Last week I had an interesting experience. I read an opinion piece in Bloomberg that struck a particular chord. The writer took a surprisingly altruistic viewpoint based upon his economic position and stature, and I was very much taken by this – at least more than I usually am by opinion pieces in Bloomberg (read my earlier posts on my feelings on financial punditry). The writer provided his email address at the bottom of the post.
Knowing myself how a posting of an email address online results in an expediential increase in Viagra, Nigerian Prince and similar emails, I was even more impressed. So, I wrote a short email, expressing my support for the writer’s position and his willingness to be publicly accountable for a viewpoint on a highly politicized issue. In a fit of intellectual solidarity (up the policy wonks!), I hit the send button and turned off my computer for the night.
After a restful sleep worrying about the Euro, I went to my email over my morning coffee. In my inbox was a response from my new friend. I was pleased to receive it – who knew what other insights he would offer? What witty response I would receive from my email? I put off reading about Newt Gingrich’s latest attempt at redefining my reality and opened the email. And, saw the following (paraphrased slightly):
“Thanks for your email. I am happy that you read my piece in Bloomberg. If you liked what I wrote you can buy my book “Everyone is a jerk but me.” Here’s the link to buy the book on Amazon. [And, by the way, this email is so obviously generated by an automatic response you shouldn’t expect that I ever read your email to me at all.]
Somehow I felt duped and deflated. Was I expecting to start a new and wonderful relationship? No, not really. But, I was expecting something different from what I got. I had read an opinion piece that struck me as being written by someone who was principled. On reflection, it was clearly…