I hates paper

Especially when it’s a manuscript intent on giving me paper cuts or in the form of a card.

There. I’ve said it: I hate Christmas Cards. Do not send me any.

To be honest I’m pretty much against anything that shows up in my mail box that isn’t a cheque or a contract or a magazine I subscribe to.1 And really why can’t all of these be done electronically? Why do banks charge wire transfer fees? Transferring money from account to account is now one of the simplest processes in the world. Why can’t I sign my contracts electronically? Why can’t I subscribe to all the magazines I love in non-dead tree form? Why do people keep sending me postcards? I hate ’em and they go straight into recycling.2 I’d much prefer to see jpgs of your holiday—you know photos you actually took yourself.

I hate the endless catalogues that I never signed up for, the entreaties from political parties, and furniture companies, and car dealers and all the rest of them. Junk mail is a blot on the landscape, chewing up whole forests of trees.

I love trees! Keep them in their non-paper form!

I hate junk mail even more than I hate the spam that attacks my inbox. At least there are filters I can employ to keep the number manageable. I have contacted certain catalogue senders multiple times asking to be taken off their list. It makes not a lick of difference. If I manage to get rid of one several more are there to take its place.

I no longer give my address to anyone if I can avoid it. I will no longer join any organisation that insists on having my snail mail address. If they can’t communicate with me solely by email then I am not interested in being a part of their antiquated tree-killing organisation.

I travel a lot and no postbox in the world is big enough to be left to its own devices while I’m away. Thus complicated arrangements have to be made to ensure the postbox does not overfill and explode. If people didn’t send me mountains upon mountains of paper I didn’t want those arrangements would not be necessary.

The only truly acceptable use for paper is the making of books. Those I love. But as soon as there’s an integrated iphone-like device that works as a really good ebook reader I’ll be using that to read while I’m on the road. At home I’ll be snuggling up with a good ole dead-tree product book like I have since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. No ebook reader will ever smell as good as a book.

Stupid paper. I kick it.

  1. I’m okay with parcels though. Especially in their Krug champagne form. []
  2. Though obviously not the ones my mum sends. Those are all precious and wonderful. []


  1. Mary Elizabeth S. on #

    oh, justine, you have read my mind and articulated my thoughts even better than i had.

    why, why, why must they send us junk mail? why, why, why must there be people out there — however small a percentage they may be — who buy from the ads and encourage these advertisers to keep sending the stuff?

    i want to opt out! i want a say in how many trees get cut down because of me, and to what purpose! i think we deserve that right.

    paper for books = immense goodness

    paper for useless ads and mailbox clutter of all types = horrendous badness

    and hey–do i have my time zones wrong, or are you really blogging at 2 in the morning?


  2. Rebecca on #

    the company that does my water charges a $2.50 fee to pay the bill online but nothing for me to use up an envelope and a stamp and send it in. stupid stupid stupid.

    in spite of how cool the kindle looks, i’m still an ebook skeptic. i heart my bookshelf. reading on a glowing screen is not for me. maybe i’ll eat my words someday (ha!) but right now i don’t want to read anything lengthy on a computer. i always print the long stuff.

  3. Kenina-chan on #

    I love the smell of books! E-mail is a lot easier for cards and I have three paper cuts on one hand. Also, today isn’t a snow day. : (

    *sobs and realizes she has to do her english project superduper fast*

    “Knee-high to a grasshopper” is one expression I haven’t heard before, I likeys.

  4. robin on #

    Yes yes, trees are nice, but you will never ever convince me not to love mail. (Not junk mail, real mail.) email’s speedy and all, but I miss letters! And if you ask me, a good letter is just as snuggle-worthy as a book.

  5. Justine on #

    robin: by all means love snail mail. All I ask is that you not send me any.

  6. Mark on #

    Nothing is black and white, using renewable resources like forests which can be replanted endlessly seems a much preferable way then stripmining the earth for coal and powering the electricity for your email with massive polluting factories.

  7. Patrick, The Space Lord on #

    mark – logic is no fair, please stick to purely emotional pleas. I hope to receive holiday cards via owl.

  8. Dawn on #

    That is completely true. No ebook will have that wonderful book smell. I have to admit, that’s one of the things I love about stepping into a bookstore. The book smell. As weird as that sounds, (or reads, actually) it’s totally true.

  9. scott w on #

    Mark: So you’re saying it’s more efficient to cultivate a tree, chop it down, process the paper, print the catalog, then transport the catalog by air and ground to my door, than to email and read the catalog onscreen?

    Let’s fact check that, shall we? Computers that display emails have been produced that can be powered by a hand crank. Zero paper mills, printing presses, binding factories, or mail trucks exist that are equipped with a hand crank. That hand crank would be too large.

    Some stuff is black and white. That’s why we have the words “black” and “white.”

  10. Sash on #

    i too hate junk mail, and have one of those handy stickers on my mail box that stops me getting any. but i curse the fact whenever i have a large group of people wanting to order pizza. is there no sticker that says ‘no junk mail except cheap pizza vouchers’? i think there is actually, but the junk mail person would take it as an open invitation to hide 50,000 catalogues inside. all that said, i do love my books in dead-tree format, but after meeting a woman who loves catalogues but does not read, well, she probably kills less trees than me. although she probably wouldn’t mind reading them electronically and printing out any vouchers. why do they persist with electronic book readers but not electronic catalogue readers?

  11. hillary! on #

    I gotta say I am very skeptical about this e-book thingy. And I agree junk mail is stoopid and wasteful. And yes, jpgs are better, but postcards are good too when you are getting one of Maureen Johnson’s limited edition Suite Scarlet Holiday Greeting Cards. Only then are post-cards a fun idea.

  12. Justine on #

    Hilary!: You know what’s funny? This whole rant started because Maureen asked me for my address so she could send me a Christmas card. After several exchanges she said she would send me a paper-eating zombie instead. I’m still waiting for it to show up.

  13. kim on #

    me likes getting mail as long as it is not junk mail, so pointless! 🙂

    justine, do you want a e-card christmas greeting?

  14. Katie on #

    I love dead-tree books, but junk mail has got to go. Seeing as the future is in computers, why does everyone insist on sending ads? It’s truly a waste of trees and trees are awesome. We can replant the ones we chops down, but there’s some sort of mistique in an old tree. I will never give up paper books though.
    Oh, and Patrick is right. Commenting should be restricted to emotions only. No logic! Logic is evil and burns my eyes when I read it.

  15. Vir Modestus on #

    Trees are not cut down just to make paper. Paper is made out of the stuff left over after they make everything else they want to make out trees. You know: furniture, houses, that kind of thing. Paper is made out of scrap.

    And I’m sorry, but junk mail is like cockroaches. Stop them through snail mail and they come in electronically. I’m really sick of spam even more than I am of the credit card offers.

    Justine, here is my christmas card to you. check out http://www.catalogchoice.org/#welcome and get your name off of all of those catalogs you don’t want to get.

  16. Harriet on #

    Hey Justine

    Just a little while ago, Julius Lester was talking on his blog about catalogue pollution. And he mentioned a group called catalogchoice.org where you can get yourself taken off catalogue mailing lists. “Once registered you go to their very extensive database of catalogs, find the catalog you no longer wish to receive, click on it, type in the customer number from the catalog, if there is one, and that’s it. The organization takes care of the rest. They say it can take up to ten weeks to be removed from a catalog’s data base, and if you aren’t, you let Catalog Choice know.” Maybe this would work for you.

    BTW, I’m not a big fan of Christmas Cards either.

  17. TexasPatrick on #

    I want an internet powered by hand crank. Not just powered by cranks with time on their hands. Oh my. How many fingers do I have pointing back at myself? Hmm.

  18. claire on #

    justine, i got one of those annoying email forwards from my parents recently which was really useful and satisfying–all about what to do about junk mail. it’s kinda long so i’ll just link to where i posted it myself. the upshot is: send them their mail back … at their expense.

  19. Liset on #

    I’m writing a paper on health and environment (alot of it dealing with trees, and the timber wars) and i came across the lorax, by dr. seuss. And i just must say, “lorax, please come out of hidding. save the world from useless paper spam. it makes justine sad, which is just no good. but please, please, please, don’t take away my bookies…. i loves them….”

    and yes, it’s 1 am.
    and yes, i am very very very tired…

    does anybody watch the preview while they type instead of the actual typing box, even though it’s way slower? i do….


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