Thursday, August 31, 2006

More Dam Boring Postcards

The Panama Canal under construction. Possibly the most boring postcard of all time. The little blurb on the back says, "The progress of the Panama Canal has been so rapid that it is almost ready for the ships of commerce that will use this gigantic sluiceway that has made two hemispheres out of one." Trying to compensate with breathless prose for what is essentially a colorized black-and-white photograph of standing water.

Of course, if the modern Western media were a postcard company from the turn of the last century, it would be a picture of dead coolies and a headline about Roosevelt lied and an editorial asserting that this whole pointless adventure was a waste of life and international goodwill.

Visitors in one of the galleries of the Hoover Dam. The blurb on the back calls this "one of America's great visitors' attractions," and with a boost from this psychedelic watercoloring job it's almost convincing. What a disappointment, though, when little Johnny gets there and discovers, "Aw, gee, mom, it's really just all a lot of gray concrete."

The postcard says more than 2.5 million people have been through here. This lucky group just happened to be passing through when the cameraman set up his tripod, and thus have been apotheosized into scrapbooks all over the land. Too bad for us it was a tour group from some pre-Civil War sect that refused, on theological grounds, to smile for cameras.