The New Do Not Mail List
posted by Jeffrey Harrison
About once a month either my wife or I call the retailers who stuff our mailbox with catalogues and say “Stop.” For some period we do not get the catalogues. It’s not that we will not buy from them. We might, but when we do we will look the same thing up online. Far more offensive than the latest LL Bean, Bullock & Jones or Chiasso, is the decanal glossy or law porn as it is also called. You know, that oversized postcard in the mail from another law school announcing that this year the Benjamin Robinson speaker will be Horst S. Butt from Harvard or Yale. Or the glossy announcing who is visiting that year. You can bet that I was just wondering about that. Or the big juicy glossy listing faculty publications right down to every op-ed piece, one-page introduction, tape-recorded commentary and speech to the Elks Club that every law faculty member insisted was scholarship and worthy of publicity and that every dean could not have been happier to add to list. Most of these come off a negative advertising both for the schools and for many of the faculty — and I do not mean just those with very short lists.
Each day it comes and, like other matter, is shoveled from the mailbox to the trashcan. Yet, no matter how much you throw away, it comes again. It’s like the scene in Sleeper when Woody Allen is still pretending to be a robot and does something in the kitchen – I’ve forgotten what — and it keeps expanding and expanding – and he is left to try to beat it to death with a broom. I do not recall if of prevails because at about this point in the film he discovers the orgasmatron.
Where does this stuff come from? No, I know who mails it: Panic-stricken law school administrators afraid their schools will drop a slot in USN&WR and the faculty, students for alums will be up in arms. I mean the paper, the ink, the labor, the money to pay the salaries of those assigned to prepare and mail it. Also,where does it all end up once it is carried away, largely unread, by the trash person? Could I pleeeeeeeeze get on a do not mail list? Why not do something more useful like, for example, digging holes in the sand and then filling them back up and then using the money to put back together some 19 year old that Bush and Cheney sent to Iraq to be blasted apart.