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June 02, 2006

Letters From Neighborhood Bigots

So, a week ago, I wrote up a review of the Will and Grace season finale for my Dayton Daily News DVD column. Today I got a letter from a local bigot on the matter. I'd like to share a little bit of the letter with you and my thoughts thereof. Because of the language, I have it sequestered away behind the cut. Follow the link below. Please note that as much as possible I tried to preserve the original typography of the letter in the excerpt.

Scalzi,
Your little faggot pecker must be all a-twitter! Season finale of "Cocksucker and Grace" on DVD..... "Queer as Folk" 5th season out on video, Plus all the fuckin' 'gay' SHIT goin' on at Club Masque in Dayton this 'cumming' weekend. Time-Warner cable is advertising that "Cocksuck Mountain" is available on channel 1000, pay-per-view. That should interest you, since you've no doubt worn out the copy you bought alread ( those "eye candy" faggot coeboys, ya know! )
Jesus, man! How are you gonna handle so much fuckin' queer excitement ?! How many loads of cum can you swallow in one weekend ? How big a cock can you take up your sorry gay ass?

And so on and so on for another six paragraphs, which more or less conclude with the fellow saying he didn't spend 14 months in a North Vietnamese POW camp so that cocksuckers get can get married, and asking me if I've ever done any military service. My immediate response to the latter would be that, no, I wasn't in the military, although I know a number of cocksuckers who were; my answer to the former is that while I'm sorry he spent 14 months in POW camp, I'm not entirely sure how it gives his feculent bigotry any sort of moral authority.

This same fellow sent me a similar letter when I wrote up my review of Brokeback Mountain and it was pretty much the same letter, with slightly different sentences. As hate mail goes, it's about standard: limited volcabulary, limited ideas, and rhetorically confused, because, after all, if I am the sort of wild cocksucker he wants to suggest I am, why on Earth should I be insulted when he suggests this? I will say that would happily smoke a mile of prime man pipe rather than be what he is, but that's neither here nor there. This sort of hate mail is boring, which is my real problem. Boo hoo, I've been called a faggot cocksucker. Bitch, please. You need to do better if you're going to impress me.

Anyway, here's the thing about hateful, homophobic, and deeply closeted letters like this: Their existence amuses me. The fact that this fellow gets two full pages of bile and invective out of a single-paragraph review of the Will and Grace series finale fills me with cackling glee. I like that I make bigots fume and squirm, and I look forward to doing it for years to come. They deserve no less.

Also, of course, I hope this fellow gets the high hard anal piledrive he clearly and desperately yearns for, although I'm certainly not going to volunteer to administer it. I have my limits.

Posted by john at June 2, 2006 03:25 PM

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Comments

Haplo Peart | June 2, 2006 04:17 PM

Damn, I knew I was really getting to like you as an author. This letter and response pretty much confirms it!

My policy Bigots are stupid, not worth my time or effort and pretty much on the automatic, kick ignore list!

Tripp | June 2, 2006 04:29 PM

Wow.

Sometimes life out-stereotypes stereotypes.

What is that word I am trying to find . . . hmmm . . . could it be . . . conflicted?

Lisa | June 2, 2006 04:32 PM

I know what this guy really wants.

He wants you to autograph that picture of you in the previous post and personally hand deliver it to him.

John H | June 2, 2006 04:41 PM

He obviously hasn't read your tutorial on how to write hate mail. You should send him a copy of Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded...

Bill Marcy | June 2, 2006 04:47 PM

Uh, isn't it just as bigoted to be intolerant of his point of view?

I mean, sure the guy is just begging for a good butt-plugging, but you got to look at your own reaction in the sme light, no?

Christopher Walken (kinda sorta) | June 2, 2006 04:48 PM

You know, I would have at least replied to his email with this snippet:

"Sorry about your father. So, how did the watch feel up your ass all those months in that POW camp? Did your son appreciate it? It was his birthright, after all."

John Scalzi | June 2, 2006 04:53 PM

Bill Marcy:

"Uh, isn't it just as bigoted to be intolerant of his point of view?"

Who's intolerant? I'm perfectly happy to let him have his point of view, and indeed, per Voltaire would be happy to go to the barricades for him to have the right to express it. I'm just gleeful my point of view causes him so much irritation.

Bill Marcy | June 2, 2006 05:02 PM

, John, what makes yoou htink this guy isn't just playing you? Maybe his hobby (in between greasing knobs and packing fudge) is writing vitriolic letters to newspapers to see if he can get a reaction?

I mean, unless you know the guy (or gal) personally, ascribing anything to his writing other than humorous fiction is kinda jumping to conclusions.

Bill Marcy | June 2, 2006 05:04 PM

Oh and as a side note, he may be self-hating, but I would bet money on him not being homophobic.

Bob Westbrook | June 2, 2006 05:09 PM

My experiences in the criminal world showed me that the person who gets the most vitrolic on a subject does so because that is the very area he has personal problems with. The loudest gay basher is often gay but trying to hide the urges he struggles with.

Kafkaesquí | June 2, 2006 05:17 PM

My analysis: Floating down a certain river in Egypt. During the rainy season. Without a boat.

Laura | June 2, 2006 05:20 PM

My goodness. That, er, gentleman (to use the term loosely) certainly is quite aware and up-to-date on all of the happenings in the entertainment world, as well as his own local area, apparently, that are of gay/lesbian interest. I think perhaps our word of the day for this guy might be "CLOSET." ;)

John Scalzi | June 2, 2006 05:32 PM

Bill Marcy:

"I mean, unless you know the guy (or gal) personally, ascribing anything to his writing other than humorous fiction is kinda jumping to conclusions."

Oh, for Christ's sake, Bill. That's a pretty damn idiotic line of reasoning. Or do you make a regular business of not taking people at their word? When someone sends you a note calling you a faggot cocksucker -- twice -- it's entirely reasonable to assume that, in fact, he sincerely means to call you a faggot cocksucker. He's not busting out the winking emoticons to let me know, ha ha, that it's all a joke (indeed, both letters were mailed, which is not trivial).

And I will happily take your bet, because that would be easy money for me. Don't put yourself in a pretzel making excuses for this pathetic bigot. He is what he appears to be.

Douglas | June 2, 2006 05:34 PM

Two things:

1) "happily smoke a mile of prime man pipe"
reminded me of a similar exercise in college, but in reverse both ways.

For what it's worth, and assuming 'prime' = 8 inches, that's (5280ft * 12in) / 8in = 7920 strokes

At, let's say 30 cycles (1 stroke in either direction) per 'incident', then 7920 / 60 = 132 fully satisfied Ohioans.

2) Is it REALLY true that those that scream the loudest against homosexuality are the ones that are repressing it the most? That seems like something we made up to help us feel like there weren't really people out there that just plain hate and have no reason.

Harry Connolly | June 2, 2006 05:40 PM

Is it REALLY true that those that scream the loudest against homosexuality are the ones that are repressing it the most?

Absolutely.

John Scalzi | June 2, 2006 05:42 PM

Douglas:

"Is it REALLY true that those that scream the loudest against homosexuality are the ones that are repressing it the most?"

Sometimes it is; sometimes it's not. Either way, however, they hate it when you suggest it.

PeterP | June 2, 2006 05:57 PM

I do have to question the sanity of someone who bothers to properly punctuate "goin'". I mean, really, same number of key presses, one gets you to proper English, you're obviously aware of the conventions....

Strange.

Peter

Brian Greenberg | June 2, 2006 06:15 PM

Man, people will correct the grammar on just about anything, huh?

Josh Jasper | June 2, 2006 06:18 PM

I'd hate to imagine encountering this nutcase i any position of authority. I'm not closeted. not wildly out, but not closeted. This guy sounds like he'd be thrilled to abuse as many GLBT people as he could manage.

And just last week some Republican was telling me that homophobia wasn't a real problem...

darren | June 2, 2006 07:00 PM

Are you going the round-a-bout way of telling John that you wrote those letters Bill?

Gina Spadafori | June 2, 2006 07:04 PM

John, every now and then I trip across you ... FresBee, AOL, etc. And I kick myself for not having you bookmarked. You're a real talent, always have been.

As for hatemail ... you simply would not believe the hateful stuff I get as a pet-care columnist, fergoshsakes. I have a person who sends me snail mail every week from Reno, envelopes stuffed with the nastiest anti-abortion diatribes you've ever seen, scibbled with notes like, "You're the kind of person who aborts babies in the morning and buys her dog a fur coat in the afternoon! I hope you enjoy hell! And I bet you have sex with your dogs!"

Uhhh .. wha?

Anyway ... great to make your re-acquaintance, virtually, at least. I remember when you proposed to your wife in the pages of the Fresno Bee. Guess it worked out OK, and great to see it.

John Scalzi | June 2, 2006 07:09 PM

Now, now, Darren. Let's not go there. Bill's always been a good contributor here and a good guy.

Gina: Hey! Good to see you again, too. The DDN runs your column, and I always think to myself "I know her!"

Bill Marcy | June 2, 2006 07:40 PM

Uh, you ren't going to do a handwriting analysis or anything like that, are you John, I mean, I gots nothing to hide, not even from a pole-smoker like yourself...UH, .......

I guess what I was trying to get across is this, I would have taken it as high entertainment, taking it as any other way would be giving the writer too much credit.

John Scalzi | June 2, 2006 07:48 PM

Okay, I see what you're saying now, Bill. Sadly, it wasn't that entertaining, and this is from someone who enjoys a good flame letter. It's a harder format than it looks.

CoolBlue | June 2, 2006 08:28 PM

I myself thinks the guy just likes writing the words "cocksucker" and "cum".

Now I could wonder why that is.

But really, I don't care why that is.

John Scalzi | June 2, 2006 08:36 PM

You should see the whole letter, CoolBlue. He was just getting warmed up in the first couple of paragraphs.

Nick Kiddle | June 2, 2006 09:58 PM

I don't subscribe to the idea that *all* homophobes are closet cases. However, in cases where people go out of their way to describe, in lurid detail, the specifics of sexual acts, one candidate for motivation just won't leave my mind for some reason.

emeraldcite | June 2, 2006 11:18 PM

Boy, he had an ax to grind...

:)


Scalzi, you're my hero!

Smurf | June 2, 2006 11:34 PM

I'd fight the sword too if I were a guy and Karen was the only available woman in my gang. At least he and Will both get to watch the hockey game, right?

You have the bigot guy's addy... you should send some 350 pound black guy down to act all gay and angry with the guy. "Yo... you da beeyotch who gots the problem with Will and Grace, mother effer?"

I know a guy in Boston who does stuff like that, but it'll cost you $700, and probably more if he has to go to friggin' Dayton.

Smurf | June 2, 2006 11:44 PM

Also... "fa**ot c****sucker" is sort of like a double negative, and it cancels out any Show Tune aspect of your sexuality.

You have to have gone to an all-girl college to know stuff like this.

Bob Wall | June 3, 2006 01:37 AM

John,

Hmmm, I dunno, I would actually be a little concerned in terms of personal privacy, safety, etc. based on a few things.

1)He's local. It's not exactly a huge circulation that the Dayton Daily has.

2)You are unusually open for an author. Really, you are unusually open for anybody. I think that is a good thing, makes you more readable, more accessible, and more "involved" in your community, both online, in print and locally. However, it also means that there is a lot of information available about you publically, including things like what your family looks like and what your house looks like.

3)My mother is an author, as well (retired for the most part) with 6 novels. For some stupid reason on her first book there was her home address in the back, telling people to direct their correspondence there. I used to read some of the fan mail she got. 99% of the mail was quite nice. Apparently her publisher thought it was a good idea to send the "discards" or whatever the call them with the covers ripped off to the Men's prison systems of 3 states. The mail got more interesting at that point, with several readers wanting to come and "visit".

I admire you and your writing. I would bet that the vast majority of your readers do. I don't know that there's anything you can really do about this point that I'm trying to make: that the more you open yourself up to the public...the more you open yourself up to the public, and that includes the bad with the good.

No doubt you have given this subject some thought and already made your peace about it. I guess my conclusion would be, "yeah, it's a crazy world and there are some people out there that might be dangerous, but what the hell are you gonna do?" I'd be interested in your conclusions.

darren | June 3, 2006 02:23 AM

John:
"Now, now, Darren. Let's not go there. Bill's always been a good contributor here and a good guy."

Oh no, I didn't mean that in a mean spirited way. I sincerely thought he sounded as if he may have written the letters as a joke, and the response its getting here made him too embarassed to come out and say it.

Branko Collin | June 3, 2006 06:31 AM


"Also, of course, I hope this fellow gets the high hard anal piledrive he clearly and desperately yearns for, although I'm certainly not going to volunteer to administer it."

Nah, you're probably not his type. That is to say, I assume you are not his cousin.

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little | June 3, 2006 10:30 AM

...indeed, both letters were mailed...

John, that's creepy. That's really effed up. I'm not one to lecture anyone on anti-stalker precautions, having been known to walk/bike around New Orleans and West Seattle in the dead of night and all, but... I have to mildly echo Bob Wall's concerns.

...I do have to question the sanity of someone who bothers to properly punctuate "goin'". I mean, really, same number of key presses, one gets you to proper English, you're obviously aware of the conventions....

Oh please don't try to hang the guy with that rope. I mean, there's lightning and then there'se lightning bugs; sometimes you're going somewhere and sometimes you're just gettin' goin'. The difference is non-trivial--except for when it ain't trivial. Y'know?

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little | June 3, 2006 10:37 AM

And of course I would typo in that post. "There's" I meant, of course, not "there'se".

Heather Coon | June 3, 2006 11:23 AM

Geeky clarification time. Up above, someone posted a link to an article in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology which compared the penile response (circumference) of heterosexual men "high" and "low" in homophobia (sort of) to 3 erotic videos (heterosexual, lesbian, and male homosexual). A key sentence in the abstract reads: "Only the homophobic men showed an increase in penile erection to male homosexual stimuli."

I’m a college professor with access to a database containing the actual article. And when you read the article you find that the statement above requires clarification. In fact, the results section of this article discusses the men’s penile tumescence upon viewing the video and concludes: “In the homophobic group, 20% showed no significant tumescence, 26% showed moderate tumescence, and 54% showed definite tumescence to the homosexual video; the corresponding percentages in the nonhomophobic group were 66%, 10%, and 24%, respectively.”

So while over 50% of homophobic men demonstrated tumescence, SOME (24%) of the non-homophobic men also did. While this is a difference, it is NOT what the abstract says.

Also, compared to their scores from the heterosexual and lesbian videos, on average all men scored much lower in tumescence while watching the male homosexual video. That is, while some men (more often homophobic ones) were somewhat turned on by the make homosexual video, they were much MORE turned on by both of the other videos...

mythago | June 3, 2006 12:59 PM

You should send him a copy of Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded...

Signed "Love and Kisses, John Scalzi," of course.

PeterP | June 3, 2006 01:26 PM

Or maybe a subscription to Out Magazine...

Brer Wolf | June 3, 2006 01:50 PM

In keeping with my deep regard for you and my own personal obsessions, stay away from this guy! Have no contact with him, do not mention him in a public venue such as the newspaper. If at all possible without violating either of these suggestions, you might want to find out what he looks like; one assumes that he knows what you look like and if he has the brains of a gerbil (debatable, but possible), he could easily find out where you live. If he should come walking up to you on the street, it would be very nice to know who he is before he tries to punch your face in. I am concerned that this guy in addition to being a homophobe has major anger issues and that you could become his target of choice. If at all possible, I would appreciate it if you would try to outlive Mr. Heinlein. I like reading your stuff, most particularly Whatever, and I can assure you that it is very difficult to keypunch with broken fingers.

John Scalzi | June 3, 2006 01:56 PM

I am so not worried about this guy. I know who he is and where he lives as well. He's a letter writer. He writes letters to the local newspapers and their writers, and that's basically how he gets his fun. Don't worry, I'm not going to go out of my way to antagonize him personally, or write him a letter. And if he comes on my property, he'll have 500 feet in any direction before he can reach me, which is more than enough time for me to get my bat, and my large dog bred to hunt bears. It's the guys who you don't see coming that I worry about.

Scott S. | June 3, 2006 03:10 PM

John:

You seem to be a supportive father and writer. When I brought home Young Writer's Awards, Dad said, "You still writing that poetry crap."

--Scott

Scott S. | June 3, 2006 03:15 PM

John:

Ask some of your co-workers at the DDN about "The Mad Shi**er." They'll know who I'm talking about.

--Scott

Mitch Wagner | June 3, 2006 07:02 PM

Would it be inappropriate for me to ask here what you thought of the "Will & Grace" finale?

I poked around on the DDN site for a couple of minutes, didn't find anything.

I liked it. I stopped watching the show years ago, when it seemed to be getting tired. It had funny spots, the non-funny spots weren't painful.

And I'd heard Megan Mullaly could sing--but wow! I have to look her up on iTunes.

As a sf fan, I had to take notice that the year 2026 (as portrayed on the W&G flash-forward) looked exactly the same as 2006. The clothes were the same, the furniture was the same, the bar was decorated the way an upscale bar would be decorated today.

At first that might seem like an error, but, y'know, the show wasn't *about* the world of the future, it was about the characters as they got older. *They* wouldn't be spending any time thinking about the differences, to them, the clothes would be clothes, the furniture would be furniture, the bar would be a bar. None of *us* spend any significant amount of time walking around thinking about how different the clothes, furniture, and bars of today are vs. the way they were in 1986.

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little | June 3, 2006 08:52 PM

...well, it's a relief to hear it's not just you. I feel much better knowing that Neighborhood Bigot's energy is spread out over many undeserving recipients, rather than specifically targetting you.

But with a potty mouth like that, how does he manage to get his Letters To The Editor published?

Greg | June 3, 2006 11:35 PM

John:

I don't think that you're gay. And for what's it's worth, I watched Brokeback Mountain myself and thought that it deserved all of its awards. There are two openly gay men in my workplace and I get along with both of them fine...Just so you know where I stand. As far as I'm concerned, gays should be allowed to enjoy their lives undisturbed by the rest of us..live and let live, etc.

That having been said, I do think that you are a bit obsessed with gay issues. This doesn't make you gay, of course. But the "tongue photo" of last week was a bridge too far.

You will remember that Nixon was able to get away with going to China because he had such a tough record on communism. I'm sure you would agree that, while clearly heterosexual, you aren't exactly an alpha-male. When you combine this with constant attempts to show your "solidarity" with gays--well, you can't exactly be amazed when you get emails like that from wackos.

I'm not suggesting that you should become a homophobe, but I would suggest that you retire as the unofficial spokesperson of the gay movement (or at least let someone else carry the baton for a while).

We all know how progressive you are--but how much of a regular guy are you? I work with a lot of educated, heterosexual males (many of whom voted for Kerry), and we spend a lot more time talking about Victoria Secrets models than we do about the gay movement. When was the last time you made a post about Victoria Secrets models?

Perhaps you need to get gays off your mind for a bit and go hit the gym, eat a steak---and perhaps balance the gay entries with the occasional dispatch from the lusty heterosexual caveman lurking underneath your politically correct veneer.

John Scalzi | June 4, 2006 01:28 AM

Well, I did eat a steak tonight, at least.

Mitch Wagner | June 4, 2006 01:29 AM

Greg assumes that being mistaken for gay is somehow a bad thing.

John Scalzi | June 4, 2006 01:36 AM

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Oh, wait...

Mitch Wagner | June 4, 2006 01:55 AM

Wrong sitcom.

John Scalzi | June 4, 2006 01:59 AM

It's from a sitcom?

Mitch Wagner | June 4, 2006 02:01 AM

Seinfeld. A journalist is writing an article about Jerry. She overhears conversations between him and George, and Jerry is worried that they'll make her think he's gay. "Not," he and George repeat throughout the episode, "that there's anything wrong with that."

John Scalzi | June 4, 2006 02:02 AM

Got ya.

Josh Jasper | June 4, 2006 09:16 PM

Perhaps you need to get gays off your mind for a bit and go hit the gym


Yes, because no gay men ever go to the gym

*snerk*

dutchb0y | June 5, 2006 12:10 AM

"There are two openly gay men in my workplace and I get along with both of them fine...Just so you know where I stand."

Echoing the classic "some of my best friends are [blank]" - Not a good start...

Josh Jasper | June 5, 2006 05:54 AM

And it's actually a lousy indication of where one stands. I get along just fine with the rather conservative Christian at my workplace, but for all I know, he's a major campaigner for James Dobson.

Simon | June 5, 2006 10:57 AM

John: rhetorically confused, because, after all, if I am the sort of wild cocksucker he wants to suggest I am, why on Earth should I be insulted when he suggests this?

Perhaps I'm giving the letter-writer too much credit, but maybe he knows that you're not, and wishes to insult you by claiming that you write like someone who is, twisting the insult by skipping the simile and going straight for the metaphor. (Not that he thinks of it as a metaphor, I'm sure.)

Or, if he is a self-loathing closeted gay - which is quite possible - then like most such he believes that every straight person really is one too, and he is crowing that he's found you out.

David | June 23, 2006 06:35 AM

re: Heather Coon posting june 3/06

I read a posting of yours about the u of georgia study on homophobia (Henry E. Adams, Lester W. Wright, Jr., and Bethany A. Lohr) at http://www.scalzi.com/whatever/004256.html

Maybe you could clear something up for me.
If 24% of "normal" men and 54% of homophobic men
showed significant "horniness" when watching male gay sex why is it not fair to say that in this group of 65 men, a minimum of 24% are bisexual?

Does the study define "somewhat" turned on?

And does significant mean "not equal to but a bit less than"?

It was this sentence of yours which mystified me.

"while some men (more often homophobic ones) were somewhat turned on by the male homosexual video, they were much MORE turned on by both of the other videos"
>
> Granted (they are straight after all (ostensibly)).
>
> But i thought 24% was a big number. And i thought "significant
> tumescence" was more than just "somewhat"; i'm confused.
>
> if you know the url address of the original study (or any more
> recent), i'd be grateful.
>
> (i've seen this article reprinted so many times, it'd be nice to
> see the original.)
>
> thanks for your time,
>
> confused in canada,
>
> dave (confused about the study, that is.)