“Stamp Out Pervasive Commercialism”

Just a short piece from the *Huffington Post* about a subject that’s been nagging at me lately — not the stamps, particularly, but the larger issue of business worming its way into the public sphere and, almost unnoticed, planting and cultivating a corporate value system among individuals.

3 Responses to ““Stamp Out Pervasive Commercialism””

  1. Richard Bensam Says:

    This is why it’s always bothered me when existing songs are used in commercials — even though some of my favorite musicians, i.e., Pete Townshend, actively shill their work for commercial use and vigorously defend the practice — because it sends the corrosive messages that “everyone has their price” and “any creative work can be used to sell you stuff.”

    Beyond that philosophical objection, there’s also a purely materialistic reason to be particularly annoyed by corporate sponsorship of the Post Office. When the Thatcher government privatized the former public utilities that had been owned by the British government, they were taking assets that had been built with many generations worth of public money and essentially giving them away to private companies. The public saw nothing from their decades and decades of investment but the chance to pay higher rates to new corporations. The Post Office has been sustained by our tax dollars and the money we’ve spent on postage. That’s our Post Office. We own it. Are we going to see any benefit from this corporate sponsorship? Lower postage rates? Tax revenues going to social programs for public benefit instead? Like hell we will.

  2. Nat Gertler Says:

    I think this article has the exactly wrong end of this particular stick.

    Before the allowance of custom stamps, if we wanted to mail stamped mail, we were required to adhere to our envelopes a government-selected image with a government-selected message. When you get to the post office and find that at the moment, you get to choose between the American flag (which has been wrapped around too much evil by too many people for me to embrace it as a symbol at the moment) and Ronald Reagan, this feels intrusive.

    I had a set of stamps made up featuring my character, Licensable BearTM. (You can see the stamp here. Frankly, I haven’t used them for mailing; I’ve framed a few, sold a few, given a few as special gifts for people who have supported my work. But I know that if I felt the need, I could throw a couple of those on an envelope and send that letter out without worrying about which message the government wanted me to mail today.

  3. Bart Lidofsky Says:

    The Post Office was subsidized by public money. The Postal Service is supposed to support itself, and it does.

    As far as the column goes, it is factually correct, but, from the comments, it is clear that it is being misinterpreted.

    The Postal Service has had, for a number of months, a program allowing people to make customized stamps for themselves, for a fee. All that the article Ms. Huffington points out is stating that corporations are taking advantage of this, on STAMPS THAT THEY ARE BUYING THEMSELVES, to put an advertisement ON THEIR OWN MAIL. The Postal Service is NOT selling stamps with advertising to the general public.