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TITLE: Screwtape's Email
By Al Boyce

This may be too much "insider humor" requiring someone to have read the Screwtape Letters to get it. That said, does it work?
Where have Screwtape's legions gone lately? The answer may be just a click away.

My Dear Scrapetooth,

First, let me apologize for mistakenly believing you had taken a holiday when I failed to hear from you for what has been several years. Now that I finally understand the depths of depravity to which you have aspired, I find I must catch my breath before even considering the awe in which I and my colleagues hold you!

I first stumbled on your signature while perusing the seemingly endless stream of "spam" coming to my e-mail address. I confess, I have long appreciated these mindless appeals to draw attention to improving sexual performance, relying on drugs for every conceivable vanity and pointing the innocent to all forms of pornography. Little did I realize how cleverly you had subverted this electronic medium to entice so many, so easily!

Once I saw your fingerprints on this, I began to examine it more closely. Again, my hat (such as it is) is off to you! These electronic missives don't stop with simple depravity. They encourage materialism, greed, vanity, selfishness, insecurity, fear, hatred, arrogance. You may recall I once voiced some fear that the emerging technologies might somehow hurt our cause by giving free expression to truth and love. How could I have been so hopelessly misguided? How could I have forgotten the depths of human nature to which we have unlimited access!

Anyway, you may count me once again among your staunchest supporters! Please keep me advised on your continued work in the opportunities being presented by technology.

Your affectionate third cousin twice removed,



My Dear Scrapetooth,

Thank you for restraining your smugness in replying to my most recent letter about your electronic genius. I must say, I had no idea you were so creative. And now you tell me I had only the smallest inkling of how you have been occupying your time!

Yes, now that you mention it, I had seen some degradation in the quality of television shows. But I hadn't put the debasement and mindless titillation present in "reality TV" together with your antics until you pointed it out.

After millennia of perverting the minds of men the "old-fashioned" way, leave it to a novice demon to show us old salts new ways to harvest souls!

We in the nether regions have recently been watching the fruits of your work with some amazement. One subject we observed spent nearly an hour culling through "spam" in his email every morning. At first, he deleted the more onerous ones with disgust, but as the days went by, his curiosity got the best of him and he began "sampling" some of the lesser temptations.

Another subject, who had an unpleasantly happy relationship with his wife, began to worry about his manhood after dozens of ads suggesting he was not satisfying his spouse. Soon, his doubts became transformed into reality! Now the seeds of suspicion are poisoning their relationship! Masterfully done!

And then, to see people come home and settle in front of "Survivor" or "Gay Bachelor" and start so see such bizarre behavior as somehow "normal!" Their own plodding sins begin to seem much more acceptable, even boring.

We can't wait for your next update!

Your cousin,



My Dear Scrapetooth,

Just as we were beginning to be comfortable with your heady control of emerging technologies, we were somewhat dismayed to see a movie showing a decidedly unfavorable depiction of our position drawing huge crowds.

We refer to "The Passion of the Christ." We can only hope that this is somehow a part of your multi-media plans. But it is disturbing to find people actually considering our Enemy's position seriously after viewing this movie. We anxiously await your explanation.

Meanwhile, let me congratulate you on yet another fine touch in your manipulations: The wonderful television advertisements that we are seeing propagated.

It is wonderful to see millions of people coming to accept that a pill is the only answer to their ailments, that a more luxurious car is the key to happiness. You have masterfully turned questions of morality into questions of fashion, as if right and wrong were as changeable as clothing or opinions.

Please keep up the good work, but keep an eye on Mel Gibson. Something isn't quite right with him.

Your very distant cousin,



My Dear Scrapetooth,

Despite your assertion that you have things under control, I can't help but worry. Surely you have noticed that since "The Passion" was released, your idiotic media puppets have dived headlong into more movies, TV shows and interviews glorifying our Enemy!

Yes, I suppose it is true, as you say, that not many people are watching. But are you not aware that even our staunchest supporters are at least TALKING about Him? And some of our sources indicate there is increasing interest in Bible study classes among those who can pry themselves away from the television.

Just want to make sure you are aware of these developments.

Your perplexed (but hopeful) cousin,



My Dear Scrapetooth,

I have heard your protestations and I understand that you believe this, like other seeming advances by the Enemy, will be short lived. Still, I wonder.

Church membership seems to be rising somewhat. There is talk about exporting "The Passion" to various countries, although Israel, as you point out, has banned it outright.

We love the way you play up the anti-semitic angle at every opportunity. But, lest you forget, Jews are not exactly in the majority these days.

Perhaps you should redouble your efforts with e-mail and television. After all, people who are caught up in drugs, pornography and materialism can hardly find spare time to contemplate eternal life, can they?

Oh, and one more thing. Please remove me from your email lists.

Your attentive and sympathetic third cousin,

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