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Whatever you write, somebody thinks it's wrong.



THE WORST KIND of hate mail exposes the dark side of human bigotry Bigotry
See also Anti-Semitism.

Beaumanoir, Sir Lucas de

prejudiced ascetic; Grand Master of Templars. [Br. Lit.: Ivanhoe]

Bunker, Archie

middle-aged bigot in television series.
. But I don't get much of that.

Only occasionally has my mail gotten intimidating in·tim·i·date  
tr.v. in·tim·i·dat·ed, in·tim·i·dat·ing, in·tim·i·dates
1. To make timid; fill with fear.

2. To coerce or inhibit by or as if by threats.
: After I wrote a column ridiculing the Ku Klux Klan's recruitment efforts in Connecticut I gained, for a time, an anonymous pen pal pen pal
n.
A person with whom one becomes acquainted through a friendly, regular correspondence.


pen pal
Noun

Informal same as pen friend

Noun 1.
 who sent me letters full of racial invectives in envelopes covered with Nazi swastikas. My friends in the police department assured me that I was in good company; the same nut was writing to the police chief, too.

I define hate mail liberally. Letters from readers who assure me my column is lining their cat's litter box A litter box, sometimes called a "sandbox", "sand box", "litter tray", "litter pan", "catbox", or "cat box" is an indoor feces and urine disposal box for cats (as well as rabbits and other pets that naturally or through training will make use of such a repository) that are  fall within my broad definition, as do the letters that cast aspersions aspersions npl to cast aspersions on → difamar a, calumniar a

aspersions npl to cast aspersions on → dénigrer

 upon my ancestry or rail against real or imagined wounds.

One memorable letter accused me of prejudice against Italians because I hadn't endorsed any in a local election. I looked at my track record, and the gentlemen was correct; I hadn't endorsed any Italians. So I wrote back to him and pointed out that my husband's last name is Panzarella, and while I might not endorse many Italians, it hadn't kept me from sleeping with one of them.

Most of my hate mail is a source of vast amusement for me. I keep it on a wall in my office, the better to appreciate the foibles of humankind. One note that graces my wall came to me attached to a letter to the editor. It was addressed to my boss, Morgan McGinley, but as luck would have it, I opened the correspondence that day.

It reads: "Morgan, Please don't change my letter without discussing it with me. And please don't let Maura near it!"

Another note on my wall reacted to a column I had written about women. The letter reads, in part: "After watching the women in action in this country for the last 20 years, I have come to the conclusion that the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area.  is one big insane asylum."

An editorial I wrote about the New England New England, name applied to the region comprising six states of the NE United States—Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. The region is thought to have been so named by Capt.  Patriots' sexual harrassment of a female reporter who was conducting an interview in the locker room ended up coming back to me, with missives scrawled all over it.

"The Boston Herald The Boston Herald is a tabloid format newspaper, though not a tabloid in the traditional sense, and is the smaller of the two big dailies in Boston, Massachusetts (the other being The Boston Globe).  should know better than to send a damned woman in a men's locker room," the writing said. "Women should stay the hell out!"

It was signed, "An ex-subscriber to The Day."

The mail on my wall keeps me in check. It reminds me that my opinion isn't the last word on anything. No matter what I write, someone always has a different viewpoint. If it comes to me scrawled in anonymous notes, so be it.

After all, I write anonymously every day.
COPYRIGHT 1993 National Conference of Editorial Writers
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Casey, Maura
Publication:The Masthead
Date:Dec 22, 1993
Words:452
Previous Article:Editorial pages catch brunt of reader hostility.
Next Article:He missed the point - but I'm the target.
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