blogger Ron, at Thu Mar 16, 08:36:00 am GMT-5  

  • Being curious about things new, I've already had a sheet printed out from some place called Zazzle.com.
    Being further curious I sent a few postal items just to see if they would be accepted or I should find myself in prison.
    They worked either out of being proper postage or out of sympathy by postal officials that someone would actually use them.
    How do I feel about them? I'd rather have standards on some things, public speech and manners being two wistful wishes.

    I doubt much that I'll tell you what or who I had printed on them :)

    By Blogger Paul, at Thu Mar 16, 08:54:00 am GMT-5  

  • I'm with you, Victoria! But the new God is Convenience! And that drives us these days.

    By Blogger benning, at Thu Mar 16, 04:22:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Yes, Victoria, there certainly are restrictions on Pr0n and copyrighted images! Also, no celeb stamps!

    Drat. No Brad Pitt nudie stamp. :)

    But I certainly agree with you; I like the 'no living persons' rule. On official US stamps, you have to be dead 10 years, (presidents 2 years)

    But wait, I have a Ronald Reagan sheet (a few in fact), and surely that came out within a few months of his death, no?

    Or is he like John Paul I -- the niceties are being waived for him, because he's so obviously a saint already? :)

    and then you go through a vetting committee, (which includes Karl Malden!)

    What on earth! Why Karl Malden??

    Talk about stretching his role in On the Waterfront forever. ;)

    and then they send out for artwork...it takes awhile...

    Well, I am very happy the US does this.

    I'm sure other countries do too, but off hand, I can't think of any.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Mar 17, 07:21:00 am GMT-5  

  • Being curious about things new, I've already had a sheet printed out from some place called Zazzle.com.

    I went to Photomail, since it's up now, but couldn't find the stamp area...I'll check out Zazzle. :)

    Being further curious I sent a few postal items just to see if they would be accepted or I should find myself in prison.

    Don't knock it!

    Three squares, cable, and fun in the showers.

    They worked either out of being proper postage or out of sympathy by postal officials

    *LOL*

    that someone would actually use them.

    Very odd business, this.

    How do I feel about them? I'd rather have standards on some things, public speech and manners being two wistful wishes.

    Overall, I think people are nice, all over the world.

    It's just that we tend to notice the bad manners more. :)

    I doubt much that I'll tell you what or who I had printed on them :)

    Boo! Is it Lynn Swann?

    *g*

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Mar 17, 07:25:00 am GMT-5  

  • I'm with you, Victoria! But the new God is Convenience! And that drives us these days.

    Don't you think, Benning, that it has ALWAYS been about convenience, in the US?

    I mean, I understand that money is the oil which drives this country, but the more I think about it, the more I think it's convenience.

    This may explain why only the Americans, could invent stuff all the time, in an almost dizzying mirage of items only there for to make life easier for you.

    I mean, how could you explain the Williams-Sonoma avocado slicer otherwise?

    P.S.:

    Q: Which US President has a patent?
    A: Several actually do, including Thomas Jefferson of course, but included amongst them is Abraham Lincoln.

    Not sure what he invented, but I'm sure it was convenient.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Fri Mar 17, 07:28:00 am GMT-5  

  • Karl Malden is the 'artistic' member of the stamp selection committee! There are quite a few artists on stamps, and a whole Hollywood series...

    Reagan was indeed a special case, but I think the normal rule of thumb is 2 years for Prezzies...

    By Blogger Ron, at Fri Mar 17, 08:22:00 am GMT-5  

  • I went to Photomail, since it's up now, but couldn't find the stamp area...I'll check out Zazzle. :)

    No, don't, they are too expensive. I'm thinking PhotoStamps was a dollar or two cheaper.

    Boo! Is it Lynn Swann?

    Nope but darn, I should have, him running for governor on the Republican side and all.

    By Blogger Paul, at Fri Mar 17, 02:51:00 pm GMT-5  

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