As a tradition here at SF Weekly, we (actually I) always have the Infiltrator columnist conclude his (actually my) year-end column with the best of the hate mail collected throughout the past year. Hate mail, I've been told, is a badge of honor ("Your story made me sooooo angry I had to write a letter!"). Throughout the year, we (I again) have received many badges of honor.
Let me stress, by no means is this week's column a weak attempt to recycle old material (mostly written by readers), at which time I (this is me) reply with smarmy I'm-so-big-and-clever responses. Hell no.
And now, without adieu-further-ment, here presented on a platter are my favorite top hate mails of the past year, sent by those who have complete disregard for the spell check feature. (Each of the top hate mail winners of '05 will receive a copy of the book Ernest Shackleton-My Life As an Antarctic Explorer.* *Prizes subject to availability.)
Dear Sir: I was interested in your story about the Amber Frey lecture and most particularly about a woman named Ethel, who "smells like old people." I am very anxious to find out what a woman like Ethel does to smell like old people. ... You seem to have the nose of a bloodhound, particularly for ferreting out old people, so you may have some ideas that you can offer me ....
An Old Person
Dear Old Person,
In case you need clarifying, old people smell like a cross between Cocoon star Wilford Brimley and ass. Congratulations Old Person, you receive a free copy of Ernest Shackleton-My Life As an Antarctic Explorer (subject to availability)!
Mate, your recent article in sf weekly was probably the most dull piece of journalism I have read in any of the bay area rags to date. And Ive been reading most main page articles especially in the weekly for years. ... You obviously dont have any interest in things of the spirit and so it can be nothing but a slag off session. Why dont you go and slag off a local tupperware party while your at it.
First of all, Deano, this "slag off session" you speak of involving a local Tupperware party would be intriguing if, of course, the party were comprised entirely of 10,000 manly men who were lovin' the Jesus while a war vet with half his face blown off by a grenade banged the patriotic drum.
As a "mom with glasses" (could that be more belittling?) who finished her book of essays thanks to support from Ivory Madison and the Red Room Writers Studio, I wish Infiltrator had found something worthier of mockery. Some of us need a safe, quiet place to write. If that place is a mansion that offers chocolates, where's the bad?
Well, mom-with-glasses-Loren-Rhoads-of-Excelsior, the answer is yes, we (I) could be far more belittling. Offhand, without having prior knowledge, perhaps your stupid glasses are more worthy of mockery? How did you like that response, funny-four-eyes-who's-hatched-children-from-her-very-womb? Put that in your Ivory-Madison-mansion-chocolate-eating pipe and smoke it.
Yes, congratulations, mom-with-glasses-Loren-Rhoads-of-Excelsior prominence, you receive a free copy of Ernest Shackleton-My Life As an Antarctic Explorer (subject to availability)!
That was pathetic. Okay, a little harsh, but since You can dish it out, I'm thinking you should be able to take it, right? So your ex didn't give you an interview and you ask if she thinks she's Frank-fucking-Sinatra. that begs the question, who do you think you are, Truman-fucking-Capote?
Well, Michelle Thompson, to clarify, the answer is no, I don't think I am Truman-fucking-Capote. I instead think I am Ernest-goddamn-Shackleton, you know, the famed polar explorer who brought all his men to safety when his ship Endurance was trapped in ice. His epic journey from the Weddell Sea to South Georgia remains one of the legendary tales of survival.
Congratulations, Michelle Thompson, you receive a free copy of Ernest Shackleton-My Life As an Antarctic Explorer (subject to availability)!
I believe that anyone who refuses to socialize, either nazi or jew or black or white rich or poor, is an ass hole and should be taken care of, in this times, there is no excuse to be racist in any way. so they should be sent to the moon.
mexico distrito federal
OK, I'm just plain confused at this point.
But congratulations, George of mexico-distrito-federal fame. You receive FIVE free copies of Ernest Shackleton-My Life As an Antarctic Explorer (subject to availability) and one free trip to the moon!
I am curious; it seems as though the PC thing has really turned into hypocrisy ... or have you dressed up as a Jew, Muslim, shaved your head and donned the gold and orange robes of a Buddhist monk, perhaps the white outfits of the Sufis? But would that be laughed at, accepted, or would such a political outrage against your pranks cause a public apology for your poor taste? But hey, it is Christians, let us trash them with abandon. ... Hey, that's fuckin' awesome!
Julane [last name withheld]
First of all Julane [last name withheld] of Mill Valley, why the swearing?!
To set the record straight, I've already infiltrated Hare Krishnas (as a hairy Hare Krishna), Jews for Jesus (they're like bisexuals -- they swing both ways), Scientologists (posing as German rock star Dieter Lietershvantz who stayed at the Scientology Celebrity Center), Jehovah's Witnesses (I brought my bike to their service), not to mention Transcendental Meditation and Raelians, to name of few (believe me Julane [last name withheld] of Mill Valley, these religions were aghast as well, so don't think you're so flippin' special on your horse-of-highness). For some reason, though, I keep coming back to the powerful and scary extreme Christian right. The reason being -- I'll just say it's because its followers are the dreamiest.
Also, to answer your other question, no, I haven't shaved my head and donned a robe and dressed as a monk.
Sorry, Julane [last name withheld], we already ran out of copies of Ernest Shackleton-My Life As an Antarctic Explorer (subject to availability). Instead you will receive a fine hand-knitted scarf courtesy of the Yarn Barn* *(offer expires 12/13).
Speaking of Scientology ...
Hate Mail Winner No. 4: "World Recruiting Championships: Scientology Versus Crunch Gym"
Harmon Leon, you must be losing your touch. I'm a Scientologist and I'm not really offended by your article about my church. I suppose your reference to our E-Meters as lie detectors should offend me. They don't detect lies, they detect thoughts, especially stressful thoughts ....
Richard Scott Trafton
Well, Richard Scott Trafton of Lower Haight, thank L. Ron's pink little ass for that. I certainly wouldn't want to offend someone who believes that mankind evolved out of a volcano and follows the doctrine created by a science-fiction writer that is passionately defended by War of the Worlds star Tom Cruise.
Congratulations, Scientologist Richard Scott Trafton, you receive a free spin on the E-Meter and a DVD copy of Top Gun* *(subject to availability)!
Hate Mail Winner No. 3: "My Dinner at Applebee's With White Supremacists!"
What a perfect example of Jewish behavior Mr. Leon sets forth in his hateful attempt at anti-white propaganda ... he expects his readers to believe that between himself and the whites he fooled, that somehow he is the "good person." Give me a break; only a Jew could see it that way.
Like I said, An-attorney-of-Cabot-Ark. fame, we just ran out of free copies of Ernest Shackleton-My Life As an Antarctic Explorer (subject to availability).
I'm sure the next hate mail winner will sprout a full woody by actually seeing his name in print. When taking time out from, I would assume, contemplating the merits to society of his suicide (too harsh?), this rapscallion did some Hardy Boys-caliber supersleuthing after the Sacramento News & Review reprinted my white supremacist story, and thought he was really onto something:
... In the SF Weekly article, Harmon has it that his meeting with the National Alliance took place at Applebee's. But in the SN&R the meeting place is identified as "a restaurant in Davis." As a former UCD student I can say with some certainty that there is no Applebee's in Davis.
1753 Research Park Drive
Davis, CA 95616
Sorry, Russell Stein, we're fresh out of copies of Ernest Shackleton-My Life As an Antarctic Explorer (subject to availability).
Yes, my favorite bit of mail in '05 had to be the rebuttal SF Weekly printed in order to avoid legal action from the PAX TV show Lie Detector. Apparently the producer got a bit bent out of shape when he learned that I posed as a guy on parole, with a fabricated police arrest report created in Photoshop using David Crosby's weapons and drug charges, mixed with Courtney Love's assault-with-a-flashlight arrest report, all downloaded off of www.thesmokinggun.com.
... Mr. Leon's article, instead of being titled "Bullshitting the Lie Detector," should really have been titled "The Lie Detector Unmasks the Bullshitter" ....
Executive Producer of Lie Detector
Dear Mark Phillips, executive producer of Lie Detector,
Dude, argue what you may, but I sooooo infiltrated your show, it aired, then I wrote about it. Enough said (again, please don't sue us).
Congratulations Mark Phillips of executive-producer-of-Lie-Detector fame, we just got more copies of Ernest Shackleton-My Life As an Antarctic Explorer, and one is coming your way (subject to availability)!
Harmon Leon is the author of Republican Like Me: Infiltrating Red-State, White-Ass, and Blue-Suit America.