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The Column

Birth of a Hate Mail Archive
3/27/05

The most common piece of hate mail I get is something to the effect of "you're such a loser." This coming from people who spend their day crafting letters to someone who doesn't care about what they're saying.

Hate mail doesn't get to me. It did when I first started receiving it. See, I received it, I just didn't get it. I used to want the whole world to like me. But the more people I meet, the more I realize that there are some people who I don't want in my corner.

I will never understand the mindset that makes someone send hate mail. And I don't mean a letter disagreeing with a statement or arguing a point. I encourage that; we were raised as a society to voice our differences, and while some people's differences are based on a culture of ignorance and inbreeding, I still respect our ability to voice them. What I will never understand are those words that come out of stupidity, say nothing valid, and read like they're written by a fourth-grader recently left back for having the reading level of a first-grader. But Ashlee Simpson aside, I also don't understand most hate mail. (Oh, snap!)

I get several letters each week telling me I'm not funny. What a waste of time. Is this really going to accomplish anything?

"Well, my book sales are at an all time high, I'm playing to bigger crowds, and I just won an award as one of the best new comics in the business. But this guy who can't seem to spell 'Steve' doesn't think I'm funny. I guess I should retire. And change my name to Stve."

Not everyone is going to find me funny, I accept that. The vast majority of the world doesn't think I'm funny. In fairness, that could be due to many people not knowing how to speak English. Still, I'm not funny to everyone. But if we all wrote letters to everyone we didn't find funny, we'd have no time to do anything else. Though if we did and if there was justice in the world, Larry The Cable Guy's mailbox would look like that kid's locker in the pop tarts commercial.

A phrase I read sometimes is "don't quit your day job." This is even more pointless, since I don't have a day job. And the people who write this most commonly have a day job that includes playing Splinter Cell in their mother's basement.

I get called a sellout sometimes, which is curious since it's been years since I took money for something I didn't believe in. And that was a summer job. Taking money for something you're passionate about doesn't mean you're a sellout – it means you've sold up. In the meantime, the people calling me a sellout are pushing Moons Over My Hammy at Denny's for $5.50 an hour.

There are many reasons hate mail doesn't bother me. The first one is that anger shows I'm making a difference in the world. Which is ironically the opposite of what these vitriolic letters are intended for, since they are actually validating my writing. And something important for me to remember is that these people's hatred has nothing to do with me. When someone writes me hate mail of the "you suck" nature, it's because they're currently failing at something, or their mother didn't hug them enough, or their uncle hugged them too much. So to those who write me such letters (assuming you have the mental wherewithal to have read this far), please recognize that your problem is not with me. Your problem is with you.

But most importantly, my hate mail makes me laugh. I laugh at the spelling, the liberal use of expletive, and the idea that this person has actually made it this far in life without getting beaten to death. If you're curious, I posted an archive of some of my favorite hate mail on SteveHofstetter.com – I'd print it here, but this column runs in family newspapers.

I will, however, share my all-time favorite hate mail with you. When Atlanta Braves pitcher John Rocker was quoted saying some racist things in Sports Illustrated, my brother and I wrote some columns blasting him. One reader wrote:

THE REASON YOU WRITE ABOUT OTHER PEOPLES LIVES IS BECAUSE YOU HAVE NONE OF YOUR OWN. LOSERS!

YOU PEOPLE EAT MY (edited for family newspapers) JOHN ROCKER RULES YOU ARE JUST JELOUSE OF HIM BECAUSE HE IS GOOD LOOKING AND HAS A GTREAT SENSE OF HUMOOR YOU WANT TO BE LIKE HIM. HE JUST TELLS THE TRUTH AND I SEE THAT THIS SITE IS MADE BY YOU SMELLY NEW YORK PEOPLE YOU ARE PROVING JOHN ROCKER RIGHT. ROCKER FOR PRESIDENT BETTER YET KING!

What choice did we have but to respond?

"Your caps lock key seems to be on," we wrote. "Your ignorant racist moron key is also stuck."

Archives
*Kings vs. Sports Illustrated
*Paris Hilton is No Mother Theresa
*Putting the "Fan" in "Fanatic"
*Thinking Man: Happy New Year
*Jewzapalooza
*I'm Listening
*Punky Brewster Scares Me
*Don't Get Smart With Me
*Checking Out a Check Up
*Yeah, Thanks
*Steve Hofstetter is Your Friend
*Post Halloween Wrap-Up
*My Letter to Me
*The Night the Heat Went Off
*Turn That Crap Off
*You Might Be a Redhead If
*To My Future Children
*Shine Your Shoes, Mista?
*Flying Forward
*DotCom Dating Dish
*Paging Paige Page
*Watch While You Eat
*You Have Got to Be Kidding Me
*Come Home, Rachel I. K'Benjamin
*Get Out Of My Bathroom
*Subway Going Under
*Driving Forces
*Singles Anonymous
*Know When to Fold Em
*The Mirth of America
*Also Known As
*Smooth Criminal
*What That Mass Email Really Said
*Dude, Where's Your Car?
*Thinking Man: Can't We All
*You Might Be a Redneck
*A Nice Hawaiian Punch
*100,000 Friends
*Mine is Bigger Than Yours
*Good Answer
*T Stands for Terrible
*I Love You Guys
*Mitch, All Gone
*Birth of a Hate Mail Archive
*Never Do Today What...Ooh, Shiny
*Can You Hear Me Now?
*Fast Food, Slow Digestion
*Homeland Security, Eh?
*Quality Training Purposes
*The Show Went On
*Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?
*Putting My Foot Down
*Breaking the Chain Mail
*Happy Valmochrismaweenygiving
*Mr. Clean's Illegitimate Brother
*The Quest For 10,000 Friends
*Forgetting Paris
*Magnetically Challenged
*New Year's at the Barefoot Boogie
*Instant Carma's Gonna Get Me
*The Biggest Loser
*Steve vs. Kentucky
*Gone in a Flash
*How to Destroy Your Car
*Ghouls, Goblins, and Candidates
*My Freedom From Your Freedom
*Drive Unto Others
*Please Don't See This Movie
*I Love The Clip Shows
*Column of Atonement
*Happy Anniversary, Sugarhill
*Life, 9/11, and the Interstate
*Your Band Sucks
*Spending Wisely
*The Blind Dating the Blind
*Grilled Cheese With a Side of Hip Hop
*The Drive to 25
*Are You There Margaret? It's Me, God.
*Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House
*Seacrest! Out!
*Harder Than You Think
*Glad To Be Here
*Thought for Food
*Feeding the Meter
*She's Ready For Her Close Up
*Paging John Hughes
*Excusing America's Gas Problem
*Extra, Extra, Extra Long Time
*The Finals Countdown
*Your Friends and Mine
*The Future Mrs. Bueller
*Toasting Not Toasting
*A Tall Order
*Snaking Your Engine
*My Hair is the Color of Tomato Soup
*The Solace System
*You Say Potato
*It’s Getting Less Cold in Here
*This is Not a Virus
*Pitchers and Catchers
*Another Night Not at the Movies
*Higher and Higher
*To Write A Wrong
*They Call it Super for a Reason
*Imagine All the People
*Lost Wages, Nevada
*This Just In
*Why Are All My Stands Red?
*For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls
*Silent One Day Sale, Holy One Day Sale
*I Want To Be That Guy
*Felicity Doesn't Always Mean Happiness
*That Time of Year
*My Cranberry Sauce Looks like a Can
*The Legend of Fat Dead Steve
*Two Beldings in One Building
*Happy Halloween From Happy Valley
*Three Stations and Nothing On
*15 Shots of Nostalgia
*Here's To the Dancing Guy
*Teaching an Old Dog New Sticks
*If You Could Choose Just One Dumb Question...
*Obligatory Pun on The Word Tired
*I've Grown Accustomed to Your Wet Nose
*What Do You Want For Your Birthday?
*What a Long, Strange Trip
*Open Letter to My UPS Man
*That Better Be Your Foot
*The Abandoned Lot is Always Greener
*Putting Down the Pieces
*Take One Down, Pass It Around
*Here, You Throw This Away
*Being Green at the Box Office
*Who Wears Short Shorts?
*America is an Okay Place to Be
*You Can't Stop the Rain
*Don't Feed the Alpha Males
*Don’t Sweat It
*The Special Plate Blues
*You Deserve It
*The Return to Popcopy
*They're Real, and They're Spectacular
*Keeping Your Prom Misses
*Guerillas in Our Midst
*That Weird No Bread Holiday
*The Ballad of the Buttless
*Something About Being Twenty-Something
*Have You Seen My Cell Phone?
*War, Huh, Yeah, What Is It Good For?
*Leggo My Ego
*I'm a Spazz, You're a Spazz
*Can I Please Keep My Pants?
*Engaged in Conversation
*Welcome to PopCopy
*Hold Me Closer, Tiny Bathroom
*My Two-Bedroom Furbee
*All’s Fare in Love and Daytona
*Open? Shut Them
*I Am Everyday Pimple
*Here Comes the Judge Show
*When, Praytell, Were The Days of Auld Lang Syne?
*What Are You Up To This Weekend?
*The Waiting is the Hardest Part
*A Night Not at the Movies
*Funny, You Don’t Look Flu-ish
*Does This Baby Come With Airbags?
*When The Hogan Family Was Still Valerie
*Blue (Haired) Tuesday
*In Loco Parents
*Moving Is Like A Vaccuum: It Sucks
*Thou Shalt Not Save the World and Get the Girl
*Like Oil and Stuff That Hates Oil
*How to Get Hatemail
*Fungi, Octopi, What’s the Plural of Bus? (Part I
*Fungi, Octopi, What’s the Plural of Bus? (Part I
*It Happens to the Best of Us
*Talking To A Piece of Junk Mail
*When You Can’t See the Forest for the Trees
*ICFS Disorder and Celebrity Kid Growth
*Electricity and Other Things They Cut Off
*When Pigeons Fly
*Goodbye, New York, Goodbye
*La La La-la La La, Sing a Happy Song
*What To Do at Work Besides Work
*Why is This Column Different From All Others?