Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Mike Lynch Cartoon in August 4 THE WEEK Magazine

"Never delegate authority; delegate liability."

Hey, I have a cartoon in THE WEEK magazine. But it's not the same THE WEEK here on the stands in the States. It's the UK version. For some reason I though that THE WEEK here was the same THE WEEK overseas, and maybe if more Spice Girls move here, they might be one day soon.

OK, I want to talk about something unrelated that happened to me at the post office and, well, you really should somehow write something that's thematically whole here.

OK, let me see what I can do ....

The above cartoon, I suppose, a philosophical cartoon. I do not believe that those in power ever have enough (see the latest OK on the revised FISA laws that Bush wanted and that the House passed).

People do like to delegate. Cartoonists usually cannot, both in their work and, in my case, at the post office.

Speaking of post offices ....

I was mailing some DVD movies at the post office. They are media, so I wanted them shipped by Media Mail. I was told I could not ship DVDs by Media Mail due to the new postal regulations.

"But, they're MOVIES. Movies ARE media!"

If there is advertising on them, so said the postal employee, then you cannot send them by Media Mail.

DVDs, you see, have those coming attractions trailers on them and they are considered advertising.

I laughed. NO ADVERTISING?! When I buy a box from the Postal Store, there's advertising for the post office on that. Heck, the PO sells Star Wars stamps. That's advertising for Lucasfilm! You guys LOVE advertising! Advertising is the most American thing there is! This is ridiculous! Besides, this isn't MY advertising on these danged DVDs, it's Paramount Pictures' advertising!

The content standards for USPS Media Mail contend that there be "no advertising matter" in the package. "Advertising includes paid advertising and the publishers' own advertising in display, classified, or editorial style."

In the end, I had 2 postal employees staring down at me. They really were staring down. They're on some sort of platform back there at that branch.

So, I looked up at them, dug in my pocket, and paid for First Class mailing. I had no choice. I could not go to The Person In Charge and get a hearing. The PO is big business. They are faceless. The postal regs had been changed, and that's that.

That's the way it is with big corporations. But not with us.

You can't hide if you draw cartoons. There's your signature on the cartoon right there. No shrugging of the shoulders. No evasion possible. No, as the bald guy in the waistcoat would say, delegation of liability.

Oh, and don't try lying about the contents of the ol' Media Mail. Those nice foils who sell the Star Wars stamps can open up your mail for no reason. "Regardless of physical closure, the mailing of articles at Media Mail rates constitutes consent by the mailer to postal inspection of the contents."

End of rant (in which, amazingly, I was able to relate the cartoon and the PO). More tomorrow.


Mark Anderson said...

That regulation is total crap!

What if I send a book that mentions other books that author has written? Isn't that advertising too?!


Mark Anderson said...

Great cartoon BTW!

Mike Lynch said...

Thanks for the kind words, Mark.

According to the USPS regs, advertising about books in a book (am I making myself clear?) is okay. You can mail a book Media Mail as long as "no advertising matter other than incidental announcements of books" is in there.

So, if you have a book that is, for instance, the novelization of STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE and the blurb "See the Movie!" is anywhere in the book, then the PO would judge that it's not an incidental book announcement, it's some of that ding danged advertising that's not allowed.

It's a stupid regulation!

Gerry said...

So why not just mail it regular mail and to heck with the Media Mail regs? Am I missing something here?

I wanted to look into the new postal rates and went to the usps website, input the size and weight of a large envelope I had to mail, and the postal rate of $1.68 came back.

Then I weighed the envelope. Going by weight alone, the postage was more like 73 cents. What's the deal? I bet if I mailed it with 73 cents it would get delivered just fine!