Monday, March 19, 2007

Philately in "The West Wing"

Stamps and philately can be actors in fictions. One year ago, Dominique on the Blog philatélie showed that fact with the French film Promotion canapé. Yesterday evening, I rediscovered an appearance of philately in the ninth episode of season 2 of The West Wing starring Martin Sheen as the fictional President Bartlet. In this episode broadcasted in Novembre 2000, the choice of a stamp's subject is one of the secundary intrigue.

In « Galileo » Josh, deputy chief of staff, must help the Postmaster General : can a Puerto Rican politician be put on a stamp ? The fictional politician, named Marcos Aquino, served during the Korean War, then made a political carreer as Resident Commissioner. But, in the show, the problem is that Aquino was strongly in favor of the Puerto Rico Statehood, while the island is under a Commonwealth that deprives the inhabitants of some political rights (you can read the text by William A. Navas, Jr. over the problems of the self-determination of Puerto Rico).

Philately appeared with Josh's assistant who prepares files on how a stamp's subject is chosen. The role of the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee : since 1957, this committee inside the USPS sort out the thousands of propositions sent by the public.

In their usual antinomics plays, Donna the assistant defends the citizen's choice to participate in the philatelic program and to honor a military man and elected representant, without it means the government supports his political ideas on the future of Puerto Rico. Josh is suprised that citizens may propose ideas and says that the CSAC is a « dork squad »... while calming down after hearing her arguments.

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