Thursday, December 27, 2007

Airbrushed for your protection:

You may recall that several years ago, the USPS issued a stamp where they took the cigarette out of Jackson Pollock's mouth. Story:
... Jackson Pollock was larger than life: a brilliant but rough-edged man, a hard-drinking chain smoker rarely seen without a cigarette dangling from his lips ...

But on Thursday, with much fanfare, the federal government helped Jackson Pollock kick the habit, unveiling a new 33-cent stamp based on a famous photograph of the artist, but without his trademark cigarette.

The Postal Service calls it a design issue, an effort to produce a stamp calling attention to Pollock the artist, not Pollock the smoker. But cultural historians are appalled, saying the political incorrectness of smoking these days is leading us to snuff out our own past.

"The communists used to airbrush inconvenient persons from photographs. Americans are airbrushing signs of inconvenient sins. I think it's a joke," said Professor Todd Gitlin of New York University.

It's not the first time the Post Office has had a no-smoking policy. Blues guitarist Robert Johnson was captured smoke-free in 1994. A stamp of chain smoker Edward R. Murrow shows no cigarette too.
Well, they've done it again. We get a glimpse of a new stamp in this story: Bette Davis featured on new 2008 stamps.
Notice something missing? Oh yeah, it's the cigarette she's almost always seen with. The stamp was probably derived from one of these two images:
And there are lots more, which this peculiar website provides. Such as these:

Culturegeeks has this to say:
Looking at this new Bette Davis postage stamp, I’m pretty sure that they Photoshopped a cigarette out of her hand.

While I understand not wanting to promote smoking, couldn’t they have just found a picture where she wasn’t smoking? A challenge, I’ll grant you ...


Post a Comment