Schmuck of the Week

The Las Vegas Lady Liberty and five other ways the Postal Service could stamp itself as a shmuck

What does it say about the U.S.A. in 2011 that our Postal Service accidentally used the replica Statue of Liberty in Las Vegas rather than the real thing as a model for its stamp honoring Lady Liberty's 125th anniversary? For one thing, it says we Americans love our landmarks so much that we like to create fake versions of them. Although the Postal Service will keep the stamp, it did say that it regrets using a schlocky casino-town version and making a mockery of one of our nation's most important symbols (although not in those words).

But we think they're on to something. Why not make a whole series of stamps dedicated to the art of hollow fakery? Here's a list of five stamps the Postal Service could do next.

Bald Eagle Sure, this magnificent and formerly endangered bird -- one of our most majestic national symbols -- is making a comeback across the country. But why use the real thing when you could recreate it with a fantastic Latch Hook rug crafting kit (available online)!

Mount Rushmore Recognize those faces? Sort of. They are the stony mugs from Mount Rushmore, but on a much more manageable scale at the National Presidents Hall of Fame in Lake County, Florida. And that's not all! The roadside attraction has many other wax figures, scale models and presidential replicas -- all of which would look great on an envelope. Pikes Peak In May 2008, Colorado's own Bob Shaffer, a U.S. Senate candidate at the time, put out a spiffy ad that mentioned his connections to Colorado Springs (where his daughter was attending the U.S. Air Force Academy). He also brought up how he had proposed to his wife on top of Pikes Peak (where Katherine Lee Bates got the idea for "America the Beautiful") and showed a stunning photo. But the mountain in question wasn't Pikes Peak. It was Alaska's Mount McKinley. Oops. But, who cares? A mountain's a mountain, right? The Capitol Building But not the real one. Nope, the Capitol Building in Little Rock, Arkansas -- made of limestone and built between 1899 and 1915 -- was constructed as a three-fourths scale replica of the one in Washington, D.C. (though with presumably less gridlock), and has served as a stand-in for the real thing in movies. Plus, since it's smaller, it's easier to photograph! No one will ever know. Las Vegas And, in the ultimate act of reality-questioning, Immanuel Kant-like Americana, there is MiniLand USA at LegoLand in California, which includes a scale model of Las Vegas made out of Legos. And what does that mini-Las Vegas include? Why, the Statue of Liberty, of course.

So, put that in your box and mail it.

For more shmucks, visit our Shmuck of the Week archive.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes

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