Bad spelling and grammar is nothing to be ashamed of; in fact, it's an art
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Sent: Wednesday, February 04, 1998 9:05 AM
To: firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>
Subject: Hicks on Hate Mail
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HATE MAIL 101
by Andrew Hicks
I've been writing humor columns on the Internet for about two and a half
years now, and a lot of people like what I do. This piece isn't about those
people. The theme here is People Who Think I Suck, a category I get right
every time I play "The $20,000 Pyramid." I get a lot more nonsensical hate
mail now than I used to, most of which can be traced back to my "eMpTyV:
Music Video Reviews" website. Since it's been listed in the Yahoo directory,
it hasn't attracted the most articulate of crowds. So that adds greatly to
my usual stack of nasty flame letters. The problem is, a lot of this hate
mail is just boring and/or stupid. It takes a special kind of e-mail to
really get under my skin. So here's what I'm going to do. I'll reprint
quotes from ten sample e-mails and grade them, from A+ to F, as a good
survey of the dos and don'ts of hate mail writing. So read along with me,
and, hate mailers, you just might see yours!
[NOTE: Hate mail is a nasty game. So, for the first time, I'm placing a full
Parental Advisory on something I've written. In the interest of education,
I'm leaving all hate mails uncensored. This means a lot of misspellings,
grammatical errors and motherf#&*ing cuss words. Only proceed if you're 18
or over, or if mommy and daddy are in the next room watching "The
1. "U really suck, ifi ever see suck a faggotish thing on the internet
again im going to beat the living shit out of u over the internet because
youre a phatty dyke, u can get the fuck off the internet and get me a diet
peps while youre up u fuckin BITCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
I wanted to start with an example of an outstanding hate mail
message. Note the very beginning and end. This e-mail starts with the misuse
of "u" for "you," a strong sign of sub-literacy bound to annoy a writer like
me, and ends with sixteen exclamation points, a brutish declaration of the
intense degree of hatred this person has for me. In between is a
delightfully enraging series of random slurs and swear words, which are made
even more powerful by their abject refusal to make any sense whatsoever. He
coined the phrase "phatty dyke," which has been referenced in countless hate
mails since, and I'm still wondering exactly what "a faggotish thing" is.
Note this person's mention of the product "diet peps," which I assume is
some kind of new beverage specifically delivered by Internet humor writers
to people who really hate them. This one gets extra credit for pissing me
off before I even started reading it with the subject line, "u dyke, suck my
scrot, after youre done garglin me balls." Grade: A+.
2. "What the Hell is this page. It is stupid. No one will read this
crap unless to make fun of you. You sound like a stupid queer."
This is one of the most bland hate mails I've ever seen. Surely, if
you want to insult me, you can do better than "it is stupid," although the
simplicity of the sentence does a good job of offsetting the longer
sentences of six words or more. The lack of any shocking swear words or
visual imagery lends no real feeling of hate. D+.
3. "just wanted you to know that you are the most pathetic, sorry
excuse for a human being i have ever seen in my 20 years of existence on
this rock we call earth... you suck rhino nutz."
An all-around good hate mail. Concise, to the point, and with an
epic quality in singling me out as the single "most pathetic" person on the
planet. It places a huge burden on me as the target, making me wonder for
the rest of the afternoon and well into the evening whether I am indeed the
lowest of more than six billion. Closing it with the image of me sucking
"rhino nutz" is also effective, although untrue-I do not suck rhino nutz, I
only lightly nibble. Grade lowered by one letter for the "rock" reference, a
little too literary for hate mail. It boosts the e-mail to fifth grade
level, which is inconsistent with the lack of capitalization and use of "z"
to end plural words. B+.
4. "Hey man, not to be a prick of any sort but...your web page sucks.
It's not interesting and I can't see how anyone would like to visit
Very mediocre hate mail. It starts out good, opening with a greeting
that let my guard down, then prefaces the actual slamming with a sarcastic
half-apology, a nice irony, but there's no real substance and the last
sentence is awkwardly-constructed. Saying "I can't see how anyone would like
to visit" is too formal. Closer to the true spirit of hate mail would be,
"People should stay the flying fuck away." He should have consulted his Hate
Mail Style Book (13th Edition). C.
5. "you're a nerd. get a better page"
Another fairly effective letter. It proves hate mail can work
without any real creative effort on the part of the author. This seven-word
message says to me, "I hate you so much I'm not going to waste any time
elaborating on it or capitalizing a damn thing." This letter is knocked down
by one grade for correctly using "you're" as opposed to "your." Again, we
should be reading our style books, people. B-.
6. "you suck you suck you suck. and as far as i am concerned, you will
always suck... you should tear down all your sites. your best bet is to
The strength of this e-mail is emphasizing that, in at least two
tenses (present and future), I indeed suck. The three consecutive
admonitions of "you suck," not separated by any punctuation, conveys a true
immediacy. Even more effective would be to run them all together without any
spacing (i.e. "yousuckyousuckyousuck"), which would condense this person's
hate into an even tighter ball of bitterness. The closer leaves me something
to dwell on, implying that there are other, unpleasant options aside from
having sex with myself but that, after considering them, self-sex will turn
out to be my "best bet." B.
7. "pardon my immaturity but i think you'll appreciate it: you are dumb
and have poor taste in music... i have decided i hate you. sorry. you're an
asshole and the antichrist. weezer rocks."
Again, a solid piece of hate mail. The opening phrase sets this mail
up as serious advice to be considered, albeit from an individual whose
immaturity I should pardon. It means "blunt but true," and I like it,
although this letter's weakness lies in the post-colon mark of the first
sentence. I'm dumb and have bad music taste... this is what he's building up
to with that great opening clause? There's no epic scope of hatred. He
redeems himself toward the end, though, by going so far as to call me the
Antichrist and closing with those terrific two words that put it all in
perspective, "Weezer rocks." B+.
8. "your reveiws suck shit. stp kickass . rap sucks. mtv sucks. marilyn
manson rules you stupid christian moron.you suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu
While the sucking of shit, preferably through one of those wacky,
bendable kids' straws, is an engaging hate mail image, this letter could not
sustain my interest beyond that first sentence. This is the first time I've
seen three consecutive two-word sentences since "Me Tarzan. You Jane. Let's
shag." The last word, while it does send an immature sexual message (an
integral feature of competent hate mail) in having exactly 69 letters, is
overkill. The Hate Mail Style Book specifically says not to stretch a word
more than ten times its original length for effect. That means the elongated
"suck" should not have exceeded 40 characters. Sloppy, sloppy hate mail. D.
9. "You are a fool if you think you're fooling anyone educated past 9th
grade into believing that you little articles are well thought out... I
don't know you so I can't say that you SUCK... but your little web page is
Super Sucking... Sorry...?!?!?!"
This one is pretty scattershot, but an overall thumbs-up. What
enraged me as the recipient of this e-mail was the full bag of hate mail
tricks. The use of nominative "you" for possessive "your," the
all-capitalized "SUCK," the overuse of ellipses, the one-two punch of "fool"
and "fooling" in the first sentence and, of course, the punctuation gone
wrong at the end, alternating exclamation points and question marks in
demonstration of the chaotic and confused hatred the person must have been
feeling for me at the time. I also like the capitalization of the phrase
"Super Sucking," almost as if to suggest my writing is so bad it deserves a
trademarked brand name to signify its awfulness. A-.
10. "your are so stupien"
This isn't an excerpt from an e-mail, this is the e-mail. Brief but
incredibly stirring. Note the lack of even minimal capitalization or
punctuation, the use of the possessive "your" in place of the nominative
"you" (a complete reversal of the previous e-mail) and, most effective, the
misspelling of the word "stupid" by more than two letters. This is hate mail
at its finest, the product of a truly creative, inspired mind, someone who
is not the least bit stupien. A+.
That's a good survey of the various approaches one can take to
writing hate mail over the Internet. For further reference, check your local
university library for the latest studies in hate mail journals like Go 2
Hell Quarterly, U Suck and Stupien Society Bulletin. Don't be discouraged if
any of these writings seem above your level; good hate mail is a learned
skill. Most professional hate mailers have a master's degree or, at entry
level, a bachelor's from the most prestigious Hate Mail schools in the
country. These people are professionals and have been at it for a long time.
Their first hate mails weren't much to look at either; most of them probably
seemed almost... nice. All you can do is keep writing hate mail and
studying the work of others. Practice makes perfect and someday you'll be
tearing productive individuals to shreds too.
Copyright 1997 Andrew Hicks
>From the Internet comedy diary "Yet Another Year in the Life of a
available in its entirety at http://www.missouri.edu/~c667778/year3
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