How to Handle Unsolicited Mail
Porn and bibles: A lesson for MK Michael Ben Ari
About a decade ago, when I was a wee plucky college intern on Capitol Hill, like many before me, I used to open the office mail. When the item was something deemed unworthy of the congressman’s time—for instance, over 90 percent of constituent mail—I’d shred or toss it. Otherwise, I’d usually use the boilerplate text and fill in the details for an official response. It was a pretty dull operation that wasted a lot of time, paper, and faith in democracy. However, one day an envelope came for my boss’s boss’s boss that changed my life.
It was a copy of the porn mag Hustler. As I tore open the envelope and saw what was
inside on the cover, I quickly grew nervous. I was new and didn’t have any idea what to make of a potentially scandalous development. I slowly crept over to my boss, who was a perpetually duressed aide, and asked her if I could speak with her in private. She ambivalently consented and I grabbed the envelope. I explained that the congressman’s personal life was his own business and I wasn’t interested in judging him, but … I handed her the envelope and she narrowed her eyes.
“The Congressman isn’t addicted to porn, Adam. Every member of Congress gets a copy of Hustler, sent from Larry Flynt.”
She threw it in the trash, and we both went back to work.
In theory, this is what Israeli MK Michael Ben Ari could have done when he received a copy of the New Testament in the mail. Instead, he claimed it was a provocation and had his legislative aide photograph him ripping the book apart. Well, now the picture of an Israeli legislator ripping apart a book that is holy to 2 billion people is in the ether ready to be snatched. That’s also a provocation.
While one fellow intern at the time confided about the habits of some members of Congress who’d slide their copy of Hustler into their briefcases, at least it solved the problem of the provocation. Now if we could just cure porn addiction, all would right with the world.
Congress gets Hustler Magazine, even if it’s unwanted [Salt Lake Tribune]
Israeli lawmaker tears up copy of New Testament [AlArabiya]