Monday, April 20, 2009

The joys of hate mail

Amy Alkon on hate mail:

Yet another writer-ninny, female of course, whinges about the horror of getting hate mail. I get it all the time. So do male columnists. I think my hate mail is funny, and when it's really good, it's hilarious. I see it as one of the perks of doing my job, and one of the signs I'm doing a good job (if you aren't pissing people off, maybe you're putting them to sleep?) If I couldn't take it, I'd work at the Humane Society.


Blogger Cham said...

Hate mail is child's play. You haven't arrived until someone hosts an event in your honor, and it's the type of event where you aren't invited. ;)

3:54 PM, April 20, 2009  
Blogger J. Bowen said...

Why don't you get together with some other popular bloggers and start a blog where you post nothing but hate mail? I always love hate mail. It is usually either very, very witty or evidence of the double-digit IQ level of the writer. In either case, it is always entertaining.

5:08 PM, April 20, 2009  
Blogger Helen said...

J. Bowen,

That's a funny idea but I really don't get much, if any, hate mail--maybe once or twice. Most people are either too nice, or just have nothing that bad to say directly to me.

6:32 PM, April 20, 2009  
Blogger Roman said...

In a different, but similar vein, many years ago, when I was in the Air Force, "Dear John" letters were posted in the latrine. We would vote on the best one, no real prizes were awarded, but we would support each other, usually over beers, at least weekly!

6:38 PM, April 20, 2009  
Blogger Larry Sheldon said...

Working at the Humane Society is the toughest job I can think of.

6:56 PM, April 20, 2009  
Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

"Female of course"? Here's Dana Milbank, a man, complaining about the comments he gets on his articles.

7:06 PM, April 20, 2009  
Blogger MarkyMark said...


How could anyone send YOU hate mail?! Sweet, little old you? I can't believe it! Seriously, I've gotten my share, because I am doing my job-pissing people off-ha!


7:37 PM, April 20, 2009  
Blogger Cappy said...

What ever happened to the early SNL Days. Dan Akroyd could help out here.

9:40 PM, April 20, 2009  
Blogger J. Bowen said...

Is anybody surprised that someone at the Washington Joke would get hate mail? I mean, c'mon!

10:24 PM, April 20, 2009  
Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

" J. Bowen said...

Is anybody surprised that someone at the Washington Joke would get hate mail? I mean, c'mon!"

I love the fact that online newspapers have commenting now. I can't stand to be talked at by somebody who makes obvious logical errors or who knows less about something than I do, without the opportunity of expressing disagreement. Seems to me that if a person puts his thoughts "out there" he ought to expect that some folks aren't going to agree with him, unless he's just giving out garden advice or recipes or something. It's another form of peer correction, like when you develop eccentric habits at age 4 and then start kindergarten and get them pointed out to you by your loving classmates.

Maybe whatever newspapers survive into the next decade will have writers who have been honed by the sharp knife of critical feedback. God knows some of them don't seem to get any from their editors.

10:35 PM, April 20, 2009  
Blogger Liz said...

I really did not feel that I had arrived as a blogger until I got my first piece of hate mail...

12:16 AM, April 21, 2009  
Blogger Bob Sorensen said...

I've had some hate mail for things I've written. It's downright hilarious when someone will be so virulent and spitting venom that they write under the influence of rage. One of my articles on bias against scientists who support Intelligent Design had two hateful letters from the same author. One letter could not be printed, the other managed to prove many of my points very well.

Dr. Helen, how often do people put words in your mouth? That part does get under my skin sometimes: "But... but... I never said wait... I didn't..."

6:43 AM, April 21, 2009  
Blogger Cham said...

If you aren't getting hate mail then your blog only describes positive events handled by positive people (and is highly boring) or you are only posting food recipes that nobody is going to make.

It is always interesting to read the hate mail and figure out what is going on in the mind of the writer. I've pigeon holed much of my hate mail into 3 categories.

1) You have people that are bitterly lonely and depressed, reaching out for anyone to that might listen to them. They write out details about what is going on in their lives, how they are being treated badly by others, why they are courageous and virtuous in the face of adversity and why I simply don't understand their specific dilemma. They are looking for a response, maybe an apology or a personal greeting from someone, anyone so they don't feel so lonely and hurt.

2) You have men that have seen a picture of me on my blog, and enjoy sexual harassment of women they can avoid meeting in real life. They are well aware they are losers, but by making sexually suggestive comments to me through email they can feel good about themselves.

3) Women who are upset that I have broken the woman code: Sugar, spice and everything nice. There are women out there that have their opinion of how all women should act (there's a lot of that going around). When I venture over that boundary, which I often do, I need a reminder that I am transgressing and I need to get back in line, stat. Usually my blog post ends up linked to other woman bloggers as an example of a bad bad bad person.

My response to all of these fine people is the same.

9:50 AM, April 21, 2009  
Blogger fivewheels said...

Complaining about hate mail is another move on Page 1 of the "Poor me, I'm a victim" playbook. It has the benefit of allowing you to portray all your opponents as hateful jerks based on the words of one.

It's similar to the constant trumpeting of death threats. Has there been any article about the Dixie Chicks in the last five years that didn't mention death threats? One gets the idea that this is the first thing they say to a reporter: "You know, we got death threats! We're like Salman Rushdie!"

I got death threats once for criticizing Yoda on a Star Wars site. I didn't hold a pity party.

1:51 PM, April 21, 2009  
Blogger Laura(southernxyl) said...

"If you aren't getting hate mail then your blog only describes positive events handled by positive people (and is highly boring) or you are only posting food recipes that nobody is going to make."

Or you only have a handful of readers and they are all very nice.

7:30 PM, April 21, 2009  
Blogger linsee said...

The sci-fi author John Scalzi published a book about his blog and its community of commenters, which he titled, "Your Hate Mail Will be Graded."

It's up for a Hugo.

1:06 AM, April 24, 2009  

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