Remember those cool-ass Simpsons stamps that I was raving about two years ago? Well it turns out the Postal Service completely misjudged the popularity of The Simpsons Franchise by about, oh, seven hundred million.
According to Bloomberg, all those beautiful, beautiful stamps are now just sitting in a stamp warehouse somewhere waiting to be disposed of, which is a real tragedy:
Bloomberg’s Dominic Chu reports that the money-losing U.S. Postal Service guessed that TV cartoon character Homer Simpson and his family were twice as popular as Elvis Presley when it came to sales of commemorative stamps. The service produced 1 billion of “The Simpsons ” stamps and sold 318 million with the remainder being disposed at a loss.
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New York Times senior art critic Roberta Smith wrote a blog post describing her fascination with the recently released Simpsons postage stamps:
The Simpson palette has always seemed as radical and subversive as the show’s social commentary and close in artifice to that of innovative colorists like Andy Warhol, Bruce Nauman and Matthew Barney. Five amped-up hues suffice: egg-yolk yellow, magenta, Marge-Simpson’s-hair blue, darkened chartreuse and lavender, plus important bits of white (mainly eyes and teeth) and touches of red. Subtle distinctions of tonality are made. Homer’s yellow head is seen against a slightly darker yellow background. Marge’s hair is slightly darker than the blue behind Bart. Red defines only Homer’s tongue, Maggie’s pacifier, Marge’s beads and the smidgeon of Bart’s T-shirt.
Third, less is more. The “Simpsons” gestalt is boiled down to its essence and so is stampness. The images are stripped of detail except for the letters USA and the number 44 (cents, the new first class). No fussy engraved textures, no identifying names. This allows color to take over and the faces to pop out. Like a Richard Serra sculpture, only smaller and a whole lot cheaper, the stamps prove the adage that scale has nothing to do with size. They strike David-like blows against the Goliaths of American visual illiteracy.
Don’t have a Nauman! [Arts Beat]
This one guy, Representative Mike Honda (D-CA), is real mad because the Post Office rolled out some stamps with The Simpsons on them, instead of some stamps honoring Japanese-American WWII veterans. Money quote: “I question the direction USPS is headed when it pays homage to Homer Simpson over the sacrifice of our venerable Nisei veterans.” BURN!!! The Stamp Police are all like, whoa, hey, we’re not supposed to honor specific military units, because all veterans are equal in the eyes of The Lord Almighty or whatever. According to them, stamps are supposed to be “a reflection of our culture,” which entails making literally a billion stamps with little pictures of cartoon characters plastered on them. These stamps are vitally important to America in order to “raise awareness about the show,” because apparently slapping Homer’s face onto every conceivable tacky piece of junk produced since 1990 just hasn’t been raising enough awareness of The Simpsons these days (it’s still on TV, you know!). Why does the Post Office, and by extension President Barack Obama, hate our veterans???
Also, ha ha, some nerd at Roll Call got a chance to show off his Simpsons knowledge by “incidentally” noting that Bart Simpson is a stamp collector, as mentioned in the fifth season episode “Homer the Vigilante” (episode 93, 5X12, original airdate 1/7/94, production code 1F10) [Roll Call]
A set of five Matt Groening-designed Simpsons postage stamps, suitable for sending anthrax or tea bags to elected officials, will be on sale from the U.S. Postal Service starting May 7th. [AV Club]