The Spectacle Blog

The Sergeant and the Mats

By on 1.23.07 | 5:34PM

Big brouhaha in the press over the Wisconsin company that sent a nasty anti-war note via e-mail to an Army sergeant who had inquired about ordering some sleeping mats to protect himself and his squaddies from the buggy ground of Iraq. Most stories blame the mat company.

The company -- which turns out to be owned by a Pakistan immigrant -- fired the employee responsible for writing the note and temporarily shut down its website. I'd give the business a break here. I actually saw the same thing happen in the Vietnam era. A fellow employee of mine in a mail-order book company put a nasty antiwar note in a book of hawkish sentiment ordered by one of our customers.

The boss called in all four of us clerk-typists -- we were the only ones who could have done it -- and told us that such conduct was not allowed, and anything like it further would result in the perp's being fired. One of my confreres stayed behind, confessed, and apologized.

He didn't do it again, either.

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