Friday, September 26, 2003

Anybody who has a telephone must appreciate the irony of the telemarketing industry righteously defending the principles of free speech. Free speech that doesn't include the words "No," "No, thank you," "I'm not interested," ""I'm hanging up now," "Please stop talking, I'm hanging up," "For the love of god, my long-distance coverage can't matter this much"...

If somebody comes to your door and won't leave, you have the right to call the police. If an individual makes unwanted harassing calls to your house, you have the same right. Yet, if a business entity wants to call your house, tie up your line, and argue with you, that's free speech.

Talk about an industry that does nothing for its own reputation. During a recent radio piece on "Do Not Call" legislation, a telemarketing spokesman tried. He said this, almost to the word: "We work very hard to not be annoying." Our promise to you: Mitigating Our Nuisance Is Job One. Why would a valid industry have to defend its right to irritate? The Small Barking Dog Association. The Loose Fan Belt Guild. Impacted Waistband Boil Confederation. These concerns don't seem compelled to defend themselves, yet their products still seem to flourish.

Of course, the magic word is invoked in the debate: jobs. Oh, the jobs. Jobs will be lost. We can't lose the jobs. Anything that eliminates jobs is evil. At a time when America's economy is bleeding shitty, low-paying jobs, we need to staunch the flow.

So here's an idea. Telemarketers will need jobs with flexibility to work from home. America needs teachers.

[SFX: Phone rings.]
CHILD: Hello?
PHONE (VO): Good day, miss. Am I speaking to a Brittany Sander... ston? Sandington?
CHILD: Sanderson.
PHONE (VO): I am sorry about that, Miss Sanders. I'm calling with some good news from Fractions.
CHILD: I'm not interested.
PHONE (VO): But Brittany, did you know you can say "one-half" instead of "two-fourths"? What's your current expression for half of something?
CHILD: I'm hanging up now.
PHONE (VO): "Two-fourths?" "Eight-sixteenths"? Now, Brittany, let me tell you why saying "one-half" gives you the same great expression while saving you time AND syllables..."

Today's FOCR: "Add It Up," Violent Femmes, Violent Femmes

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