I don’t like being on email “mailing lists.” You know what I mean–when you get an email, usually some old joke or a cute picture of a puppy riding an elephant or something, and the address list is about the length of a Russian novel. It’s not that I totally object to seeing pictures of puppies riding elephants, or that I am offended by jokes I have probably already heard. I just don’t like being one of a huge number of people that all get the same thing. Isn’t it bad enough that we are all being turned into numbers by corporations and government agencies. Should we be doing this to our friends, as well? I’m sure that my well-meaning friends who do that on a regular basis certainly don’t mean to dehumanize me and all the other people on the mailing list. I’m sure that at one time, it took a conscious, deliberate thought to put me on the list. After that, however, I just became another name that is part of list “a” or whatever.
I would rather like to think that when I do get a cute picture of a kitten grooming an ostrich or some such thing, that the sender sent it specifically to me, thinking, “I bet Mark would get a kick out of this.” Perhaps that sounds a bit self-centered, but that’s the way I feel.
The absolute worst, however is when I start getting political messages from my “friends” with mailing lists. The only time I ever sent out a “mass mailing” was a few years ago, when it seemed that every time I checked my email, I was getting some political information bit from someone. In my mass mailing, I asked people to remove me from their lists for political messages. By sending me such messages, they were telling me that they saw me as unable to make an intelligent, informed decision without their help, which, quite frankly, I found insulting. The response I got was surprisingly positive. Apparently I was not the only one who tired of the diatribes.
Another election year has arrived, and I am hoping that my message of a few years ago has not been forgotten, but I have a mass mailing ready, just in case. Don’t look for kittens, puppies, ostriches, elephants, or tree sloths.