Saturday, October 9, 2010

161. Scary Lawyer Letter

So I go to check the mail for my latest issue of Elle Décor or Conde Naste Travel or at the bare minimum a Restoration Hardware catalog, and I find this little gem instead: a cease and desist letter from some lawyer. Huh? What have I done this time?

No mere parking ticket, this. I start to read it, and my hands are trembling. Here, see for yourself:

“Dear Mrs. MOV,

I am an attorney hired to represent the People for Ethical Treatment of Everyone (PETE).

It has come to our attention from multiple sources that your blog is quite offensive. This letter is to respectfully request that you cease and desist from making negative connotations about, but not limited to, the following groups or individuals:
  • People with allergies
  • Runners
  • People who work at high-end kitchen stores (yourself excluded)
  • People who shop at high-end kitchen stores
  • Contractors
  • People named Candace
  • People who look like twins
  • People who have been diagnosed with Cancer
  • Catholics
  • Christians
  • Mothers
  • Brothers
  • Doctors (specifically dermatologists)
  • Lunch room workers
  • Target Corporation
  • Jeff Bridges
  • Landscapers
  • Girls who distribute fliers
  • People who do laundry
  • Hairdressers
  • People who suffer from bipolarism or have bipolaristic tendencies or bipolar-like behaviors
  • People who own dogs (you haven’t insulted them yet, but we obtained an insider tip that you might in the future).
As a blog writer, you have a responsibility to your reading public to uphold the highest standards of journalistic ethical integrity: it is part of the Writer’s Oath that you signed when you initially created your blog spot.

Furthermore, it will not be tolerated for you to continue to write such hurtful material, whether it be true or sheer fiction. Mrs. MOV, may I remind you that EVERY WORD IN A BLOG MUST BE TRUE. Blogs are not the place for ‘opinions’ or ‘fiction’ or ‘hyperbole’; no. Blogs are a source of information and fact, and as such, people turn to them for essential truths, facts, and information. No one wants your opinion, that is not why blogs were designed in the first place.  You have done the writing community a grave disservice, and if you do not cease and desist this horrid behavior immediately, we will be forced to pursue legal action, including but not limited to monetary damages.

Randy Jamison
Chief Counsel for People for Ethical Treatment of Everyone (PETE) ”

Yikes. Is it finally time for me to lawyer up? Or can I add lawyers to the lengthy list of those that are repelled by my writing?

In the end, I decide to represent myself in this case (first, because I think I have turned “being defensive” into an Art Form, and second because as a writer I do not make enough money—well, any—to pay an “actual” lawyer). As I know the future of my lucrative writing career hinges on this, I spend a good ten minutes crafting my response.  Here’s what I come up with:

“Dear Mr./ Ms. Jamison (see? that right there is what I hate about names like ‘Randy’. Is that a girl name? boy name? transvestite? Oh, great—now I can add transvestites and people with unisex names to the list of those who hate me),

I am writing to you in your response to your letter dated October 8th regarding my repugnant writing. According to you and your cohorts, I have managed to create resentment and insult several special interest groups, mainly Everyone Who Ever Lived. You give me no choice but to reiterate my original mission statement for my blog: If you don’t find my writing offensive, then I’m doing it wrong.

Thank you very much for your letter, Randy, I plan to frame it and hang it by my desk (right next to my Bachelor's degree in Making People Mad) to provide inspiration to myself and bloggers everywhere.

Good day.
MOV (which is not unisex, but is clearly a girl name)”

(“Must Offend Virtual” community)

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