On a daily basis, my email inbox is polluted by messages whose presence baffles me. For instance, I receive an email from CMJ every single day. That is not hyperbole–every single day. Not only have I never purchased a copy of CMJ, but I’ve never attended any show as part of the CMJ Fest, or even put the letters C, M, and J together until today. I haven’t the slightest idea how I wound up on their mailing list, but I am definitely on it, because not a day goes by that I don’t get some missive about how I only have three days/two weeks/four hours to register for some event of theirs. I don’t bother to write back and say REMOVE because by this point, I find it more amusing than annoying.
Similarly, I get at least one email a day from a Democratic politician or pundit. The origin of this is less mysterious: I went to some Kerry meet-ups way back in the heady days of 2004 and made the mistake of giving my email address at one of them. So for the rest of my life, I will check my email first thing in the morning and see at least one message from James Carville or J.B. Poersch.
They’re the kind of emails you can see in your inbox from across the room, because the subject line is usually in all caps and consists of one angry word like OUTRAGE! Normally, they go straight in the trash unread. After years of receiving these screeds, I suffer from Outrage Fatigue. I contribute enough time and money to Important Things that I don’t feel bad ignoring these appeals.
Then yesterday, I received an email from Chuck Schumer, New York’s senior senator. He is a frequent OUTRAGE!er, and his emails usually wind up in my recycle bin. But the subject line of this one caught my eye.
You see that, political fundraisers? Put a food and a percussive verb together that normally have zero relationship with one another, and you’ve hooked me. Here are some humble suggestions for future subject lines: