Hate Mail!


This just came in today and I wanted to share it with my Jazz Pickles because many of you love this kind of hate mail as much as I do.

Regarding yesterday’s “peace treaty” cartoon, here is the email in its entirety:

“You need to start looking for a new line of work because your shit is really sucking for air. Don’t respond.  I don’t want it.”

There are several curious things about this short group of sentences. First, I make a good living as a cartoonist and my blog and FB pages are visited by lots of people daily, so looking for a new line of work doesn’t seem reasonable advice at this time.

Second, each time I get this kind of note I can’t help but wonder what inspired this person to write? Do they write to their congressmen or mayor, or do they confine their complaining to meaningless corners of two-second entertainment? Does he like other cartoons or are all cartoons abhorrent to him? If he has other favorites, what are they? Garfield and Nancy, perhaps.

And lastly, why doesn’t he want me to respond? Is he too busy writing to authors of various “FAIL” graphics that appear on the Internet?

If you know the answer to any of these questions, please elucidate.


70 thoughts on “Hate Mail!

  1. Absolutely bewildering. I guess it must have interfered with his enjoyment of the Family Circus with that hilarious dotted line as Billy runs to call 911 as his father bleeds out.

  2. Perhaps he couldn’t ‘get’ the comic? So, instead of taking the time to figure it out, he lashes out with hate. So Mr. Cheney, you have now been outed. …

  3. I believe the hate mail must have been written by a spokesperson for Paper. Although Paper gets credited for “covering” Rock in the contests, everyone knows that Rock could truly kick Paper’s butt if it wanted to. I mean, really, what harm comes from “covering?” “Covering” is harmless in comparison to “cutting” or “crushing.” No wonder Paper and its followers harbor pent-up anger.

  4. It seems like code to me. Consider this: if you take the opposite of most of the words he’s saying, it’s “I don’t need to stop listening for an old circle of play because my food is imaginatively blowing for earth. Respond. You want it.”

    Now that makes sense.

  5. ..because your shit is really sucking for air.

    I’ve always wondered what, other than air, one might suck.

    Or possibly I’m missing the elusive modifier. Does shit suck in a different manner? Possibly drawing in nutrients? Or putting corn back on the cob?

  6. Pingback: Hate Mail! « Humor

  7. They say there are 2 types of people that listen to Howard Stern; those that love him, listen to hear what he’ll say, and those that hate him, to hear what he’ll say.

    The Bizzaro correlation might be – there are 2 types of people that read Bizzaro; those that are medicated properly and those that aren’t.

  8. The actual answers elude me. If it was a sharp disagreement with an expressed political position extrapolated from the cartoon I could understand that. The fact is, however, that there is no explicit political position of any kind expressed by the cartoon. There’s no real analogy that comes to mind because the email sentence you quote is so flat, banal and affectless. It adds up to less than zero.

    Get his snail mail address, put a drone on him, and target his ass for a gigantic fireball. Then go out for a beer and take a restful snooze after.

    • That particular cartoon actually sparked controversy in my household that had never previously seen the light of day. Mostly just wanted to say that.

  9. I don’t know about others, but if I don’t like something, I just don’t eat, watch, read, partake in, join, etc., it anymore. I only write someone if I think I can offer more information to them (like when I wrote you years ago about the angle of the knitting needles in one of your strips, or like when I wrote Steve Lopez of the LA Times regarding black bears and how we shouldn’t promote misinformation about them that leads to fearful people shooting black bears just because they’re looking for something to eat…).

    Not wanting your response just makes me think your complainer is a coward. The internet allows us to make stupid comments all the time without fear of reprisal. Next time, if I were you, I would just ignore/delete those comments and not give them “air time” in your blog. (If you get hundreds of complaints, then maybe you can be concerned.)

    • Thanks, Heidi. I remember your knitting needle info, great to hear from you. :o)
      I don’t really mind this kind of comment and my readers enjoy them as much as I do, that’s why I post them.

      • I guess I’m too serious. Got tired of reading comments like, “should have let that [grizzly bear] cub drown, there are too many bears here [in Alaska].” I’ll have to keep on reading your strip!

  10. Keep up the good work. When ‘whoever’ made the post can come up with a better one, everyday for 27 years, then they might be qualified to spout off.

  11. I’ve got a picture of this person; his gender, his race (it’s not racist to say that if I’m the same race, right?), age range, hair style, vehicle choice, perhaps even lifestyle, and of course his political affiliation. What makes his misplaced anger even more disturbing is its careless, scattershot nature. One can imagine him kicking the cat after reading the offending toon and continuing to take out his anger on anyone who crossed his path that day. Add to that the implied threat, that if you did not see the need to change careers as he clearly does, that he just might help along that process in some vaguely aggressive unidentified way. We don’t have classes in school that teach us how to constructively process uncomfortable thoughts or feelings (especially in the state where I think he lives – okay, now I’m crossing over into downright prejudice) so subversive smarty pants troublemakers like you will get some mail occasionally that will tell you you’re doing your part to expand minds with a chuckle, even if you have to blow a few fuses in the process. Hey, let’s give him points for getting the joke in the first place!

    • That’s way too denigrating about our fellow African-Americans! Even if you are also black it is still raaaaacist!

  12. OK.. If I may:

    ‘You need to…’ means: I’m very insecure about my jazz pickle size so I’ll dictate to those more accomplished than myself..

    ‘start looking for a new line of work…’ means: I don’t have a job, so this makes me feel like a bowss…

    ‘your shit is really sucking for air.’ means: I’m high, and over the moon. Can’t really breath but I feel lighter (thank you magnetic fields). This dude has BJs on the brain…

    ‘Don’t Respond. I don’t want it’ means: I’m a spoiled brat and therefore the only one with the right to hurl abuse. Also, I’m a spoiled rotten brat for thinking I’m really worth as much time as Kristoff has spent on this..

    I can’t believe I just spent 5 whole minutes on this! I’ll never get that back you know Dan… Think of your jazz pickles next time you share this crap. ;)

    These critics (and I use that word very losely) are really gasping for air. ;) keep caking, dynamiting, upside down birdie-birdying, or whatever it is you do behind that cigar!!

  13. Dan,

    I’m happy to answer your questions.

    First, what you consider to be a “good living” could to others, such as the author, seem to not be a full exploitation of your potential. If you were, say, a hedge fund manager or Chik-Fil-A PR “fixer” you could be making so much more. In this instance, the author appears only to be looking out for your own good.

    Second, I can’t answer all of your questions regarding the author’s other outlets, but he would seem to be an avid follower of “Family Circus”, a cartoon that was memorably referenced in the 1999 cult classic movie “Go” as “always there, in the lower right hand corner, just waiting to suck.” Whether he/she has written to Bill Keane over the years (or perhaps today tries to use supernatural methods to contact him beyond the grave) to comment on panels of FC he finds offensive or inspirational, I have no way of knowing but it would seem likely.

    Finally, the author has requested that you not respond because he/she is extraordinarily generous with his/her criticism and expects nothing in return. Clearly this is an individual of extraordinary character, not to mention taste for paying such close attention to your excellent cartoons and offering such keen insight.

    I would take this as a compliment, say thank you (to yourself, for God’s sake don’t respond!) and move on, being gratified that your fans care so much.

    I hope you found this helpful.


    Heywood J. Bloom

  14. I have to agree that this is extremely bizarre (as opposed to Bizarro, of course). Why in the infinite internet of choice would someone not just click somewhere else if they see something they don’t understand/like? Why spend the time heaping nonsensical hatred on a clearly beloved blog? So strange. Even more astonishing is the inference that this man (ok, you KNOW it’s a man) will come back to see if you responded against his wishes. I think he would be happier on YouTube watching teenaged girls drink feces or some such activity.

  15. He/she doesn’t want you to respond because such a scathing review had to be sent from someone else’s email in order to protect his/her anonymity so the backlash of such harsh, hurtful comments wouldn’t lead back to him/her. Plus I was sending it from someone else’s iPhone.

    P.S. is there only 3 of the symbols in this one? Eyeball, upside-down bird and K2 are all I see. usually it’s the slice of pie that jumps out at me first. Do something about mustaches. Mustaches are big right now.

    • Yes, only three symbols. There isn’t enough clutter in this cartoon to put more without it beginning to look like part of the gag. I put a number next to my signature that tells you how many to look for.

  16. Well, I guess it’s time to declare myself a very wrinkled, briny, old jazz pickle.

    I’ve been loving Bizarro since I first saw the strip, back in the days before I had access to the Interwibble, in the pages of Comic Relief.

    It’s a very large language we live in, and a culture of many nuances: as far as I’m concerned, I can see an incisive mind like Dan’s still has quite a way to go.

    Perhaps your complainant doesn’t like the ones he can’t understand. For me, for my partner (also a fan since nineteen-ninety-whatever) and for all the others who do appreciate Dan’s work, I can only offer the poor chap a few of my skin cells, in the hope he/she might acquire the humour gene.

  17. Maybe he represents the Mark Twain Fan Club, and this month’s PR assignment is to exemplify Twain quotes. Can you guess which one?

  18. It’s clear to me the writer was protesting the treatment of wood. The wood table holds up the 3 malcontents-rock, paper, scissors. Wood could envelope them in her warm, loving, organic grip and float them away from any deluge. Wood could, by sacrificing himself, warm them on a cold night. But where’s the appreciation? Where’s the love? One of these days wood is going to quit sucking in all the carbon dioxide you humans are causing to be belched out and then where will you be, mister smarty pants cartoonist? Where will you be?

  19. “You need to start looking for a new line of work because your shit is really sucking for air. Don’t respond.  I don’t want it.”

    Ah, I see that you’ve mistaken this for hate mail, when it is in fact quite the opposite. While the phraseology is easily misconstrued, the ardent fan in question is merely employing encouragement through the use of earlier etymologies. Allow me to explain.

    “You need to start looking for a new line of work…”

    At a glance, this comes across as a sarcastic, veiled insult that implies that you are not very good at what you do, but quite the contrary.

    The word ‘need’, while still meaning ‘necessity’ or ‘requirement’ today, was used much more ardently in times past. While derived primarily from Old English, the word ‘need’ borrows its severity from several common origins touching compound requirements, so much so that the word was often associated with life threatening situations. ‘Need’ was most often used in conjunction with ‘violence, force, death, pain, duty, trouble and compulsions’ . This ‘need’ is further emphasized by the use of the word ‘start’ as a second implied action, for the root language is the same and the original meaning is an act of immediate decision. Thus the writer establishes an absolute requirement of immediate action beyond the common usage of today.

    Next we must examine the word ‘look’. Again, we look to Old English for answers and find that you are asked to ‘gaze, behold or search out’. This is not a casual act of glancing, but a command to seek and to discover and to face by direction a more cognitive outcome than that of mere sight. To look is to investigate, to research upon and to observe sharply.

    Once we see that the writer wishes you to do such things with hard, unflinching action, then the rest of the sentence is plain.

    A ‘new line of work’ is not a different or completely alternate living, but rather an untried path of your calling as it is. The word ‘new’ comes from’niowe’, or an even earlier ‘niwe’, meaning ‘fresh, recent or untried’, but not wholly ‘different’. Combined as ‘new line’ we get a directive of an alternate rule, path or direction connected with the first, for a ‘line’ in both Old English and Arabic is a binding word as a noun and a verb and defines a measurement and lineage, so that we see that you are again encouraged not to deviate entirely, but to alternate your course by investigation.

    ‘Work’ is, as it is, the same as it has ever been in all tenses. Past or present the word defines deed, action, business and something done before or ongoing. This is but another example of the intention of this email for you to continue but with an eye of exploration.

    “…because your shit is really sucking for air.”

    This is where the email truly seems to imply a rude or attacking tone, but again, it doesn’t.

    ‘Because’ is a phrase, often followed by a subordinate clause introduced by that or why. It means ‘by or with cause’ and it leads directly to the heart of the sentence.

    ‘Your shit’ is directed at the ‘shit’ that is yours and yours alone. And since ‘shit’ is a ‘purging’ and a ‘separation from the body’ in Old English, as it borrows from ‘scitte’ and ‘skied’ respectively, we must assume that the writer again implores an act of effort, for the two root words are also the parents of the words ‘science’ and ‘conscience’. Thusly, ‘your shit’ is your purging and separation of the body, or in plain terms, an act of seeing outside one’s self and removing one’s self from all which came before. Suck is simply used in the original and imitative origin to ‘draw out’ or ‘sap’, building upon the purging and separation of ‘shit’.

    Used as noun in the sentence, air is an obvious allusion to breath, life and/or the various aspects of ‘atmosphere’, it can’t be argued too much past that point. However, as it also means ‘brightness’ and ‘sky’ among many Indo-European languages, we cannot discount the use of it as an illustrative or narrative term. The writer may have also been alluding to a phrase more common in the 1800s to mean ‘general awareness’ and we can’t dismiss the very real possibility that air was meant as a verb, despite it’s use in the sentence structure, for the verb suggests an act of ‘making public or exposure’, so that it may imply an act of broadcasting.

    The rest of the email is plain. “Don’t respond.’ When compared to the tone of the whole this short sentence becomes a direct, honest, albeit blunt instruction that ‘no response is necessary or required’. We see by this that the writer wishes no platitudes in response to the advice given. The writer does not ‘wish for’ or ‘desire’ it.

    By this examination of the whole we understand that this most humble fan of your work is asking you to take on greater action by delving into wider paths of discovery outside of those you have pursued before and in an open fashion shared with all of us.

    It’s a compliment. It is strangely veiled I grant you, but it is a compliment all the same.

    Your in service,

    -William T. Pace

    Wordmonger and Weirdo of the Highest Order

  20. Well, Dan, you certainly got a lot of responses to your response to that response.

    Someone must be held responsible, but I’m not sure who.

  21. Oh shoot, now you’re getting me to read a blog. I was hoping for some Fun with Grammar, but this person used the right ‘your’.

  22. I think you said “Peace” in your cartoon which is a “hot button” issue with those on the “other” side. And he probably didn’t get the rock, paper, scissors because you had to actually look at the “Cartoon” to see it.

    Looks like I’ll come crawling back to the Master with a few more gags in hand……No sales to Playboy, Harvard Business Review or NYer yet.

  23. ..by the way this cartoon did catch me by surprise and shook a laugh out of me. I was smiling first because the moderator was talking peace and no one in the world came to the table….which would be sad and true but not too funny, then I looked down to see the leaders of the disparate groups.

  24. haters gonna hate ( or so says the entire Palin family). perhaps it is from one of them? I figure that hate mail indicates you are doing somthing right. Keep up the good work!

  25. Dan,

    I actually laughed out loud at your comic yesterday; I typically don’t laugh at the Sunday comics, but yours was the only one I truly enjoyed! I think you should have just ignored the email. Some people can’t be happy for anything….keep up the good work!

  26. Wow — that guy is a little intense. Definitely a Family Circus type.

    Is it possible he didn’t notice the rock, paper, scissors? Maybe he’s not familiar with the concept, since there’s probably not an app for it.

    Did you notice how he won the argument? “Don’t respond. I don’t want it.” No matter what you say, he’s covering his ears. Actually, he will read it. Then he’ll give himself away by replying with an even angrier note.

    I’ve enjoyed your work for years. One of my favorites is the Superman/French Fries cartoon: “All this time I thought my weakness was kryptonite. Turns out it was French Fries all along.” Sadly, I can relate!

    Thank you for all the laughs!


  27. The very notion of “peace” is anathema to red-blooded anthropoids, especially hominids and chimpanzees. War is what we’ve always done, and it and warriors, whether treading a minefield or cavorting symbolically on a playing field, are to be celebrated. Down with peaceniks!

    • Seconded. My feeling is that it’s that offensive, lefty-liberal word “peace” that set him off.

      I LOL’d at the cartoon, considering it a Top 10%’er. The flags are that extra subtle touch, too.

  28. First, your cartoon is wonderful, dripping with irony and it speaks to the reality of peace treaties and negotiations in our world today. Clearly you’ve hit a nerve in your correspondent but just what it is is not clear. But I could imagine a lifetime career spent as a nameless, faceless functionary within some diplomatic corp or other enterprise, where the understood but always unacknowleged end result is failure would make a person, like your correspondent feel bitter, frustrated, hopeless. I could imagine one or two or three tours of duty spent in an unwinnable war and a return home that seems unwelcoming, dismissive, unhelpful, ungrateful could make a person like your correspondent feel small and useless. I could imagine a person who has lost faith in themselves in their community in their country lashing out in frustration like this. Clearly you seem to have a facility for expressing yourself and your points of view which gains you a lot of attention, admiration and seemingly substantial remuneration. The perceived contrast between your situation and your correspondent’s is no doubt a tough one for them to swallow. Hate mail is one way to describe it but what it also seems to me to be is an unrecognized, in your correspondent, cry for help. “Don’t respond.” seems to be an attempt to exert some sense of control, which of course wasn’t the end result since you’ve responded in the way you have. “I don’t want it” seems to me to really mean “I need acknowledgement. I need help”

    Maybe this is all ammateurish psychobabble on my part and I have no idea whether it elucidates anything. What you probably already understand is that when you get responses like you do from people like your correspondent you know you are on the right track, that your work is doing what it is meant to do, which is to say to stir up thinking and controversy and discourse. Bravo, well done. Keep on doing it as long as you can.

  29. I’ m with Kristoff, except the reason he doesn’t want you to reply is because he feels he has a ‘win’ because he has already decided that you will ignore him. There are a lot of angry, small people out there to choose from. It ‘s a lazy trait. Lazy because it takes effort to change your life for the better or go out and try to make the world a better place or be creative. It is so much easier to just spew out hate from a fake email address, live in your parents basement and plaster hate on the Internet.

  30. The best explanation of the Troll Mentality I have ever seen is encapsulated by John Cleese in his little essay on Extremism, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLNhPMQnWu4. These poor yutzes simply have no other way to feel good about themselves, and the anonymity of the internet allows them to suppress any societal conventions such as compassion or civility.

  31. As with all of ur cartoons (that I’m swift enough to “get”), this was SO funny!! And I REALLY didn’t “get” the hate mail comment!!!!

  32. I would wager that he’s quite lonely, as evidenced by his “oh so obvious” reverse psychology ploy of asking you not to respond. He really is hoping you’ll respond, so he has justification to spew more vitriol on you.

  33. Reflecting on the brief content of his message, it seems evident that the following statement holds true:

    “Profanity is the effort of a feeble mind to express itself forcefully.”

    On the other hand, perhaps he felt a certain lack of presence at the Paper-Rock-Scissors summit, as he represents the Godzilla breakaway faction…..which of course shits on everything else, unless Godzilla wanted to eat the aforementioned all-inclusive “elses”.

    Then again, maybe he’s just an brain-dead, shit-for-brains redneck whose parents were related in the first degree.

  34. In early infancy, hate mail guy was abandoned by his parents at the door step of an off-broadway comedy club where comics took him in and routinely made him the object of their humor.

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