Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Love unrequited

Living in London and coming into daily contact with people who read The Guardian and actually agree with most of it's puerile drivel, it was a breath of fresh air to read the responses from Americans to a campaign The Guardian had the audacity to run in Ohio.

Essentially, they asked Brits to write to undecided voters in that state and tell them how to vote.

I kid you not. 11,000 addresses were requested and, presumably 5,000 letters were sent (I am working on the general ratio of productivity here which runs at a little under 50%).

The responses varied, from ankle-grabbing thanks wafting over from California to some choice words from just about everyone else telling the British populace to butt the hell out of the election. The whole gamut of 'stay the hell out' responses were written, including:


Creative threats:

"Consider this: stay out of American electoral politics. Unless you would like a company of US Navy Seals - Republican to a man - to descend upon the offices of the Guardian, bag the lot of you, and transport you to Guantanamo Bay, where you can share quarters with some lonely Taliban shepherd boys. "


Disdain (and a good point):

"I don't give a rat's ass if our election is going to have an effect on your worthless little life. I really don't. If you want to have a meaningful election in your crappy little island full of shitty food and yellow teeth, then maybe you should try not to sell your sovereignty out to Brussels and Berlin."


A history lesson:

"Keep your noses out of our business. As I recall we kicked your asses out of our country back in 1776."


A good idea:

"Gentle folks at the Guardian,In your plea to get your non-American readers to write to voters in Clark County, Iowa, you are correct that events in the US have had, and will have, effects on world events. For example, we have pulled your chestnuts out of the fire in two world wars that were occasioned by European diplomacy. Maybe you'd like a vote in which American president will oversee the next rescue. The next time you have elections in Great Britain, I shall endeavour to send names of your citizens to people in France, Iraq, India, the United Arab Emirates, Botswana, Pakistan, China and Argentina so that they may attempt to influence your election. It's only fair that everybody in the world should have a say in the selection of the prime minister."


And of course, biting sarcasm:

"My dear, beloved Brits,

I understand the Guardian is sponsoring a service where British citizens write to Americans to advise them on how to vote. Thank heavens! I was adrift in a sea of confusion and you are my beacon of hope!

Feel free to respond to this email with your advice. Please keep in mind that I am something of an anglophile, so this is not confrontational. Please remember, too, that I am merely an American. That means I am not very bright. It means I have no culture or sense of history. It also means that I am barely literate, so please don't use big, fancy words.
Set me straight, folks!


Dayton, Ohio"


Evidently, a lot of the letter writers didn't pay much heed to letter-writing-instruction 72b:

"Explain why you think they should pay the slightest bit of attention to what you think about their election. Remember, charm will be far more effective than hectoring."

Why you think they should pay attention to what you think. Because, of course, if you think it old chap - it must be right.

No amount of 'charm' will mask the fact that The Guardian has overstepped the bounds of decency here. Is it really the role of a newspaper to send out electoral roll details from another country and urge readers to send voting instructions to private citizens?

M




* Via Tech Central Station

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