Or is it slanderous libel? We can never be sure. A few weeks back, Fly on the Wall suggested that Elite Memphis, a magazine full of hard-hitting "grab your buddy-n-grin" party pix, printed letters to the editor without actually verifying them. What tipped us off? Oh, a wonderfully sarcastic letter of praise signed by a fairly well-known fictional character from John Kennedy Toole's celebrated novel A Confederacy of Dunces. This month Elite responds to our observation with decidedly vitriolic praise of the Fly-team's solid investigative reporting.
"These Memphians are so bright they deserve Mensa memberships," says Elite. "Recently we received a complimentary e-mail, as we often do, and we printed the e-mail from a woman calling herself 'Ms. Minkoff.' And then we read the news Ms. Minkoff is actually a character in a Nobel Prize-winning book. They gave us clues in the e-mail, laid the bait and we took it. So kudos to all of you at theFlyer!" (italics ours).
So not only does Elite not verify their letters, they are both ready and willing to heap public blame on the totally innocent. Why, the very nerve of accusing the inscrutable Fly of sending someone a prank letter, as if this widely respected column were some literary variation of Crank Yankers!
Sorry, guys, but we were not the wicked perpetrators of this silly hoax (would that we were) only the giddy, giggling messengers. And FYI Elite, Toole's deliriously funny book (which you simply must read, if only to avoid future embarrassment) won a Pulitzer, not a Nobel, Prize. We said so in the very article you have mentioned. But never fear. While you have besmirched the Fly's good name and sullied our sterling reputation, we sense an absence of malice in your peroxide prose, so we won't be calling in the Heavy Hitter this time around. In fact, we would like to hold out an olive branch in the form of some friendly advice: Having noticed you are conducting a survey to determine the 30 most beautiful Memphians, we would like to alert you to the existence of an affordable commercial product which could be used to rig the game. We noticed this advertisement at the Dollar Mania on Danny Thomas at North Parkway and immediately bought $2 worth for our personal use.