Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Box that Issues Commands

I received yesterday a few complimentary books from an academic press. The books came in a medium-sized cardboard box. On the side of the box there was printed (verbatim):

YOU WILL LIKE THE CONTENTS OF THIS CARTON!!

The double exclamation marks suggest to me that this is a command rather than a prediction. I removed the books. Now the box sits on my desk. It's empty. I'm wondering what I should put in it....

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your next manuscript. Send it to your preferred publisher, and wait for the accolades to fall from the sky.

Spiros said...

Good suggestion.

Maybe I should use it to return bad student papers, too....

729 said...

There are so many potential uses for this box. Whatever you use it for, will be *that much better.* It would be great to have envelops like this, too.

Spiros said...

729:

Of course, there's the problem of voluntarism. Can one be commanded to like something (rather than *say* or *act as if* one likes it)? So I think there's a problem with the box... I might have to burn it in a fire of JUSTICE.

Krinos said...

A logic book. And place it in front of the departmental office for Romance Languages.

Spiros said...

Krinos:

Good suggestion. I think we have Comp Lit here. What a waste.

Santa said...

So many uses, so little time and capacity for such a box such as:
1. Use as storage for porn and leave it in a public park.
2. A mailer for the next book or book series proposal sent to a publisher.
3. Use it as your departmental mail box. Then any sort of trifling nonsense becomes something you might actually tolerate.
4. A receptacle for bills.
5. A marketing device left inside a bookstore that sells your books. What a way to boost those royalties by having people subliminally influenced to like your book!

Do not burn that box. There is more justice in subverting the box for uses the publisher never intended.

Santa said...

In the order of exclamation uses, I remember an English teacher telling me:
! = an imperative statement
!! = an excited statement
!!! = an ultimate urgent statement or grave command
Did anyone else get exposed to such nonsense?

Spiros said...

Santa,

Excellent suggestions. I'll proudly display the box on my office desk and invite others for suggestions. It could become a philosophical hobby!

I was not taught that nonsense concerning the iterations of '!'.

imipolex_g-unit said...

Place into it a smaller box upon which is printed:

"YOU WILL LIKE WHAT THIS CARTON IS CONTAINED BY!!"

And then stand back and commence the liking.

Spiros said...

imipolex:

Nice!

Perhaps the box also provides a good occasion for the dicto/re distinction? What do you think? Unsuspecting pedagogical tool?

Santa said...

Spiros: Glad I could help in the pursuit of a new hobby. You also might want to take it to your kook coffee shop and put it next to you and see if people are curious about the contents of such a box. It should be a veritable kook magnet like moths to a flame.

Spiros said...

Santa:

Good idea re Kook Coffee Shop. But I'm afraid I need no further magnetism. Last time I was there, and old lady approached me and tole me that I look just like her nephew Ted. She said "Yeah... he was living in New Orleans, and then he moved..." Then she stopped, and abruptly asked, "Wait... is your name Ted?"