George Bush

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

"As teenagers' scores on standardized reading tests have declined or stagnated, some argue that the hours spent prowling the Internet are the enemy of reading-diminishing literacy, wrecking attention spans and destroying a precious common culture that exists only through the reading of books," writes Motoko Rich in The New York Times. "But others say the Internet has created a new kind of reading, one that schools and society should not discount."

I believe this so-called "new kind of reading" is the result of the old kind of writing, which has become really bad.

I'm talking about the writing in mainstream media-newspapers, magazines and books-whose managements are so financially strapped that they can't afford decent editors. The result: Authors left to themselves are sloppy, self-indulgent and frequently boring as dirt.

This is also true of writing on the Internet and BlackBerrys/other mobile devices.

Some fundraising letters grab you by the throat, while others go straight to your heart. But it’s rare that a letter gets you where you live, including making you laugh, raise your eyebrows and want to take action. That’s exactly what the two-page letter from PennEnvironment—a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization based in Philadelphia—does. Written by PennEnvironment’s director, David Masur, it taps into a prospect’s potential interests, immediately, in both a humorous and positive way: “Let’s face it. The odds of George Bush and friends doing anything significant about global warming are about as good as the Pirates winning the World Series anytime

The Rip-off vs. a Ripping Good Time March 16, 2006: Vol. 2, Issue No. 21 IN THE NEWS Resort Fees: Hotel Rate May Not Include All the Charges Hotel resort fees are making a comeback. With the decline in the lodging industry after 9/11, the fees, which cover everything from the use of a pool to housekeeping tips, began to vanish—if not from hotels' policies, then from guests' bills. A polite complaint was usually all it took to have a fee waived. No longer. —Christopher Elliott, The New York Times, March 12, 2006 When Don Jackson and I sat down at his kitchen

I read seven newspapers a day. Two of them—The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Wall Street Journal—are consumed in hard copy over coffee in the early morning. The other five—The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Guardian, Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post—are scanned on the Internet along with regular visits to AOL’s news page and Matt Drudge’s deliciously scurrilous Web site (www.drudgereport.com). One morning, when things were going particularly badly in Iraq and former NFL star Pat Tillman was killed in Afghanistan, I saw a Web ad for John Kerry in The Times and sent him $500 charged to my American Express

As of publication time, leading economical groups were declaring the United States to be in a recession. Only weeks ago the former president George Bush told attendees to the 84th Annual DMA Conference that the tools were in place for economic recovery, and that a recession was not likely. On the bright side, economists also are predicting that the recession will last until only mid-2002—but can anyone really know what will happen? What a headache it must be right now for marketers of financial magazines and newsletters. These publications routinely make economic predictions in their direct mail efforts, but

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