Know your audience.

Theme of the day:

The first hilariously this-isn’t-me piece of junk mail arrived addressed to me, from a local-ish bank (who, incidentally, is represented for their PR by a former colleague — whoops). “Cheap” bank account? Credit card? What goodies did they have in store? Well, aside from an insert advertising a “free” $100 to open a financially-not-feasible checking account with them sometime in the next eight weeks, it included a letter beginning “Dear Audrey” and which continued “Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!” and went on to describe how many couples-to-be neglect to think about the combining of finances during the wedding planning and this bank was here to save the day! Hooray! Well, No Name Bank, not only am I very much not getting married, but if I were, the first thing I would do would be to think about finances and their combination, or not.

The next instance of Know Your Audience came with the second piece of junk mail I decided to open.

This plea for monetary support was addressed to my father, but reading the envelope which announced its intention to secure financial SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL on behalf of some foundation named after some old presumably Jewish guy, I just had to open it. I knew he wouldn’t care, but sorry anyway, U.S. Government. OopsFelony.

I can’t really describe the letter, except to say there were some embarrassing grammatical errors, so here’s what happened in visual re-enactments (I apologize for the wonky quality of these scans):

The third junk mail I opened was Obama campaign mail (what a lovely infographic they included on job growth) — free sticker! — and the fourth junk mail was actually not junk mail at all, but a notification telling my mom it was time to get her car serviced. So, mom, add it to the to-do list.

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2 thoughts on “Know your audience.

  1. I guess Norman Finkelstein wasn’t exaggerating when he called it “the Holocaust industry”.
    My guess is that ninety five percent of US Jewish support for Israel is coerced. That verb is rather a term of art, coming from “ark”: to shut someone up in a vessel: co-ark them. Coercion is necessarily fine-tuned to the one being coerced. Your glosses suggest how that coercion is fine-tuned: what the extortionist sees, what the extortionist applies along with the demand, and what the extortionist leaves behind.
    I must say, this four-page demand entirely destroys my awe at the name of Simon Wiesenthal. Can I joke that I expected to see at the bottom of the last page a lawyer’s statement that Simon Wiesenthal has no association with the Simon Wiesenthal Center and does not endorse the activities, statements, or intentions thereof?
    And I noted the anachronistic, as it turns out, pride the letter takes in its French activities.
    What I didn’t see was your asking the letter-writer what “Jewish state” means.
    Roles: I’ve been thinking about them. The Gemeinschaft-Gesellschaft dichotomy is probably expressed as a dichotomy between “the scripted reality of the bourgeoisie” (apparently NIetzsche’s main grievance)–life is a skit and we have our roles–and a scheme of life where everybody is playing it by ear and making it up as we go along. As hard as it is to go out the door without a face–a persona, Greek dramatic mask with a hole to speak through–it sure makes conversations a lot more interesting. Especially those I have with myself.
    And indeed the Simon Wiesenthal Center seems to have laid off all its English-literate employees.
    Let me introduce the guy in the photo with me, an artifact from FOB Marez in Mosul, Iraq, in 2004, where I National-Guarded. As a cook in the land of KBR, I supervised casual labor (ah, just like in good old Vietnam, right? laundry and pot-washers and trash-pickers?, and where’s Robin Williams and Martin Sheen?). Nathar was the most self-confident of the workers. This was as Abu Ghreib was making itself a household word. His name means “vow or warning”.
    I’ll tell you what I’m angry about (10% of my 30% VA disability rating is for PTSD, accounted for by my “anger”). There is absolutely no mystery about any of this, just a whole, whole lot of cowards.
    I think the relevant rule from ageless wisdom is that, no matter how stupid you are trying to be, reality catches up with you. And me.

  2. Say, how would you like a project? Veterans for Peace (don’t get your hopes up) is having their annual convention in Miami this year (that tells you a lot about them). I tried to get the Israeli Consulate to at least refuse to send a speaker, this would be in early August. I talked to a lawyer they listed for people needing criminal attorneys who said, one way and another, King Kong is sleeping, don’t call back. I mean, their phone system is so sophisticated, apparently someone who read my email inquiries, unctuous to the point of groveling, or vice versa, likewise, dictionaries are wonderful things, that someone who read my inquiries entered my phone number so that, whatever extension I tried to reach a human being by, after the recording to leave a message there was no beep but instead a hang-up. The lawyer says, apparently they don’t want to participate. I’d like someone to tell me they don’t want to participate.
    The lawyer is Sara Shulevitz. If she won’t be forthcoming, call back and talk to the woman who answers the phone. “You need to know someone on the inside.” Why should the MFA be any kinder to you than it was to me? I’ll do an Erle Stanley Gardner here: they only want to talk to friendly audiences; hence they’re fighting a rear-guard action; what exactly is driving them back and which way is backward? They (who?) seem to up against an existential threat for real: realizing what they’re doing. So this is exactly the time they need a midwife to help them give birth to this understanding. Let’s hazard a guess and say people commit suicide, aside from the inexorable pain cases, because they’re being capsized by an understanding a-birthing. There’s a mixed metaphor. Breach-birth, ass over teakettle? They need someone to authorize to them their own thinking. “Come on, be a Mensch and know what you know.” They need someone to make their brain their friend instead of their enemy. Mr. Friedman would say to me in law class, “You had the answer but your brain got in the way.”

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