Sunday, November 20, 2011

Modern manners: the graceless stupidity of ignoring emails

When a Jehovah's Witness rings my bell, I make certain he or she sees me through a window before I go about my business and decline to come to the door. JWs are easy to spot: they usually travel in pairs (may I just say that the Watchtower is quite well written), are clad in a chic I term shabby neat and always stand impassively and patiently at the door, as if embarked on a picnic-fuelled siege. Sales people tend to fidget.

My purpose in manifesting my person at the window is of course a calculated offence: I want them to understand that they have been observed and that I have elected to ignore them. It's a kind cruelty of a sort: it does at least invite the option not to call again, thereby saving them much in hurt dignity, if any.

A very modern variation on this rudeness is the ignored email. You, the sender, have gone to the bother of directing energy at a certain target (an editor, say). Perhaps you have suggested an idea, or pointed something out: in other words, you have bothered. The effect? Nothing.

You know the email has arrived because emails don't go missing: that's a modern myth. There is no such thing as a lost email, unless it has been wilfully deleted by some lazy cunt (ie the sendee). You may be on good terms with the sendee who reads your email - and then decides not to respond. You may be well known to the sendee, you may even have enjoyed carnal knowledge (perhaps not), yet silence is the answer.

Suddenly I am the Jehovah's Witness treated as an unwelcome visitor.

In the case of the office-bound editor or journalist who ignores emails, this is a behavioural exhibition of arrogance or sheer ignorance arising from tenure. The individual has started to imagine, thanks to the plastic security of status, that they are being inundated - that somehow everyone 'out there' is trying to sell them something. Thanks to their elevated position, the normal rules of etiquette are suspended because no equality is perceived. Silence is a type of response (in that it falls short of an expectation): its purpose is to advertise the importance of the sendee.

Silence is the flamboyant twirl of Big I Am.

The Silent are in transit, see - they hallucinate that their lives are moving at greater speed than those who are 'out there' - and the absence of response is a living demonstration. In any case, an ego trip based on not doing something is one of the delights of tenured journalism. It adds to the quilting of contract life, to the relish of professional hibernation on a Caffè Nero drip feed.

What I love most though is that The Silent usually come calling later, pretending not to have received the email or attempting to gloss over their graceless stupidity. That's when the real fun starts.

22 comments:

Tenured ed said...

Wonderfully put. And I see that in a sense you apply the moral birch to your own behind by confessing your mistreatment of JWs. There, you have nothing to complain about.

Craig said...

Do remind me not to piss you off, darling.

Dr Evil said...

I want ONE TRILLION DOLLARS!

An honest Jo said...

My way of dealing with editors who fail to reply to emails is to put on auto-messaging - - it tells me if the email has beeen opened. After a reasonable period of silence, I then copy the message into a new email and send it to the editor. At least they can't lie later.

Fake Daniels said...

Brilliant! I'm shitting myself and I don't even think this applies to me. If it ever has though it will have been the spam folder's fault (an over-eager spam algorithm seems to be the 'acceptable etiquette but we both really know the truth' excuse).

Madame Arcati said...

Thank you - I shall allow that one small possibility - that the email has slipped into spam. I'm afraid this has happened to me when I have played role of sendee: it's very embarrassing and no one believes you when you discover the message months after dispatch.

I should add that I have been a lazy cunt of a tenured editor/hack myself.

Anonymous said...

Wowee, love it. Very sharp.

Anonymous said...

I agree that The Watchtower is well written. And well subbed. I take it then that on one occasion at least you answered the door and accepted a free copy.

Anonymous said...

Oh Madame! Career change.

Editor said...

The Blackberry altered everything. In the back of my company limo every morning I sift through my emails on it, only opening those I consider urgent. Once I have covered a certain patch of my inbox, that's it. The unopened emails stay that way as they get buried by fresh emails.

Sorry!

Anonymous said...

Has Madame had carnal knowledge of any living editor? I think we should be told.

not Pamella Bordes said...

Is this about the exclusive scoop those nerds at the Specci ignored? Sweetypops Andrew Neil is a cunt of the highest taxbreakable order and Fraser half-Nelson a fuckwit of a lap poodle. But not even pretty to look at. And anyway APFFFTT Neil would ignore you, you'kre not brown and female and spreading your lips for his miserable little member (I heard, have not measured)
Chin up, helmet on, tin pails and shovels at the ready
X

Madame Arcati said...

I'd recognise that prose style anywhere...

I interviewed Bordes once. Most fascinating memories.

not Paamela Bordes said...

Of course you would because according to the spotty Toadmeister you are I and we are one. Like a CK perfume ad. Do you know he's excluded special needs kids from his stupid free school? Not so free unless you think arbeit makes you frei. Smne needs to burn down the lot of the Speccie lot. Starting with APFfffft Neil's toupee. Pamela is a divine minx. Now a photographer / yoga instructor I think.

someone said...

I love it when Madame is in full flight.

Editor said...

I don't know if this applies to Madame, but sometimes I fail to reply to an email to save the feelings of the writer. The proposed idea may be rubbish or embarrassing. Failure to respond gives everyone the opportunity to move on with no recrimination. Freelancers are so excitable after all. Love to all.

Anonymous said...

The left-wing press are by far the worst practitioners of this power trip. At the Guardian they're trained to blank anyone not on a list of about 100 journalists worldwide. No wonder they're about to fold - they won't COMMUNICATE - just sit on their fat dead arse of preconception.

Madame Arcati said...

I'm fascinated about these 100 Guardian approved journalists. I do know that the deputy editor of the Guardian, Kath Viner, has blocked Madame Arcati on Twitter, which does suggest to me that the spirit of her paper's Comment Is Free section most definitely does not dwell within her. I suspect she should be in the Civil Service.

Anonymous said...

Oh, they're a nightmare of constipated bullshit. They think blanking keeps them on higher ground

Anonymous said...

BLANKING IS THE NEW WANKING

Rosemary Breen said...

Well said! First read on your site!

Madame Arcati said...

Welcome Rosemary to my salon. Some grow fearful, others thrive. x