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With the holiday season upon us, it's time to reflect upon events just past, to contemplate the coming year, and, ideally, to come out a better person for having done both. At least, that's what time it is if you've just received 35 pieces of seething hate mail.(1) It seems my correspondents were angry about a recent column that chastised Nader voters to the point of recommending tomato aspic as Thanksgiving food for Green Party members.
It's long been known in psychological circles that people who are beside themselves with anger need, more than anything else, advice. So in the spirit of this season of giving, I've decided to reach out to these people -- with an advice column.
I tucked into the fat holiday letter bag in my usual fashion (i.e., picking funniest names first) and found a brief missive from a New Jersey publicist named Noni Bookbinder Bell. Befitting this most religious of seasons, Noni begins her extremely brief missive (titled "You are truly sick" ) by invoking the name of the omniscient creator of heaven and Earth:
God you make me ill.
Noni Bookbinder Bell
Green Party of N.J. Liaison
Nader Campaign 2000
I feel your pain. If anyone knows what it's like to feel ill during the cold and flu season, it's me. At the Matt Smith household, shorter days mean larger portions of leafy, green vegetables, lots of warm liquids, and plenty of sleep. I also make sure to take extra care dusting around the bedrooms and living room. Remember, our bodies are constantly making war against an army of germs, and the more we trim their ranks, the likelier victory becomes.
Our next and second-most-funnily-named correspondent calls himself Aaron M. Kromash, and he says that he served as county coordinator of the Green Party of Burlington County, N.J. To be sure, Mr. Kromash's name isn't extremelyfunny, but it makes the cut by being mildly funny, in a gently-amusing-anecdote-without-an-identifiable-punch-line kind of way.
Mr. Kromash titles his letter "Warning!" and advises me that he or someone else may sue me for writing columns he objects to:
Retract your unwise and genuinely muleheaded cant. Your despicable (and profane) article is truly the portrait of an ugly and hateful frame of mind. If you choose not to seek help yourself, you would do well at least to exercise a modicum of professional self-preservation and simply keep quiet.
Aaron M. Kromash
Dear Mr. Kromash,
Yuletide is, indeed, a time of contradictions. The season commemorates the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, who said in Matthew 6:24, "You cannot serve God and wealth."(2) Yet Christmas is the year's peak shopping season. Similarly, the adult Christ is always depicted in iconic art as extremely slender. Yet Christmas is a gluttonous time.
Your letter likewise poses yuletide quandaries, Mr. Kromash. You offer "Regards," yet provide no real warmth. You suggest I either "seek help," or "simply keep quiet." Yet if I "sought help," my therapist would surely tell me notto "simply keep quiet." That's just the way therapists are.
Despair not. Sometimes it's perfectly fine to have doubts about our needs. These dissonant moments offer an opportunity to seek better understanding of exactly what we want -- whether from others, or from ourselves. This yuletide, why not take time for quiet introspection? It could prove your greatest holiday blessing ever!
Our next letter arrives from San Francisco's Antonio Roman Alcala, who says he's young, and, indeed, I have some thoughts about Alcala's understanding of basic sex education.
Smith's articles bring me genuine frustration. I find myself wondering, after reading another of his free-market-praising, knee-jerk anti-left-wing columns: Who is this man? Is he the love child of Milton Friedman and Satan?
Antonio Roman Alcala
I'm really anxious to learn where you got your ideas about love children, Antonio, because those ideas are wrong. Children are what happen when a man is feeling very in love with his wife, a woman is feeling very in love with her husband, and, well, you see, they're both feeling veeeery in love, and, um, so, they go ahead and, well, what they do is make a child. Satan and Mr. Friedman are not married, they do not love each other, and they can't make a child. Is this clear?
Our next missive arrives from a Mr. Jim Musselman, who I'm guessing is a pretty strong hombre, judging from his strong words.
So you'd favor a little pogrom on Nader voters? They did something like that in Germany on 11/9/1938. It wasn't against Naderites; I don't know the exact spelling, but it's remembered as "Kristalknacht."(3) Know what I'm talking about, Matt? Do you have a shaved head and wear a swastika armband?
Dear Mr. Musselman,
Thank you very much for asking.
No. Yes. No.
At first glance, our next correspondent, Pat Lares of San Mateo, seems to suffer an easily diagnosable, and thus easily advised-upon, condition.
Maybe Smith should also blame himself for not getting his man elected. Smith hadSF Weekly at his disposal. Not many people have a paper in which to spread their viewpoints.