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A Digression on Postcards Wherein Women are Threatened by Alligators

Listed here are the psychologically engaging aspects of this perfect postcard, which I purchased off the rack in Florida my own self maybe fifteen years ago during one of the intense theme-park and biological engineering research trips for Piggleyland:

  1. The amped-up hand-painted colors. Please tell me what that bikini color is: I cannot find a word. I’m not sure it wholly refracts correctly on my corneas
  2. The alligator is cruelly reduced and crudely cut & pasted, with probably literal paste
  3. The now-opaque reference to an ancient cigarette campaign wherein people would be punched in the eye for supporting cigarettes of choice (*see below for examples stolen from interweb).
  4. This clever turn of phrase, “Us Florida Alligators would rather BITE than SWITCH,” was SO VERY compelling and hilarious that several variant versions featuring different models can  be found**
  5. In all variants, the alligator knows that he’s quoting a cigarette campaign, as evidenced by the otherwise redundant quotation marks in the word balloon. That’s a sophisticated, market-savvy reference for the average crocodilian from the Paleoscene
  6. I think this postcard probably post-dates the famous “WOW! We Alligators Do Have Fun in Florida/Louisiana/New Orleans” Betty Page postcard*** by some years, and I suspect the artist would admit it was derivative, unless an homage
  7. Nobody REALLY wants to see these poor women bitten by alligators: an American alligator bites at around 2,900 pounds per square inch (lions and tigers bite at about 1,000 psi. I myself bite at only around 175 psi when at the peak of righteous fury & bloodlust)-even small (or cruelly reduced) alligators have more than 80 razor-sharp teeth.  Let’s face it: it could be pretty depressing to see some lady get bitten on the rear end by an alligator.  But beyond the cheap frisson evoked by the common icon of Woman-in-Peril, these cards sell because the sight of sun-warmed flesh makes the reptilian brain hungry on some primeval level, don’t they? That tells us something about ourselves, doesn’t it? Or is it just plain slapstick, and I should shut up?

Here’s the postcard that haunts my nightmares:

us-florida-alligators

*Cigarette campaign:

the-fight-for-cigarettes-of-choice

People just don’t get punched in the eye for humor the way they used to, you know?

AAAAUUUUGGGHH.jpg

**Variants from interwebs:

Us Florida Alligators would rather Bite than Switch - Fun in Florida

Us Florida Alligators Would Rather Bite Than Switch

This woman’s presentation pose is weird but the Hat is Inexplicable

***Referent Betty Page postcards:

wow-we-alligators-do-have-fun-in-floridawow-we-alligators-do-have-fun-in-louisianawow-we-alligators-do-have-fun-in-new-orleans

****Bonus Saucy Wow! Variant:

Wow! Saucy Variant.jpg

*****Bonus Alligator-Biting-Butt Card that looks terrifyingly realistic

5505b636efbf4_84511b

******Lest you worry, here’s how it all turns out in the sequel:

beauty-and-the-beast

 

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Meanwhile, back in the Nineteenth Century:

 

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