Editorial: Harvest Time

A few readers didn’t agree with my recent comments about the Federal Trade Commission’s public service announcements highlighting the national no-call registry, even though I took issue with the ad campaign, not the need for a list. The only printable letter appears this week, though my office dads who were surveyed want the record clear that their priorities are just fine. (The question was whether they read to their children every day, not read or “otherwise play” with them.)

One said the ads “sound a bit cheesy, but so what? The fact is the DNC didn’t just appear out of thin air. … Telemarketers, I’ve been telling you scumbags to stop calling me for years. Come October the next time you call, I’ll have a big federally sponsored 2×4 waiting for you.” Another wrote, “If I am picking petals off of daisies, picking my nose or sitting on the toilet … my current activities are more important than anything any direct marketer may have to say or offer.”

But just when I think I’m done berating the FTC’s lack of imagination, I run across its spam micro-site, which explains how spam is spread and how some unscrupulous firms harvest addresses online. The artwork picks up on this harvest theme and features a ’50s-era communistic-looking farmer — with a sickle, no less — in a field of e-mail addresses, but the buttons to click on include images of corn, wheat, peppers and carrots. I thought Russia wasn’t the evil empire anymore. Still, wouldn’t it be ironic if someone tried to submit this for an Echo or Caples award?

Drawing the Line

Remember the old Bugs Bunny cartoon where Bugs would draw a line on the ground and warn Yosemite Sam, “Don’t cross this line, or else!” Sam, of course, would cross the line, so Bugs would back up another step and say, “You’d better not cross this line!” Again, Sam would step over the line. The next thing you know, Sam is falling off a cliff. That’s what it seemed like every time the Canadian Union of Postal Workers agreed to extend its deadline with Canada Post another day. “If you don’t give us what we want, we’ll strike.” “OK, this time we really mean it.” “Meet our demands or else!” However, neither side fell off a cliff in this case. And since the union said this is the first time in more than 20 years that an agreement was made without strike action, maybe this is the strategy to take.

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