Last week, Miramax sent me its panties as part of a promotional package for Bridget Jones's Diary.

Now, I am a tremendous believer in panties. I like to look at panties, smell panties, eat them right off the shelf. I adore the vibrant hues of cotton panties, and am tickled by the way polyester panties melt when exposed to extreme heat. Most of all, though, I like silk panties, white and restrained and modern, clean of line and frothy with lace. If I were a silkworm, I would chew my mulberry leaves happily, knowing that the fruit of my abdomen would someday lie at somebody's ripe mound.

Sadly, the vulgar drawers that Miramax sent me have effectively ended my love affair with the panty. Truly, these were depressing panties, brown and plain and unambitious, save the Bridget Jones logo stamped coarsely onto the rear. Their cut was almost that of a girdle, with high hips and low legs, and they offered up no human perfume to speak of (save the stench of newness). Indeed, upon opening the package and removing the offensive underpants, I felt my vigor drain rapidly from my veins like air leaking from a tire.

Now, it is a brave thing to mail someone a pair of panties. It is much easier to simply leer at someone in a bar or flash someone in an alley than it is to strip oneself of a symbolic pair of underpants and send them on their lurid way. Generally, we send panties to people only in extreme circumstances.

The promotional panties were sent to me in a dispassionate manner, and that is what has so soiled them for me. That the panty--that smutty valentine--may be coldly reduced to an anti-erotic marketing ploy breaks my heart.

This, my friends, is sacrilege! How far will Miramax take its callous ploy? Does this arrogant company make no distinction between the sacred and the profane? Must we accept its cynical view of a fallen, un-erotic, market-driven world with such docility? What holy smut object will next fall victim to its unholy crusade: the Rabbit Pearl? Gynecological instruments? Cock rings? Ben-Wa Balls?

Following the drafting of this polemic, Jamie Hook mailed a pair of his own panties to Miramax's chief of promotions and publicity in protest.