Monday, March 12, 2007

Right to Privacy

As you can see, I'm back in my ranting mode. Too much art can be deleterious to ranting.
But come Monday, safely away from art and its side effects, I'm in top ranting form again.
In the movie Maxed Out, some smart lawyer explains that the right to privacy is guaranteed in the Constitution, but it is the right to privacy from the Government; not the right to privacy from the corporations or sundry organizations who hound us by mail and by phone and by internet and by lists. And basically there is little we can do about it.
The Do not call registry is a joke. It is as much of a joke as any legislation designed by corporations to assuage our anger and safeguard their practices.
I'm not only tired but afraid every time I give out my credit card info, for I know I will start getting mail from a zillion organizations I have no interest in joining. It is a fact that if I pay for a show at Carnegie Hall or Lincoln Center, soon I am getting mail from every person who ever blew a horn or plucked a string.
I don't want anybody to sell my name to put me in a list. But there is no way of stopping it.
Why the fuck do I get Christmas catalogs? Why do I get Lubavitcher publications? What do I want with garden furniture? Why has someone decided that I am a philantropist on a par with George Soros? Why do I get a catalog that sells sweaters with reindeer?
And one could be dead for years and there is no way anybody will take you off their list.
Thus, the bulk of my mail belongs to three deceased people, the most recent one gone only since 1998, the other two since 1992. For a time, I'd write "return to sender" with a big DECEASED sign and the date of death, but nobody took heed. I wrote a letter to my postmaster. No response. And no abatement.
I can screen my calls and I usually don't answer anything that comes with an 800 prefix, but these people are crafty and now they appear as "unknown caller", which is what long distance calls look like. So when I fall into the trap, I treat the poor sods at the other end of the line to my venomous contempt. I hope it is indeed true that the call may be recorded for quality assurance so that somebody can hear my anger and my frustration.
I think people are starting to feel powerless in the face of routine abuse. We're powerless in the face of Bush, powerless with the phone and cable companies, powerless with the airlines, powerless period.
But who is to blame but us.
Had I been one of the passengers of Jet Blue, I would have staged such mayhem that they would have had to throw me off the plane. Then I would sue their ass forever. Or that at least, is my fantasy.
Recently I had a doctor's appointment. The referral form that I needed to bring with me listed the wrong address. Then this doctor made me and every other patient wait 2 hours. 2 hours.
It's not that this is like the third world. It is uniquely first world in its utter disregard for the consumer or the patient or the passenger. They just don't give a fuck because what are you going to do about it?



    You can register here for a Do Not Mail list sponsored, ironically, by the Direct Marketing Association. I registered a couple of years ago and it stopped the mailer deluge, though not completely.

  2. Thanks, Cynthia, for providing invaluable community service. I will join asap.