Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Stupid Reader of the Day

I spend a couple hours each morning answering my e-mail. I figure, if people are generous enough with their time to read Candorville each morning, the least I can do is take time to answer them when they write to me. The best part of this job is hearing from people all over the world whom I'd never meet otherwise. Whether readers agree with me or not, I appreciate hearing from them. And if they write to me even to respectfully disagree, I return that respect. If people write because they don't believe a fact they read in Candorville, I respond with my sources, so that even if they continue to disbelieve it, they'll know where I'm coming from and why I say what I say.

But there are a few different types of e-mails that tick me off. People who begin their e-mails with "I believe in free speech, BUT..." are the worst, but luckily they're among the least common. Most people seem to understand that freedom of speech is absolute except in extreme cases, and that political satire isn't one of those extreme cases. E-mails telling me to stop saying what I'm saying are almost as bad, because they're usually followed by poorly reasoned nonsense, faulty assumptions and whining -- in short, they're a complete waste of time. ...Or they would be, if they didn't provide me with an endless source of ideas for the strip.

Here's one of those, which wins the coveted spot of Stupid Reader of the Day (for the sake of authenticity, I left in his spelling mistakes):

Hey Mr. Bell,
I was offended by words in your last version that appeared in my paper of December 25th. All people of color are not that gullable to believe the lies of the liberal press. We don't all hate our courty and our president. Although you made it look as all us folks are depressed and hopless, people I talk to say things were much worse years ago. Stop making us look like a bunch of un-American loosers who constantly complain and are full of hate. Merry Christmas
Roger.


After a few years of politely answering e-mails from a wide variety of readers, I've developed the superhuman ability to tell which ones deserve a polite, thoughtful response, and which ones deserve to be summarily dismissed (a.k.a. "spanked"). Here's my response:

First of all, it's spelled "loser."

Now, who told you Lemont represents "all people of color"? When Homer Simpson overeats, do you think White people are ridiculous enough to write to the Simpsons producers and tell them "You made it look as if all of us folks are obese and overeat"? Well, I'm sure some of the more obtuse audience members do, but they're just as off-base as you are here. Just as Homer doesn't represent skinny, self-controlled White men, Lemont doesn't represent anyone who's not like him.

Furthermore, you need some more education in citizenship if you think satirizing what's wrong with society is the same thing as "hating America." People who bother to criticize today's state of affairs LOVE America, and don't appreciate what our current leadership is doing to it. If you think wanting our country to do better than it's doing is "full of hate," then you don't need any help from me to look like a loser.

Sincerely,

Darrin Bell
Cartoonist, "Candorville"
http://www.Candorville.com




4 comments:

MEC said...

At first the "Merry Christmas" at the end of Roger's message seemed like a non sequitur; then I remembered The War On Christmas(TM) and decided it was an act of aggression.

George W. Bush sure has changed the tone when "Merry Christmas" is interchangeable with "F*ck you, looser [sic]."

Anonymous said...

Man. You must get a lot of idiots like that writing in. Proves you've touched a nerve. But I'm surprised he was able to read the strip, much less comment on it.

Rick Stabile said...

Darrin:

Your response was very polite, but probably fell on deaf ears. You really shouldn't waste your time or talent on such people --- you were being too kind.

And, whether it's Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Christmas, or Festivus, I hope you are enjoying your holiday season.

BTW, thanks for the cartoons --- I really enjoy reading them.

- Rick Stabile.

Darrin Bell said...

Thanks, MEC, Rick & "Anonymous." I hope you all had a great holiday season!