It turns out (see the previous entry) that I rather enjoy writing letters, especially snotty ones, to people who probably won’t pay them the slightest bit of attention. It eases the pain of my frustration with stupid, selfish and otherwise bad people, very much in the manner of a laxative when one is constipated. In my defense, these are not really crank letters — or at least, the topics are real and important, even if my tiny voice stands no chance of being heard in this modern wilderness of self-regard and Mammon worship.
So, my latest cranky letter: it seems that MEMRI has threatened Juan Cole with a lawsuit. Fools. Prof Cole has replied in fine style (also here and here), which made it easy for me to comply with his request that readers contact MEMRI and ask that they drop the threat. I even went along, pretty much, with Prof Cole’s injunction to be polite:
I write to urge you to withdraw your preposterous threat of a libel action against Prof Juan Cole. There is no basis for such an action, as Prof Cole has ably explained on his weblog, and in particular the inclusion of the University of Michigan in the threat smacks of an attempt at intimidation.
I am not an expert on international media, the Arab world or any other aspect of this dispute. It is clear, however, even to me, that the lawsuit threat is an attempt to avoid having to engage Prof Cole on the substance of his remarks. You will only marginalise yourselves by continuing with this response, which is at stark odds with the workings and goals of an open, intellectually free society.
Please withdraw the threat and engage Prof Cole in a public debate, beginning with his weblog response to your threat letter. Not only will this allow you to present your side of the issue, but it will further your own goal of bridging the gap between the West and the Middle East — without bringing your organisation into disrepute.
I like this so much I may add a separate category for it. Where’s that address for the Oregonian editor again?
Update: Max weighs in. A momzer is a bastard (in both the literal “parents not married” and the colloquial “asshole” sense), afaik. From a trackback to Max, Chris of Explananda predicts that MEMRI will “rue the day”, and provides links to nearly a dozen other responses.