[percy-l] A Good Stamp is Hard to Find

Jonathan Potter jopomojo at gmail.com
Tue Jun 16 12:32:59 EDT 2015

Someone at the Korrektiv blog has created an enhanced version of the
Flannery O'Connor stamp:


On Sun, Jun 7, 2015 at 1:16 PM, Jim Forest <jhforest at gmail.com> wrote:

> http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/05/opinion/a-good-stamp-is-hard-to-find.html?mabReward=CTM&moduleDetail=recommendations-2&action=click&contentCollection=N.Y.%20%2F%20Region&region=Footer&module=WhatsNext&version=WhatsNext&contentID=WhatsNext&configSection=article&isLoggedIn=true&src=recg&pgtype=article
> A Good Stamp Is Hard to Find
>  Photo
>   Credit United States Postal Service
> English majors, say hooray: Flannery O’Connor is on a postage stamp. It
> comes out Friday and costs 93 cents.
> It’s a pretty picture. She wears a simple top with a jewel neckline, and
> pearls. Her pink porcelain face, framed in a 1940s bob, glows with the
> barest hint of a how-do-you-do smile.
> Wait — what’s Betty Crocker doing on Flannery’s stamp?
> This stamp does not, to my eyes, show Flannery O’Connor, the 20th-century
> master of the short story, the “hermit novelist” who fused her art and life
> as a Southerner and a Roman Catholic with stories that are shocking,
> hilarious and often bloody. The one who lived with her mother in
> Milledgeville, Ga., and raised peafowl. Who got sick and died young, of
> lupus, in 1964. Who gazed at the sin-stricken world through cat-eye glasses
> that are as much her visual signature as Hemingway’s beard or Frida’s
> eyebrow.
> This stamp shows the artist as a very young woman, barely 20 years old.
> It’s based on a photo of her as an undergraduate at Georgia State College
> for Women. Her oeuvre then amounted to cartoons and stories for the college
> magazine. Everything else in her dazzling career — the Iowa Writers’
> Workshop, the artists’ retreat Yaddo, “Wise Blood,” “A Good Man Is Hard to
> Find” — lay ahead.
> Photo
>   Flannery O'Connor beneath her self portrait in June 1962. Credit Joe
> McTyre/Atlanta Journal-Constitution
> The image has rattled some O’Connor admirers. (Facebook
> <https://www.facebook.com/Andalusiafarmpage>: “This is all wrong. They
> glamour-shot her. She looks like she has a bad case of pink eye.” )
> The United States Postal Service gave this job to an art director, who
> hired a freelance artist. I spoke with both of them, and learned that
> neither knew much about O’Connor, but they did their best with the images
> they had. The artist told me he had read one of her novels in college. He
> knew O’Connor had raised peacocks, so he framed her with feathers. The art
> director remembered that her work was “unsettling,” and that she was a
> Catholic.
> I can’t blame either of them for deciding on this striking portrait as the
> best fit for their tiny canvas, but I wish they and the Postal Service had
> produced a stamp that was more recognizably the grown-up Flannery, and
> contained some taste of her strange and majestic artistic vision.
> I know she does not present an automatic illustrative equation, like
> mustache + steamboat = Mark Twain. But a better choice was staring the
> Postal Service in the face: a painting made by the author herself, a
> self-portrait from 1953. She is wearing a yellow straw hat, holding a
> devilish-looking pheasant and looking straight at you, baleful and
> brilliant, as if she could smell your stupidity. It is gorgeous and jagged
> and honest and perfect.
> “The self-portrait was made ten years ago,” O’Connor wrote to a friend,
> “after a very acute siege of lupus. I was taking cortisone, which gives you
> what they call a moon-face, and my hair had fallen out to a large extent
> from the high fever, so I looked pretty much like the portrait. When I
> painted it I didn’t look either at myself in the mirror or at the bird. I
> knew what we both looked like.”
> A version of this editorial appears in print on June 5, 2015, on page A26
> of the New York edition with the headline: A Good Stamp Is Hard to Find.
> --
> *two new books*:
> *Loving Our Enemies: Reflections on the Hardest Commandment*:
> www.jimandnancyforest.com/2014/07/loving-our-enemies/
> *Saint Nicholas and the Nine Gold Coins:*
> www.jimandnancyforest.com/2015/04/saint-nicholas-and-the-nine-gold-coins/
> <http://jimandnancyforest.com/2015/04/saint-nicholas-and-the-nine-gold-coins/>
> Jim & Nancy web site: www.jimandnancyforest.com
> Photo albums: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimforest/sets/
> *Jim & Nancy Forest*
> Kanisstraat 5 / 1811 GJ Alkmaar / The Netherlands
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