Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Eric Alterman's new line of greeting cards

There’s not much I can say about Brendan’s spat with Eric Alterman last week. I think both their words speak for themselves.

But something really cool has come out of it. Apparently a few other political blog readers and I weren’t the only ones who were paying attention. I’ve got a friend who works at American Greetings and apparently the executives there were so impressed by Alterman’s writing style that they are creating a whole new line of greeting cards based on him. My source told me they have a tentative name and marketing slogan:

AlterCards – For the pretentious ass who’s never wrong

Catchy, huh? The first AlterCards apparently won't come out until next year. But Alterman, who is serving as a consultant on the project, has already started to deliver sample text. My source got me a copy of the material they are using for the first card, which executives expect to be very popular amongst pretentious asses who are never wrong: Belated birthday wishes.

Apparently Alterman gave the American Greetings folks a letter that he recently sent to his grandmother to use as the basis for the card. Names and details will, of course, be left vague in the final version.

Compared to typical greeting cards, this is very long. But when you’re getting text from a writer of Eric Alterman’s stature, you hardly expect 10 words, do you?


Dear Grandmother,

I heard from a mutual friend that you woke up the other morning and decided it would be a good idea to join in Rush Limbaugh's campaign of vilification against Media Matters by complaining that I haven’t wished you a happy birthday. To someone who is familiar with me and my work, this claim is patently absurd. In my six books and many thousands of articles, columns and blog posts over the past twenty-five years, I have repeatedly argued against privatization of the Social Security and Medicare systems and other policies that would harm senior citizens such as yourself.

Not long ago I was attending a dinner party in Manhattan where the topic of aging came up over the third glass of an excellent pinot noir that I brought from my most recent trip to wine country. Though I am always reluctant to mention famous people I know, I was pressured to discuss my long acquaintanceship with the pre-eminent philosopher Richard Rorty, who had recently passed away. Dick faced the end of his life with grace and class, finding time to leave a few final marks of his brilliance on the world, such as a recommendation letter he wrote for me. You, of course, are hardly Dick Rorty, Grandmother. But my respect for the aged and interest in discussing your demographic with powerful pundits at a dinner party benefits your life much more than a mere card with the words “Happy Birthday!” that I could have bought for $1.59 at the local drug store chain, where the workers most likely don’t earn a living wage or have access to health insurance.

Given that I am just finishing my seventh book and continue to update my hugely popular blog Altercation, located at, while still serving as a Distinguished Professor of English, Brooklyn College, City University of New York, Professor of Journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC, where I write and edit the “Think Again” column, senior fellow (since 1985) at the World Policy Institute at The New School in New York, and a history consultant to HBO Films, I'd not be surprised if I may have forgotten your birthday, though this card is not an admission that I did.

However, in charging that I “forgot” your birthday, your cluelessness is aiding and abetting a campaign led by Limbaugh and others to delegitimize Media Matters and the careful work it does. One cannot depend on either the intelligence or the good will of those in the MSM and conservative media not to use your nonsense for the purposes of further manipulation and misrepresentation. Shame on you.

Best wishes to Grandpa.


Eric Alterman, PhD


Jim O'Sullivan said...


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