what are the 2,000 parts lever cleans? Why is Mr. Clean bald? What makes those Charms so lucky? These are some of the questions that underground literature funnyman Rev. Rich Mackin has been asking of large corporations for years. The verbose punk has taken it upon himself to call companies on their questionable marketing tactics by subjecting them to a barrage of letters he calls "consumer defence corporate poetry."
He's filled up 14 issues of his zine, Book Of Letters, with smarmy, silly, critical questions. But now, for the first time ever, Mackin fanatics can read all his best letters in a book called Dear Mr. Mackin.
They were all actually mailed and presumably read by some poor saps in consumer affairs. Included is the classic Mackin missive to Shell in which he asks, "How does it feel to own Nigeria?" Then there's the one to Dunkin' Donuts that questions whether the so-called garden vegetables in their flavoured cream cheese are actually grown on little victory farms.
Reading the companies' responses to Mackin is half the fun. Form letters become hilarious punchlines, and personalized replies are all that much more ridiculous. Then, after the letters, there are a couple of scathing diatribes by the reverend called Litter A Park For The Earth and If It Says It In Print, It Must Be True.
Before you invest the 15 bucks, here are a few important points to consider. The letters are replicas of those that appear in the zines -- typos and all -- so don't expect this to be a seamless read. He really is a reverend, because "the Universal Life Church will ordain anyone."
And don't buy the book unless you're prepared to laugh your ass off.
Dear Mr. Mackin by Rev. Richard J. Mackin (Gorsky), 198 pages, $15 paper. Rating: NNNN