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:
- 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
- The alligator is cruelly reduced and crudely cut & pasted, with probably literal paste
- 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).
- 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**
- 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
- 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
- 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:
**Variants from interwebs:
***Referent Betty Page postcards:
****Bonus Saucy Wow! Variant:
*****Bonus Alligator-Biting-Butt Card that looks terrifyingly realistic
******Lest you worry, here’s how it all turns out in the sequel: