Today I am participating in a snail mail action called #postcard avalanche! If you find Stephen Bannon a troubling Chief White House Strategist for President Elect Donald Trump, then put pen to postcard too! If you are not familiar with Bannon, here is an article in The Washington Post about him. And if you choose to participate, send out those postcards by Monday November 28th and share your paper mail on social media with the hashtags #postcardavalanche and #stopbannon.
I must say it was very strange to go through the familiar ritual of hand addressing a postcard but this time I was writing Trump’s mailing address. And it was not a good strange.
As a student of communication, I have had a lot to think about since the presidential election results of 2016, particularly how commercial and social media contributed to the election of Donald Trump. Of all the myriad ways that I believe Trump to be unqualified to be President, the one that kept me up all night on November 8th is what an awful role model he is for children. As a parent and educator, I am appalled that a thin skinned bully who uses language and actions in vicious ways, the kind of person we try hard to teach our children NOT to be, has won. Apparently I am not alone. A group of parents started a letter writing campaign for children called “Dear President Trump: Letters from Kids about Kindness.” According to a Washington Post article by Amy Wang about the project, parents have been posting their children’s letters on social media (including Trump’s bully pulpit, Twitter) with the hashtag #kidsletterstotrump. To the letter writers and their parents, thanks for trumping hate with paper love.
My dad just showed me the 1936 film, Night Mail. A british documentary about trains that deliver mail? How did I not know about this? Documentaries, trains, british accents, and paper mail are 4 of my favorite things!
The film features the excellent WH Auden poem, Night Mail. You can see the whole 24 minute film at this Youtube link. It is so fascinating!
This week I got to visit the Butterfly Conservatory at the Museum of Natural History with my daughter and her classmates for a field trip. The students are studying insects and this exhibit provided an opportunity for them to see living, fluttering, tropical butterflies up close. And guess who we met? The Small Postman butterfly, that’s who!
Small postman butterflies are so beautiful and can be found in Central and South America. Apparently they taste bad. As caterpillars they feast on passion flowers, which fill them with toxic chemicals so predators are not interested. Kind of like that dog repellent that their human namesakes in the USPS carry?
Are you k.d.ing me? K.D. Lang on a stamp?
Just another reason to love Canada and Canada Post.
I picked up the book The Mighty Lalouche at our local library, without knowing that the main character, Lalouche, is a postman! In Paris! Matthew Olshan wrote a sweet book with beautiful illustrations by the talented, Sophie Blackall. Check it out.
This is not the kind of feel good paper mail news that I usually post but this article about the arrest of a uniformed, mail carrier in Brooklyn by undercover police officers made my blood boil. USPS employee, Glenn Grays, we’re with you here at VSM. And thank you to the citizen videographers of Crown Heights who recorded the exchange on their cell phones.
Another year, another successful ritual of making, sending and receiving paper valentines. My favorite paper mail holiday of the year!
Its Black history month and while I understand the value of this designation I wish Black history was not annexed to one month of the year but rather, more fully integrated in to how children learn American history. Heritage Box is a subscription service that teaches children Black history year round by delivering monthly, customized care packages with Black history and African geography materials! Books, games, toys, family activities- these packages could be a valuable addition to a child’s understanding and interest in their African heritage.