So this is what I got in the mail:
My first thought was basically, "Mao? Chairman Mao?" and then "...so, what do those Chinese characters say?" I have no idea. So I started brainstorming about what I could do to this postcard, and of course my brain went straight to Monty Python's famous cartoon sketch about American Defense. Y'know, this one:
(I tried so hard to find a video on Youtube but this just isn't there!)
Voice Over: So Miss Johnson returned to her typing and dreamed her little dreamy dreams, unaware as she was of the cruel trick fate had in store for her. For Miss Johnson was about to fall victim of the dreaded international Chinese Communist Conspiracy. (lots of little yellow men pour into the office) Yes, these fanatical thieves under the leadership of the so-called Mao Tse-tung (who appears in the animation) had caught Miss Johnson off guard for one brief but fatal moment and destroyed her. (Miss Johnson is submerged in a tide of yellow men) Just as they are ready to do anytime free men anywhere waver in their defence of democracy.
A sailing ship with American flag sails in over yellow men. Zoom in on the flag: Uncle Sam appears in front of it.
Uncle Sam: Yes, once again American defence proves its effectiveness against international communism. Using this diagram of a tooth to represent any small country, we can see how international communism works by eroding away form the inside (diagram of tooth rotting from inside and collapsing) When one country or tooth falls victim to international communism, its neighbours soon follow. (the remaining teeth fall sideways into the gap) In dentistry, this is known as Domino Theory. but with american defence the decay is stopped before it starts and that's why nine out of ten small countries choose American defense ... (summary stolen from this website here)
ANYWAY. I didn't feel like drawing lots of little men, but I did manage to get Uncle Sam into the postcard. Here's my final version:
If the background pattern looks familiar, that's because it's comprised of scraps from my book cover. Hooray for recycling!
When I gave the postcard back to the original owner, he just sorta glanced at it. Didn't seem to care about it much one way or the other. But I had fun, at least! Although there's so many ways you can interpret having Uncle Sam and Mao together in the same image. Is it a commentary on American dependency on China for production? The uneasy alliance the two countries have? Friend or foe?
I dunno, but Monty Python makes everything better, so have one of my favorite clips (although not the one I was looking for):