Tart cards

Above: Examples of tart cards, 2018. Composite credit: Oscopic.

Goodbye to the Tart Card

Prostitute's promotional postcards--commonly known as tart cards--will not survive the Digital Revolution. Even the phone-boxes that they are blue-tacked up in will not survive the Digital Revolution.

When Walter Benjamin looked at the first years of photography from the point-of-view of its impact on employment-and-jobs he noted that the first definite casualties of photography were the many self-employed portrait miniaturists--who had businesses painting tiny portraits for customers wanting an aide memoire of a family member, lover, etc.

If we look at the comparable job-related impact of the Internet, low-quality-and-cheap offset-litho printers are definitely on the list, but way down it, and pity is limited. Will anyone really miss rubbish printing carried out by cocksure-and-surly spivs, in humid basements? Probably not. It's good riddance in this instance.

But what about the advertisers themselves? They moved their services online long ago. The final group affected (in the context of this mini-case-study) are those working as sticker-uppers; those whose lowly-and-humble job is touring phone-boxes to illegally stick-up tart cards. Will they find new employment in another field within the black market? Alternative employment may be Internet-related--"brute force" (i.e., manually guessing) password cracking; the creation of fraudulent "phishing" emails (being illiterate is not an issue here); paid trolling, etc. (These options might not suit workers who prefer to to be-their-own-boss and enjoy working outside.) Perhaps the London Mayor Sadiq Khan will reach out to offer assistance to former sticker-uppers. They are surely prime examples of the "hard-working ordinary Londoners," that Khan endlessly claims to be defending.

(28 April 2018)