Cap'n Arbyte's


Local interest

Other sites


More ACN Mail

Yes, I just did this last month, but the mail keeps coming. This one qualifies as the single best e-mail I have ever received. First the message, then a little analysis:

From: (redacted)
Date: Thu, 29 Dec 2005 18:56:40 -0500
Subject: question about your web site

Alright you little piece of shit.

Before you automatically delete this email because you are too afraid to go on, please reconsier. In fact I dare you to respond to me mother fucker. Why are you such a whiney little bitch? Do you honestly have nothing better to do than to make some gay-ass website that dogs on other people's brilliant ideas. (Yes Im talking about ACN) The only reason your pussy-ass wouldnt consider joining, isnt because of all those pathetic reasons you listed on your site, no no no. It's because you are afraid of failure. "Sure it works for some people, but most back out." Most people back out because they dont have the balls to man up and do something about their pathetic middle class blue collar lives. If you took one fucking day out of your life to consider what the important things are, maybe you would succeed and stop your pathetic attempt to be "different and stand up agains whatever the hell i want" Nobody wants to associate themselves with a person who creates absolute retarted shit like you. You will ameliorate you lifestyle the day you take it seriously!

Le Vrai Francais

ps Feel free to respond, thank you

This is absolutely brilliant, it does everything right, an exemplar of hate mail. Let's discuss what's so great about it:

The only specific mention of what he's writing about — my ACN post — is in a parenthetical remark. And not until the 6th sentence! I honestly had no idea what he was spewing about until I read a third of the way through the message. Good hate mail should bewilder your target.

This message doesn't engage the content of my ACN post at all. It only managed a vague reference to "all those pathetic reasons" followed immediately by psychologizing — "It's because you are afraid of failure." Good hate mail should brazenly assume your target's use of quotations, calculations, and reasoning are merely a cover for personal insecurities. After all, you know that they don't believe all that stuff they labored to write. You have an easy, simple, psychological explanation.

Observe the multitude of gratuitous insults. From the opening line calling me a "little piece of shit", he goes on to call me a "mother fucker" and a "whiney little bitch" who writes a "gay-ass website" containing "absolute retarted [sic] shit". Note especially that the first and last insults are both about shit — we've come full circle, a satisfying return to the tonic. Good hate mail should gratuitously insult your target, being careful not to justify any of the insults, and should do it in a classy way.

Look at the weird language at the end: "You will ameliorate you lifestyle the day you take it seriously!" What's a sophisticated word like that doing in a letter like this? The usage is correct (despite the nearby grammar being wrong) but it doesn't flow like a natural English sentence. It sounds forced. Good hate mail should include a little spice of weirdness to make your target stop and read it twice.

I needn't dwell on the spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. People seem to understand intuitively that these are an essential component of hate mail.

Finally, good hate mail should let your target know that you're itching for a fight. This letter opens by daring me to reply, and closes with the curiously weaker "Feel free to respond, thank you". I won't find fault with the change in mood — I'd be tired after writing something like that, too — but the important point is the repetition of the desire for a reply.

Your wish is my command. Well done, Le Vrai Francais — now you're famous. :)

Tiny Island