Apparently, the ALA thinks I'm a gullible idiot and will sell my name and address to scam artists who are counting on me being a gullible idiot. Perhaps they're doing the same to you.
Yesterday I received in the mail a letter from Cambridge Who's Who, telling me how accomplished I am and offering to put me in their registry. I am pretty accomplished, and an offer like this certainly comes as no surprise. I was pretty excited, and you'll be able to see why when you read the letter. Oddly enough, the letter was addressed to exactly the person the American Library Association has on file, with my full name listed in a way I rarely use. Let us say for hypothesis sake that I usually go by AL or A. Librarian, and this letter came addressed to The Very Annoyed Librarian. Thus, as far as I can tell, considering the name and address and the fact that I'm identified as a professional librarian, the ALA sold or gave my name and address to Cambrige Who's Who. But perhaps I'm wrong. Did any of you receive the same letter?
Let us consider the letter in full.
"Dear The Very Annoyed Librarian,
It is my pleasure to inform you that you are being considered for inclusion into the 2006/2007 Cambridge Who's Who Among Professional Librarians and Library Administrators "Honors Edition" of the Registry."
Yes, it really had the title in both bold and italics, and "honors edition" just in italics, but with quote marks around it. This reminds me of the typical illiteracy one finds in this country regarding the use of quotation marks in public signs. ("Live" bait for sale.) Are they mistakenly using quotation marks for emphasis, or are those scare quotes? Are they mocking their own publication? Are they sitting around chuckling to themselves and making quote marks in the air when they say "Honors Edition"? Maybe they even say it in that Dr. Evil voice.
And I'm only being considered for inclusion! So I'm not even included, but at least they're thinking of me, and that's very comforting. And in the "honors edition" no less, not just that regular edition that anyone can be in.
"The 2006/2007 edition of the Registry will include biographies of our country's most accomplished professionals. Recognition of this kind is an honor shared by thousands of executives and professionals throughout America each year."
Really, how big an honor could it be if it's shared by thousands?
"Inclusion is considered by many as the single highest mark of achievement."
I find that sad. Or at least I would if I believed it.
"Upon final confirmation, you will be listed among thousands of accomplished professionals in the Cambridge Who's Who Registry."
This time the title is nether in bold nor italics. They could at least have put it in scare quotes. I wonder what "upon final confirmation" means.
"For accuracy and publicaton deadlines please return to us your application form within five business days from receipt of this letter. There is no cost to be included."
You bet I'll return it within five days! Sign me up, baby! And no cost to be included, but I bet there'll be a cost involved somewhere.
"On behalf of the Managing Director, we wish you continued success.
Jennifer A. Gonzalez
Editor in Chief"
I really appreciate the semiliterate Jennifer A. Gonzalez and the Managing Director wishing me such continuing success. On behalf of the Annoyed Librarian, I with them continuing success scamming idiots into buying their ludicrous book.
At the very bottom of the letter is this little gem:
Cambridge Who's Who is proudly not associated or affiliated with any other Who's Who Publication or Organization
You read that right. Proudly NOT associated! I have a feeling we're supposed to misread that NOT and think they are proudly associated with Who's Who. Who in the Who's Who business wouldn't want to be associated with the real Who's Who? No one, that's who!
I checked out the website, because I was really curious about the pathetic swine the ALA was giving my name and address to. See, it's free to give the Cambridge folks your information, but I'm not sure it's really free to be included. I'm pretty sure you have to become a "member" of their little organization to actually have your name included, but I couldn't find anywhere on the site exactly how much I was expected to pay for the dubious honor of being included in the "Idiot's Who's Who." I bet I'd have to actually talk to someone to find out that information, or at least give them my credit card number. But what would I get for joining and paying to have my name in their list of pathetic morons? Let's start with this:
"COMMEMORATIVE CERTIFICATE OF RECOGNITION and WALL PLAQUE
All members of Cambridge Who’s Who automatically receive an official Certificate of Recognition to identify them as active and participating members of this elite community. This elegant, personalized document is specially designed for maximum impact and features the prestigious Cambridge seal of authenticity. These certificates can be beautifully matted and framed to enhance your décor while also commemorating this important highlight in a member’s career. Our membership is proud to prominently display this distinguished document in either their homes or offices.
An optional benefit for members is the Cambridge Who’s Who wall plaque. Our wall plaques are crafted of the finest materials and are personalized with laser engraving as a personal tribute to honor our members’ success. The wall plaque is a tasteful way to further validate one’s status within a profession and add special emphasis to unique achievements. "
Wow! That certificate of recognition would be official, not some scam! I'd be part of an elite community of dopes, and I could prove it with my "prestigious Cambridge seal of authenticity." I'd sure be proud to prominently display that document in my homes or offices. I could display that document and say "I am a pathetic loser" at the same time. Maybe I could beautifully matte and frame it and put it up on the wall next to my ordination as a minister of the Universal Life Church. How sad and pathetic does a person have to be to think this is anything other than a scam to exploit sad and pathetic people? Please don't answer that. It's too depressing. But what else would I get?
"Hard Cover Registry
Cambridge Who’s Who hardcover registry is an impressive and beautifully bound publication that contains the biographical profiles of thousands of accomplished individuals throughout the world who have attained levels of professionalism in their respected industries. This substantial volume is a testimony to a person’s personal and professional achievements and can be used for researching business opportunities and effortless networking. Imagine the impact of having your own personal biographical profile featured with the rest of the Cambridge Who’s Who community. This placement clearly demonstrates the level of achievement for our members and validates their varied individual accomplishments."
Ahh, that's right. I'd get my own "beautifully bound publication" with my name right inside! Nothing says success like having your name in a book, right? And I could use it for networking! So, for example, if I wanted to find some other pathetic loser in the field of librarianship, I'd just have to look in the book! Saves the trouble of going to the conference and looking around the exhibits floor. At least they're being honest about one thing, being in this book would definitely clearly demonstrate your level of achievement, especially your low level of intellectual achievement.
I did a little more checking on this, and found entries for them on a couple of scam sites:
It appears they have also been know as Manchester Who's Who and Empire Who's Who. They certainly have improved with the Cambridge Who's Who. Cambridge is a name associated with two of the finest universities in the world. Manchester, well, isn't. They know how to lay on the "prestige," and they know how to peddle it to simpletons who are so pathetic they think being in this scam book "validates" them somehow. It certainly validates their gullibility and ridiculousness.
And to think, these scam artists must have gotten my name from the American Library Association. It's the only thing that makes sense. Well, thanks a lot, ALA. I don't mind getting my mailbox glutted with all those flyers just before the ALA conference. Many of them make fine impromptu bookmarks and paper airplanes and such. But it's annoying to have my professional association selling my name to scam artists who make their money on stupidity and gullibility. On the other hand, maybe the ALA thought I'd be the perfect audience for Cambridge Who's Who. After all, I'm already stupid and gullible enough to join their organization.