“Just Move” Stamps Pulled Due to “Unsafe Acts”

October 15, 2013 by  

Just Move Stamps Pulled - BMX News

Late last week, news hit the Internet that the United States Postal Service was planning on destroying the entire press run of the new “Just Move” postage stamps. The stamps, inspired by First Lady, Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, depict fifteen activities that kids can do to stay fit–once they put down the game controller.

Activities such as running, swimming, swinging (on a swing set) all seem in-bounds. However, the depiction of the cartoon kids doing a “cannonball dive,” a headstand (without a helmet,) and skateboarding without knee pads are all cited as “unsafe acts” in discussions between the Postal Service and The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Nutrition (note: some have also called-foul on the so-called “Bat” stamp, which shows a kid batting a ball without a batting helmet, something much more common than headstanding with a helmet).

The stamp series was the creation of famed illustrator / animator, Eli Noyes.

According to a report in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, concerns as to the depictions on the stamps only came to light once the First Lady was asked to participate in the introduction ceremony for the series. US Postal Service officials told BMX News that neither the The White House, nor the First Lady ordered the stamps destroyed.

Interestingly enough, cycling was not included among the 15 activities–a troubling sign of how far we have come from “kids riding bikes.” Generations of young Americans grew up riding bikes “til the street lights came on.” No more. Riding a bike is, apparently, not even on the radar–being edged out by the likes of juggling and standing on a rock. (Full disclosure: BMX Racing IS part of the Let’s Move campaign).

Our initial reaction to the stamp of disapproval for “Just Move” was one of disbelief–it HAD to be a silly Internet rumor. But after some fact-checking, we learned that truth is sometimes stranger than even Internet fiction.

Strictly speaking, you could take ANY activity on the above sheet and see danger lurking just around the corner if you tried hard enough. The kid balancing on a moss-covered rock could slip and fall from that rock, and without a helmet, pads and neck protection, could be critically-injured. The juggler could go off-rhythm and get conched on the head. And cartwheeling is outlawed in some school districts without the presence of a gymnastics coach (true story).

My nine year old came home from the park the other day with a scrape on his forehead from falling off the swings. Are we negligent parents for not strapping on his full-face racing helmet first? Should the park be dismantled and boarded up on the grounds it is unsafe? Are we retaining counsel to prepare a personal injury suit? Of course not (x 3!).

Being a kid is messy. You get scraped up, banged up, cut up, and sometimes you even throw up. But being an adult is like that too. Childhood is a dress rehearsal for your time on the big stage of life. Packing kids in bubble wrap and keeping them on a shelf (aka couch) for 18 years, then expecting them to be risk-takers and go-getters in adult life is a recipe for failure–of American society as a whole.

This action really starts to prove-out the “Nation of Wimps” theory that has been getting more and more traction. Kids are not permitted to make mistakes that present the slightest chance of them ending up on the business-end of a suture needle, or even a gauze pad and Neosporin, it seems.

That said, the “legal logic” (if that’s not an oxymoron) behind the action is, unfortunately, a sign of our “sue-happy” times. The thought process goes: “If we show a kid doing a headstand without a helmet, we (USPS and, by extension, the First Lady and The White House) are endorsing that kind of behavior. If someone hurts their head as a result of following that cartoon, the government can/will be sued.” You just KNOW it would happen, too.

USPS spokesman Roy Betts told BMX News: “The Postal Service is continuing to develop plans regarding a fitness-themed stamp series. More information will be provided about the 2014 stamp program at a later date.” Mr. Betts also confirmed that stamp sets were actually printed, but declined to comment on the number of sets in that press run, or the respective cost thereof.

—Mike Carruth

>Updated: 11:33AM, 10/15/13 to include a quote from Mr. Roy Betts, and certain factual clarifications.

Now, for something government censors would surely shut down, here’s Cam Zink from last weekend’s Red Bull Rampage.