Monday, November 20, 2006

Spam Hell

Lately I have been besieged by an absurd amount of snail mail spam from a host of progressive/liberal organizations, such as the Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, UNICEF, Red Cross, etc. I even got a "personal letter" from Robert Redford about some environment stuff that I tossed in the trash without reading. Every letter warns about some super dire crisis that will destroy democracy/personal liberty/the environment/a woman's right to choose/blah blah blah if I don't donate $25 or more. I must seem like some big liberal philanthropist to anyone who sees my daily barrage of liberal junk mail. I guess I probably brought this on to myself by subscribing to Harper's, donating money to UNICEF, donating money to the DNC, and becoming an ACLU member.

While I threw away most of the junk mail I got, I did keep one piece because it's the funniest junk mail I've ever received. It's "The Most Important Gift Catalog in the World" from Heifer International and has a picture of a sheep on the cover. Basically, you donate money to this charity to purchase livestock for people in developing countries. It doesn't sound all that funny until one sees the pictures of the children and villagers hugging/craddling/petting/riding/herding their donated sheep/bunnies/piglets/llamas/water buffaloes, all accompanied by informative text explaining the importance of each animal to the recipient, such as this quote from 60 Minutes: "With all the money donated to help fight famine around the world, with all the grandiose plans conceived to conquer poverty, sometimes all it takes to save a child is a goat." There's even a picture of some poor orphan from Armenia "with one of her hives of Heifer International honeybees. She says she likes beekeeping because, 'it may not be physically difficult to raise bees, but you must be clever'."

The prices vary according to the animal donated, ranging from $20 for a flock of chicks to $5000 for a "Gift Ark," which consists of 2 cows, 2 oxens, 2 beehives, 2 sheep, 2 water buffaloes, 2 goats, 2 camels, 2 llamas, 2 donkeys, 2 trios of ducks, 2 trios of Guinea Pigs, 2 pigs, 2 trios of rabbits, 2 blocks of geese and 2 flocks of chicks. While I applaud Heifer's creative way of tackling poverty and hunger, I just can't take this catalog seriously because it makes me laugh every time I see the sheep on the cover under the "The Most Important Gift Catalog in the World" heading.

Those of you who CAN take it seriously, donate!!