November 10, 2005

Two things that came in the mail this morning.

1. The book "Drama Kings: The Men Who Drive Strong Women Crazy," by Dalma Heyn. I might take a look at that (not that anyone's driving me crazy). I'll tell you later.

2. A typed letter:
Prof. Ann,

I read with dismay your 11/6/05 column in the Journal/Sentinel on Bush and Alito.

I concluded that during the past 56 years my alma mater must have slipped considerably.

I hope that the extent of your teaching duties consists solely of teaching Tiddle-winks to over-pampered fraternity and sorority students.

The problem with Roberts and Alito is that while they may have been born with good brains; the poor devils have no hearts. Unfortunately, Bush has neither!
He added in handwriting:
And he is a damn liar!!

36 comments:

Dave said...

And the relationship between the University of Wisconsin and your opinion on Alito is???

What a moron.

I hate the logic of these people, wherein the opinion of an employee of an organization serves as a proxy for the organization as a whole.

Nels said...

What's with the slam against fraternities and sororities?

paulfrommpls said...

Still, you have to give him credit for carefully analyzing your views and describing in detail where they don't add up. (I'm assuming he did that and just forgot to include it in the letter.)

bill said...

The personal letter is such a lost art, good to see someone still at it. Though the modern use of Google would have shown that tiddlewinks is not hyphenated; but I quibble...a dictionary would have been useful, too.

The handwritten afterword is a nice Martha Stewart touch.

Ron said...

please, please, please let's not start a fad of snail mail trolling! Good God, that would be annoying! and no email/snail mail trolling combos, either! "In 7 to 10 days, you're going to get such a diss...until then, suffer!"

Dave said...

"The handwritten afterword is a nice Martha Stewart touch."

LOL.

AJ Lynch said...

A typed letter- must have been kinda nostalgic to get one of those.

Do you think the letterwriter typed it themselves? After all, he/she has to be almost 80 years old!

Lastly, do you prefer typed letters vs. blog comments / are you giving us all a subtle hint?

Knemon said...

"What's with the slam against fraternities and sororities?"

I think you're on to something ... speaking as a nerd myself, lots of politics seems to come down to people who got swirlies in high school vs. those who gave them.

P.S. Isn't it TiddlYwinks?

Ann Althouse said...

Yes, he's got to be quite old, so I guess I'm safe making fun of him on the web.

I've posted the letter on my office door too. I almost never have anything posted on my door (unlike a lot of people around here), so this is a very unusual honor.

Nels: I agree. I thought the most offensive thing about the letter was the disrespect for young people who join fraternities and sororities. When I went to college, it was very much the thing to look down on such folk. We hippie types were certain such institutions would crumble in the next year or so.

The letter is quite neatly typed. And you've got to give him credit for taking the trouble to use a semi-colon.

Harkonnendog said...

Lol. I read typed letter and pictured a black and white Jimmy Stewart movile.

vbspurs said...

I hate the logic of these people, wherein the opinion of an employee of an organization serves as a proxy for the organization as a whole.

Yeah! What he said.

Although, OTOH, it's quite true that when you see what kind of people in your organisation (Jason Blair/NYT), it certainly doesn't reflect well, and should be an obvious correlation of quality.

P.S.: LOL at Martha Stewart remark.

Cheers,
Victoria

Dave said...

"And you've got to give him credit for taking the trouble to use a semi-colon."

Are you implying that today's students don't know how to use a semicolon; if you are then his assertion about the quality of the University of Wisconsin stands, no?

(Inappropriate use of semicolon intentional.)

vbspurs said...

What's with the slam against fraternities and sororities?

I once dated an ├╝ber-progressive from Middlebury College (in my salad days!).

You know how we broke up? I called him a "frat boy" in jest one day.

You don't have to be a progressive to dislike frats and sororities, but it seems the Greek system's collectivist thought, the actions they spawn are not to some collectivists' liking.

And it very much seems this geezer (56 years??) might have a similar bone to pick with the Tri-Delts.

Cheers,
Victoria

Dave said...

vbspurs: There's a difference between Ann writing an opinion about Alito and Jayson Blair's representation of larger problems at the New York Times. No one has said that Althouse has plagiarized anything or made stories out of whole cloth; if she were then, perhaps, that would reflect poorly on the University of Wisconsin.

Put it another way: if one were a Microsoft employee, and one published an editorial saying "Google is a piece of crap!" it would be wrong to infer anything about Microsoft from such an opinion. On the other hand, if one were a Microsoft employee, and one was accused of raping one's co-worker on Microsoft's property, another could quite properly infer that there are larger problems at Microsoft than the individual's action.

Wow, I sound like a lawyer.

Bob_Minn said...

Well I think the letter is swell...snarky, but not overly abusive, with shades of humor. And the gentleman took the effort to write it and send it. Congrats on posting it!

I'm just amazed that anyone still reads the Journal/Sentinel...now THAT'S news. The last article I recall reading was in 1979, when the then-Journal predicted that oil would run out by the year 2000. (And yes, it was a "news" piece.) Does anyone know if that came true? (No offense to being published there, Ann.)

HaloJonesFan said...

Make sure to add a note mentioning that you didn't add the handwriting yourself; otherwise people will think it's a comment by you.

(this post was written solely for the purpose of using a semicolon.)

vbspurs said...

Added in handwriting:

And he is a damn liar!!


What kind of handwriting did he have? Was it legible or chicken-scratch?

Was it written in pen or pencil -- red, blue, black?

Tangentially, I really find it both amusing but oft-creepy when I open a public library book, and find someone has written in margins some comment, like these real-life remarks I remember.

They are sometimes light-hearted:

"This book sucks!" (Da Vinci Code)

Sometimes corrective:

"NO. ROSEMARY WAS LOBOTOMIZED" (JFK bio)

Sometimes creepy:

"The Jews. It's always the bleeping Jews" (Greenspan bio)

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Wow, I sound like a lawyer.

Good job! You convinced this juror.

Cheers,
Victoria

Undercover Christian said...

He removes the letter from the typewriter, grabs his coat off the rack, and charges out the door to the post office. One there he buys a stamped envelope, folds the letter, puts the letter inside, but just as he is licking the flap he thinks of something! He takes the letter back out of the envelope, carefully unfolds it, takes the pen that is attached to the post office counter by a chain, and writes, "And he is a damn liar!!" With great self-satisfaction he folds the letter back up, inserts it into the envelope, seals the envelope, and mails it. "Hmph!" And for the rest of the day he feels six inches taller.

Henry said...

And he is a damn liar!!

Who is the liar? Roberts, Bush or Alito?

And what about the under-pampered fraternity and sorority students? Who teaches them tiddlewinks?

me said...

Why did the first repliers assume the letter writer was a he? Just from reading it, it sounded like a querulous grandma. But, since Ann wrote that the writer was a he, I suppose it was.:)

Mom said...

I would give him no credit for using a semicolon -- he used it wrong. When a semicolon joins two related thoughts in this way, each half of the joined sentence is supposed to be a complete sentence. Here, the first half isn't a sentence.

English instruction at his alma mater must have started slipping longer ago than he thinks.

Also, I agree with Knemon -- it's tiddlywinks.

SippicanCottage said...

Well, I guess he told you. That'll learn you. Consider yourself told.

Murph said...

Victoria,

"Was it written in pen or pencil -- red, blue, black?"

My first thought was to ask what color of crayon he used.

Pogo said...

His could have been a pleasant enough letter, as disagreement is always permitted. It's not unreasonable to express dismay when someone espouses views contrary to one's own.

But then, oh, the snarkiness.
The alma mater has "slipped considerably." And he hopes you just teach "Tiddle-winks to over-pampered fraternity and sorority students."
Oh. My.

And then, the crushing blows: Of Alito and Roberts: "the poor devils have no hearts", and neither does Bush (that "damn liar").

Gosh. Did UW Madison grads really used to learn to argue this poorly? The alma mater must have improved considerably since then. And "Tiddle-winks"? The faux British act is a bit twee, dear.

Wasteland Fan said...

Ann, will you please post a picture of the letter on your door?

Brendan said...

The alma mater has "slipped considerably."

Guess she won't be happy 'til the faculty is comprised of 100% registered Democrats--which ain't too far off, btw. Also explains why they haven't received a cent of my money since I graduated.

Ann Althouse said...

Mom: Good point about misusing the semicolon. Don't know why I put a hyphen in it in my previous comment!

Aaron said...

Marketing people use a sliding scale for how many people are represented by any comment sent to such folks as Prof. Althouse. For instance they may assume the person who writed in to say "You Rock" may represent 1,000 folks who feel the same but don't bother contacting anyone about it. With each increase in inconvenience the number of folks assumed to feel the same way goes up. In rising levels of inconvenience a blog comment must be the lowest, then an email, phone call, fax, and then the gold standard: a mailed letter. This fellow may represent as many people as all the posative posters here. Tiddlywinks may be the democratic choice for your best teaching subject.

wildaboutharrie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
vbspurs said...

Mom: Good point about misusing the semicolon. Don't know why I put a hyphen in it in my previous comment!

Mama Althouse puts in an appearance?

Heya -- your daughter is off the hook!

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Murph, no response from the cagey Professor if it was crayon, pen, pencil or anything.

Since that was a pretty weird postscript gesture, I'll just guess it was a spidery hand written in violet ink.

One gets the sense the person was just about to post it.

But at the last minute said to himself, "I didn't make it clear enough; I'll just add 'and he's a damn liar!'. There. That'll learn her."

Note the use of the semi-colon -- to conform to the trend in this thread.

Resistance is futile. You will be Althouse-assimilated.

Cheers,
Victoria

Ann Althouse said...

Victoria: "Mom" is just the commenters nickname, not my mother. My parents are no longer alive.

And it was just ordinary blue ballpoint pen and ordinary writing.

Frank Borger said...

I'm reminded of a quote attributed to Winston Churchill.

"A young man who is not a liberal has no heart. An old man who is not a conservative has no brain."

I leave it as an excercise for the students to apply the above to the letter writer.

knoxgirl said...

did he add: "By crackey!" too?

vbspurs said...

Victoria: "Mom" is just the commenters nickname, not my mother. My parents are no longer alive.

Ack. :(

My deepest condolences, Ann. I had no idea.

And it was just ordinary blue ballpoint pen and ordinary writing.

Ah well. There goes my Ploopygirl theory.

Cheers,
Victoria