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8 Memorable Rejection Letters

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These letters may not have contained the responses the candidates were hoping for, but a memorable rejection is better than a cold form letter from Human Resources.

1. THE THING ABOUT PRINCETON LAW...

Letters of Note

There was just one problem with this application. Mr. Wax had better luck with Harvard and went on to a successful law career.

2. LORNE MICHAELS WILL GLADLY ACCEPT YOUR NUDE PHOTOS.

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That SNL producer Lorne Michaels would make a joke out of rejection seems only appropriate. At the start of the series, he crafted a very tactful way to let wannabe writers know that he could not accept their unsolicited materials. But added that “we at NBC’s Saturday Night do accept and read nude photographs.”

3. MR. ROGERS MAKES EVERYTHING BETTER.

Letters of Note

Mr. Rogers was a man of many talents. He could rock a cardigan like no one else, and he even had a way of making saying “no” sound like a victory. In 1990, he wrote an entirely adorable letter to a six-year-old fan who had asked to come visit the set. The young boy’s father was so moved by the letter, that he actually sent one back to let Fred know how his son “was beaming all afternoon the day he received it,” to which Mr. Rogers yet again replied!

See Also:10 Rejection Letters Sent to Famous People

4. YOU CAN’T GET MAD AT MAD.

Letters of Note

You’d better have a sense of humor if you want to write for MAD Magazine. And even more so if they don’t want you. Editor Al Feldstein turned saying no into an art with his wittily crafted rejection letter, which encouraged writers to send even more material … so that it could be rejected again.

5. SUB POP THINKS YOU’RE A LOSER.

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As the record label that “discovered” bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden and Flight of the Conchords, the executive mailboxes at Seattle’s Sub Pop records were understandably overflowing with demo tapes back in the late 1980s and 1990s, making it impossible for each submitting artist to receive a personal response. So the label came up with a better idea: treat every artist they were rejecting in the same manner, and be sure to address them all as losers.

6. THE MUMMIES TELL SUB POP TO F*** OFF.

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California garage band The Mummies were really just following protocol when they opted not to allow Sub Pop to use one of their songs as part of the label’s “Singles of the Month” series. And told them so in no uncertain terms.

7. HILLARY’S JUST NOT THAT INTO JASON SEGEL.

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After almost singlehandedly reviving The Muppets, one can’t blame Jason Segel for believing he could achieve anything. But he set his sights a bit too high when he asked Hillary Clinton to appear in one of his upcoming projects.

8. THE NEW YORK TIMES DOESN’T LIKE A**HOLES.

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Will Georgiades may not have impressed Adam Moss enough with any of his pitches in 1996 to land an assignment, but his work clearly made enough of an impact to prompt Moss—then editorial director of The New York Times—to offer some unsolicited advice: “‘A**hole’ is just never going to fly here.”

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German Police Tried to Fine Someone $1000 for Farting at Them
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In Berlin, passing gas can cost you. Quite a lot, actually, in the case of a man accused of disrespecting police officers by releasing a pair of noxious farts while being detained by the police. As CityLab reports, Berlin’s police force has recently been rocked by a scandal hinging on the two farts of one man who was asked to show his ID to police officers while partying on an evening in February 2016.

The man in question was accused of disrespecting the officers involved by aiming his flatulence at a policewoman, and was eventually slapped with a fine of 900 euros ($1066) in what local media called the "Irrer-Pups Prozess," or "Crazy Toot Trial." The errant farter was compelled to show up for court in September after refusing to pay the fine. A judge dismissed the case in less than 10 minutes.

But the smelly situation sparked a political scandal over the police resources wasted over the non-crime. It involved 18 months, 23 public officials, and 17 hours of official time—on the taxpayers’ dime. Officials estimate that those two minor toots cost taxpayers more than $100, which is chump change in terms of city budgets, but could have been used to deal with more pressing criminal issues.

[h/t CityLab]

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In 1909, a Door-to-Door Catnip Salesman Incited a Riot in New York
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In 1909, New York City businessman G. Herman Gottlieb was looking for a way to make a quick buck. He found it in a wooded section of Northern Manhattan, where wild catnip grew. After harvesting two baskets full of the plant, Gottlieb headed downtown to Harlem, intending to sell the product to residents with pampered felines.

As the history blog The Hatching Cat recounts, what Gottlieb didn’t know was that the neighborhood was also home to plenty of feral cats with voracious appetites. As Gottlieb made his way around the neighborhood, a handful of stray cats seized upon some leaves that had fallen out of his basket and began writhing and rolling around on the ground. Soon, even more kitties joined in, and “jumped up at his baskets, rubbed themselves against his legs, mewing, purring, and saying complimentary things about him,” according to an August 19, 1909 article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Gottlieb tried to frighten the cats away, according to The Washington Times’s account of the event, but the persistent animals wouldn’t budge. “All of them, rich and poor, aristocrats from the sofa cushions near the front windows and thin plebians from the areaways struggled mightily to get into the two baskets of catnip,” the Times wrote. Soon, Gottlieb found himself surrounded by somewhere between 30 and 40 cats, each one of them clamoring for his goods.

When he eventually spotted a policeman, Gottlieb thought he’d found an ally against the cats. Instead, Sergeant John F. Higgins promptly arrested Gottlieb for inciting a crowd. (“Why don’t you arrest the catnip?” Gottlieb asked him, according to the Times. “That is collecting the crowd. Not I.”)

Trailed by several cats, Higgins and Gottlieb made their way to a police station on East 104th Street. But when they arrived, authorities couldn’t decide whether or not the salesman had actually broken any laws.

“We can’t hold this man,” Lieutenant Lasky, the officer who received the arrest report, said. “The law says a man must not cause a crowd of people to collect. The law doesn’t say anything about cats.”

“The law doesn’t say anything about people,” Higgins replied. “It says ‘a crowd.’ A crowd of cats is certainly a crowd.” Amid this debate, a station cat named Pete began fighting with the invading felines, and, with the help of some policemen, eventually drove the catnip-hungry kitties out of the building.

Gottlieb was eventually released, and even driven home in a patrol wagon—all while being chased by a few lingering cats, still hot on the trail of his now regrettable merchandise.

[h/t The Hatching Cat]

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