Pitch Be Crazy (or How I Respond to PR Emails)

Posted on
Jun 12, 2012

As a writer, I am constantly concerned that something big might escape my notice, and when a new social trend is born, when something of cultural significance occurs, I will emerge from a bathroom that smells of methane and will ask the masses: What did I miss? And they will roll their eyes and feel embarrassed for me, as I did for that man who I encountered on a bus in mid-September, 2001, when he asked someone if they had heard about these planes crashing in New York (as he had just found out about them), and it was all the rest of us could do not to shout, HOW COULD YOU HAVE NOT HEARD ABOUT THAT?

Fortunately, I have a constant influx of press releases sent to my inbox against my will, the contents of which consistently reassure me: I have missed nothing. Nothing but hyperbole and useless gadgets and the opening of exhibits I will never see; I am repeatedly told which destination is the new summer hot spot, to the extent that surely, as a race, we are running out of locations. Soon we’ll be told that we need to spend our summers on a remote island off the coast of Madagascar that doesn’t appear on any known maps, or on the back porch of Lake Placid resident Murray Skolnitck’s home, for these are the only two places that have not yet been covered extensively by every major travel publication out there.

For the record, I’d take Murray’s place. But I happen to find Lake Placid totally delightful.

Having been pushed to my limits by this endless stream of PR pitches (some of whom – shudder – actually used the word “staycation”), I have decided to respond to several of them today. I’ve only posted the first line of their emails, because that’s all I can read before I start screaming at my monitor, begging it to reveal how these monsters of publicity found me in the first place.


PR Agency: With summer just around the corner I thought you would have interest in this new trend in teen travel.

Me: Is the trend “giving blow jobs to strangers”? Because let me tell you, that has been around for decades.


PR Agency: How are you? Below are the least expensive hotel rates in 10 of the world’s top cities by redacted (a site that features properties that average 40 percent less than typical nightly rates in cities worldwide).

Me: Who are you kidding, Julie? You don’t give a damn how I am.


The buildings ... they're so FLAT-FRONTED.

PR Agency: The flat-fronted buildings in the Grunerlokka District of Oslo, where the actor Anders Danielsen Lie and the model Iselin Steiro live, are crisp, stately and designed for sunlight.

Me: Dude, seriously? Pretty sure you’re just making up fake Scandanavian words. In fact, I rearranged the letters in “Grunerlokka” and was able to spell, “AKK, LOG!  RUN! … er …” Coincidence? I DOUBT IT.


With summer vacation season almost upon us, now is a good time to remind your readers that crime never takes a vacation and in fact, crime increases between six and sixteen percent during the summer months.

“It’s true,” admitted Crime sadly. “I never take a vacation. People think my life is so easy. That’s it’s just a non-stop, drug-addled whorefest. But you know what? I AM EXHAUSTED. Just once I’d like to take a flight without concealing a condom full of cocaine in my rectum. I’d like to buy my kids clothing that isn’t poorly counterfeited (“NIKEY?” WTF, China.) But there’s never a day off for me. I mean, that meth isn’t going to cook ITSELF, people.”


Hope you enjoyed your weekend!

Pretending you care is only making this situation worse.


Happy Friday! On the move to a sun and sand filled destination this Memorial Day?

Yes. If by “sun and sand filled” you mean “rain- and ennui-filled.”


Whether you’re traveling out of town or opting for a local staycation –



My name is Sarah  from redacted, and I noticed from your blog that you’re a big fan of world travel.

Pretty astute there, Sarah. Try not to get eaten by wolves, okay?


I would like to know if you would try our product for free, and write an article about it afterward.

That doesn’t sound like free, Josh. That sounds like some sort mafia-type deal where I get my legs broke if I don’t claim your product gives me a girl boner.


Redacted is giving consumers insight into their own vacation behaviors and those of their fellow global travelers via its new “How the World Vacations” infographic.

Cool. I made my own inforgraphic:


It felt like it’d never come, but summer is finally here.

Where do you live, Lauren? Because in my world, summer is not here. Not technically, and certainly not metaphorically. You know what’s here? Fall, maybe. Or perhaps a really miserable beginning to spring. Or a new season that exists only in the Northwest, which is the meteorological equivalent of stepping in a patch of wet carpet with your socks on. I call this new season “sponge.” IT LASTS FOR 11 AND A HALF MONTHS.


Imagine it – the scent of fresh lemons and the aroma from freshly chopped herbs circle through the kitchen.

Awww, that sounds really nice. Especially since I forgot to empty out the trash before I left for the weekend, and my kitchen now smells like a mixture of failure and a scent I have dubbed “zombie orgy.”


I write to ask you to help in a creative effort by my office to educate consumers about the pitfalls of internet scams.

That sounds great, Barbara! Send me your SS#, your date of birth, and your mother’s maiden name, and we’ll keep in touch.


She has been beheaded twice, lost an arm, and been daubed with paint at least seven times.

I give up. Courtney Love?


The ultimate competition is about to begin…and it’s NOT the Olympics…


Take THAT, Michael Phelps.


We are a professional manufacturer which researches and produces CNC Lathe, Vertical Lathe, Gear Hobbing Machine, Boring & Milling Machine, Conventional Lathe, and Machine Center and so on.

Holy crap. This may be the greatest press release I’ve ever read.

Our company has awarded certificates of “ISO9001:2000” quality system and CE and so on … Our products sell well in Asia, Africa, America, Middle East, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, such as: Iran, India, Canada and some other countries.

Wait, not the certificate  of “ISO9001:2000” quality system? OH. MY. GOD. No wonder you are selling well in “some other countries.”

By this email, I sincerely invite you to be our guests in the Exhibition Trade Fair in Moscow in 28th, May, 2012. And our exhibition booth number is in the annex. Please kindly check it.


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