Thursday, June 20, 2019

The Era of Contempt V


Five Butterflies, by Wenceslaus Hollar (1646) Metropolitan Museum of Art 
    
     A lepidopterist is, as any Nabokov fan knows, a butterfly collector. It is fitting that the colorful stationery bearing Alan P. Leonard's latest missive to this column has butterflies on it. Because I always think of myself as a lepidopterist when it comes to processing hateful mail. I try to bring a connoisseur's discernment to their ravings, a protective measure to keep the poison within from raising a welt on my delicate mental skin. I net the odious thing, put it carefully in the killing bottle, using tongs, then pin the little corpse to a board and admire its patterns, its grotesque variegation. 
      We met Mr. Leonard last year, with three emails I dubbed "The Era of Contempt."  As with the one below, they were informed by fear of those whose sexuality is at variance with his. 
     You may find them herehere and here, if you are so inclined. 
     They proved decidedly popular, as freak shows often do.
     Then two months ago, he was back, with a racist screed decrying the looks of Michelle Obama (an revulsive scrap of classic 1859 bigotry that one just doesn't expect to see expressed publicly by someone proudly signing his name. A shocking anachronism, like finding a child with rickets).
      This one, as he makes clear, is in reaction to my June 10 column about Boston's idiotic "Straight Pride" parade. The twist is that he doesn't sign his name, perhaps forgetting that he has written four times before, with the same stationery and his distinctive block printing. 
      As before, I paused, wondering if it were somehow cruel to share Mr. Leonard's thoughts, to stretch the term. The man is afraid, as haters are at core. A shameful fear he has to share, trying to alleviate it. The usual terror of his correspondence ratcheted up a notch as, for the first time, he signs his letter with a nom de guerre, "A normal person." As if it were normal to write anonymous notes to newspaper columnists, venting your bile and your sexual insecurity.
     Which it sorta is, sadly. But still. I don't have to take the bait. Isn't posting the letter itself a minor cruelty? "When battling monsters," as Nietzsche reminds us, "make sure not to become a monster."
     Perhaps. But if so, it is cruelty with a higher purpose. It is not monstrous to print a letter sent to a newspaper, nor to note that hatred is an acid that, increasingly, eats up the possessor more than the object. I believe airing it is therapeutic, if not for him, obviously, at least for us. Don't be like this.
    And lest we feel too superior, lest we chuckle too much, remember this: these are the people running our country now. These are the people we let take charge.




  

14 comments:

  1. A padded cell awaits for him and watch your back, Mr. S.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Does A Normal Person know that His Glorious President actually has no issues with gay marriage or the use of bathrooms matching their gender identity by people who are transgender?. Yep check out his comments on Elton John and his husband or which bathroom at his club Caitlin Jenner should use. . Well of course he doesn’t know that because Our Most Unglorious President is a craven narcissist who will pander to all who are willing to turn a blind eye to the facts and willing to implement policies that harm others even if he has no personal animus torwards them just to ensure his followers keep their devotion to him. But don’t worry too much A Normal Person. Our MUP really does hate Black Hispanic and Muslim people so he’s all in with you on that.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Poor Mister L
    confined to his box
    nobody poked holes his lid

    ReplyDelete
  4. The scary thing is there are thousands (millions?) more that think like him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not merely scary. Terrifying and beyond mind-boggling.

      Delete
  5. "Our Glorious President." As Neil likes to say from time to time, "You can't make this stuff up."

    john

    ReplyDelete
  6. What's interesting, to me anyway, is that he refers to gay people as "God's mistakes." Is he saying God made them that way? My understanding was that people like him thought gay people choose to be gay, for some inscrutable reason, and that they could become heterosexual through a simple act of will.

    Oh well, who the hell knows what these people think. Or cares, really. You don't know or care what a cockroach thinks; you just notice them when there are so many of them that they affect your life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. “Interesting” is not the adjective I would use here. There’s no sense trying to “figure out” what a mentally unbalanced person means. What concerns me more is this guy singling out a particular person to communicate his bizarre thoughts with. On pretty stationery, which makes it even more bizarre.
      Ignoring him is the best way to handle this IMO.

      Delete
    2. He's undoubtedly one of those "Pray Away The Gay" folks, who think a change is gonna come...through becoming a devotee of evangelicalism and Jay-zus. or via conversion therapy...maybe shock treatments like back in the Fifties. Look at gay porn, get zapped...and eventually you stop looking...and feeling.

      MLB has a policy that keeps ballclubs from televising stupidity at their venues. When some clown runs onto the field of play, the cameras will not show it. Maybe that's what this asshat needs. Stop posting his rantings and ravings, and maybe he'll quit writing and sending them. Does he even know they are being shown? Of course he does!

      And it only encourages him to send more, like turning the cameras on streakers and crazies did at ballgames. Perhaps he's so far over the edge that he's going to keep on doing it anyway, no matter what. I have to wonder about that slip of the pen: "Meat" Frankenstein? Some of the biggest homophobes have turned out to be closeted cases. Especially in Washington.

      Delete
    3. I hope posting them encourages him. HIs letters get far more reader interest than my posts do. The Internet loves psychos, which helps explain our current political mess. I'd put him on salary if I could.

      Delete
  7. I have a Trump voting uncle who says Grace religiously, always ending with "Keep Jesus in our hearts forever." He obviously sees something Christ-like in Trump, like Alan. That both can compartmentalize their prejudices and faith is why I have none of the latter and try to eliminate the former when I find it in myself.

    ReplyDelete
  8. "God's Mistakes?" I thought religious nutters like Mr. Leonard believed that god was perfect and therefore unable to make mistakes. At least try to keep the crazy consistent.

    ReplyDelete
  9. We are better off knowing those who want to hurt others. Not only is their weakness and fear on display but their ignorance of the facts as well

    ReplyDelete
  10. I can't think of something more gay than the paper he's writing his bile on. He's just a self loathing closeted gay person. Mr. Leonard, it's time for you to come out of your closet. If you're God is so great, she'll love you never the less.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comment, which will be published at the discretion of the proprietor.