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Sat Jan 24, 2015, 12:22 AM

Who Says Small Town Life Has to Be Dull?

Slightly interesting (?) matter here.

There's a man in town who for at least the last couple years has been writing hateful letters to the editor of the local weekly about one person and another by name. A lot of people in town are starting to consider him downright unbalanced, as do I. He responded to one of my political letters that had nothing to do with him by a jolly little piece he titled "SCREAMING HYENAS OF SOCIALISM!" Plus a lot of other incredibly ugly things, down to and including describing me as "little". Well, I am but not the way he meant it.
He hurt so many people's feelings that I finally sent a letter advising others to follow my example of checking signatures before reading letters in order to know which ones to avoid - the ones from the (unnamed) 'town bully' who falsely imagines himself a satirist. After all, I said, there's no sharper stick you can poke in his eye.

Well, it's a miracle nobody's sued him or the paper or come to blows, it's been that bad. I don't get my feelings hurt as they do because I don't give a tinker's damn what he says about me. One guy, however, wrote in complaining that his wife had dissolved in tears. So it's not a question of if but when the lid blows somewhere.

Today I accidentally broke my promise, though, by not checking before I read what looked like an ad framed as a Western Union telegram. By the time I guessed who must've written it, I'd already gone too far to stop. Not that I'll let anyone here know I read it, especially not him.

So here for your amusement is the short text involved. No, he doesn't dare use my name anymore but he saves his special 'socialist hyena' tag just for me so everyone knows who he means. I guess after years of vomiting bile he didn't appreciate being referred to sideways as a town bully who should be ignored!

The text of his faux-telegram:

"PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT - URGENT - SITED (sic) IN (name of town) VICINITY - BULLIED, JACKASS KICKED, SKUNKBIT SOCIALIST HYENA! SERIOUSLY PISSED; POSSIBLE CAUSE - RECENT ELECTION RESULTS! BE ON THE LOOKOUT - DANGEROUS AND MEAN. CAN BE OBSERVED CONTINUOUSLY SPITTING INTO THE WIND! IF SPOTTED, APPROACH WITH CAUTION! SIGNED, PUBLIC SERVANT / HIS NAME." (paid advertisement)

So I guess the editor/publisher of the paper finally refused to print a letter, and he's infamous for printing ANYTHING. Not that he should've taken the ad either, but that's beside the point. Nothing good will ever come of letting that nut run roughshod over half the town. If I had Irish relatives anywhere around, Mr. Bully Nut would've been taken behind the woodshed long ago. The editor/publisher has already said he's been threatened with arson.

I think I'll resist writing any more letters for a few weeks to let this play itself out absent my participation. At worst in a month or so I might write a little piece about teabagger mentality, backing it up with quotes from scientific journals, and noting that one of their most notable characteristics is poor spelling, such as using 'sited' (a non-word btw) instead of 'sighted'. If I ended with the expression "Morans!" they wouldn't catch the full meaning. But they would know to whom I referred, and so would he.

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Arrow 30 replies Author Time Post
Reply Who Says Small Town Life Has to Be Dull? (Original post)
IrishAyes Jan 2015 OP
LineReply !
DeSwiss Jan 2015 #1
dixiegrrrrl Jan 2015 #2
IrishAyes Jan 2015 #3
Tobin S. Jan 2015 #4
IrishAyes Jan 2015 #9
lovemydog Jan 2015 #5
rurallib Jan 2015 #6
IrishAyes Jan 2015 #20
cwydro Jan 2015 #8
IrishAyes Jan 2015 #11
pipi_k Jan 2015 #7
IrishAyes Jan 2015 #12
kentauros Jan 2015 #10
IrishAyes Jan 2015 #13
kentauros Jan 2015 #14
IrishAyes Jan 2015 #15
kentauros Jan 2015 #17
RebelOne Jan 2015 #19
IrishAyes Jan 2015 #21
IrishAyes Jan 2015 #23
No Vested Interest Jan 2015 #27
IrishAyes Jan 2015 #28
IrishAyes Jan 2015 #16
Tobin S. Jan 2015 #18
IrishAyes Jan 2015 #24
hunter Jan 2015 #21
mackerel Jan 2015 #25
IrishAyes Jan 2015 #26
Manifestor_of_Light Jan 2015 #29
IrishAyes Jan 2015 #30

Response to IrishAyes (Original post)

Sat Jan 24, 2015, 12:31 AM

1. !

 

- It's not the country, it's the people in the country......

''It is my belief, Watson, founded upon my experience, that the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside."

~Sherlock Holmes, in "The Copper Beeches"

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Response to IrishAyes (Original post)

Sat Jan 24, 2015, 01:13 AM

2. Our lil town voted to go wet in 2004.

So there are dry towns and wet towns in the same county.

The battle over the issue was so intense, that today some people are STILL mad about the vote, and let you know how they feel at the drop of a hat.

That issue is what led the weekly paper to stop printing letters to the editor.
( It's a Repub. paper).

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #2)

Sat Jan 24, 2015, 01:36 AM

3. 'Our' small town weekly is a Republican rag too.

Since the editor/publisher detests the Tea Party, seeing it correctly as a danger to the GOP, and he seems to be doing little if anything to protect himself from arson and/or litigation, I tend to think he's so desperate to create buzz to sell more papers. These days are very hard on print 'journalism'.

I also believe he's playing with fire.

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Response to IrishAyes (Original post)

Sat Jan 24, 2015, 06:39 AM

4. We live in a town of about 40,000. Probably not as small as yours, but still small.

My wife and her mom and aunts love to gossip, and between that, Facebook, and a scanner they've got everyone in this town pegged. My mother-in-law defends herself by saying that they don't say anything that isn't true.

It sounds like you've got gossip being played out in your local paper.

I'm not originally from a small town. I moved here when I met my wife four years ago as this is her home town. It sometimes seems like there are two kinds of people living here: those who do stuff and those who talk about those who do stuff. My mother-in-law, for example, would never do anything to get herself gossiped about but will talk endlessly about what everyone else is doing.

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Response to Tobin S. (Reply #4)

Sat Jan 24, 2015, 02:26 PM

9. This town is the seat of one of the least populated counties in the Midwest.

Well qualified for PHC talent contests reserved for those from towns of under 2K. A lot of regional maps don't even list it! But the few remaining people elsewhere in the region call it the 'Big Town' because some of the others have as few as 6. Not 6K - just plain old 6.

One of the Allman brothers once got conned into a concert on the town square because he was passing through anyway. Some rich guy offered him a huge sum to play at an event the next day too, and Allman (I used to know which one) said there wasn't enough $ in the world to make him even stay overnight here.

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Response to IrishAyes (Original post)

Sat Jan 24, 2015, 08:13 AM

5. This guy sounds dangerous to me.

Can you just write a good article, like an op-ed piece that doesn't mention him at all? I mean, no innuendo against him whatsoever? The reason I suggest that is because 1) antagonizing him is probably not a good thing since he sounds seriously unbalanced and perhaps dangerous (the arson threat against the editor) and you don't want to bring anything violent on, and 2) taking the higher ground by writing about something you enjoy (it can definitely be political though) might also be better because it shows he doesn't phase you, and you may get some other in the town enjoying your op-ed piece or letter.

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Response to lovemydog (Reply #5)

Sat Jan 24, 2015, 10:00 AM

6. I agree

I live in a small town also and have had threats from another citizen over politics. I went to the local police and discussed it. They agreed and for a time kept an eye on the guy - this was @ 10+ years ago. Some times things seems to pop easier in small towns - I guess because it is simply hard to avoid people.

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Response to rurallib (Reply #6)

Sat Jan 24, 2015, 11:39 PM

20. I'm glad the police at least helped you somewhat.

Here they just laugh it off and chide you for being a nervous nellie. Of course it would be different if one of their family happened to be getting death threats.

The only reason the crazy 80-yr-old bus driver never actually did anything to me (except file a false police report claiming I'd carried a gun on the bus and threatened people), even though he threatened my dogs as well, was because he was also more than a little scared of me. I let a rumor start that I had FBI contacts, and that helped awhile. But toward the end he grew convinced that I'm a REAL spell-casting witch and besides he was starting to have hallucinations. Must've been the drugs.

Oh, when I decided he was truly dangerous, I offered to pay his incontinent 85-yr-old girlfriend for a lock of his hair so I could make a potion. That must be where he got the witch idea.

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Response to lovemydog (Reply #5)

Sat Jan 24, 2015, 12:17 PM

8. I agree.

Ignoring people like this is the best course to take.

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Response to lovemydog (Reply #5)

Sat Jan 24, 2015, 02:55 PM

11. Points well taken.

I never even alluded to Bully Nut before the last letter when I advised others to ignore him and not read his crap, and even then I didn't use his name directly; yes, in part to insult him even more. His latest piece shows quite well that he was the one pissed off, not me because I truly don't care what he says about me. Which makes him even more furious. Like any nut, he enjoys when people write back describing how he hurt them and trying to reason with him as if he were decent and sane.

But he's always been this way even absent any chain jerking. Anything he sees he tries to savage, I think especially when people obviously ARE ignoring him. Which I shall continue to do as always except for that one time I described when it was still w/o using his name. I honestly think I'm in far less danger than the editor is, because virtually EVERYONE is furious with him for printing the guy's hateful crap. They probably don't give a rat's ass when I'm his target but they really hate it when it's them or theirs. The newspaper office sits right there on the town square like a sitting duck. If one of the many maligned don't sue or do something rash, Bully Nut IS rather likely to. But he'll take the obvious easy target. I'm seldom out and about at all.

Of course I don't want to provoke an incident where anyone gets hurt, even Bully Nut. But I'm not the driving force behind the drama either. All I'd have to do is say anything the least bit favorable toward any progressive in the world, or speak ever so mildly in favor of our policies, and Bully Nut would follow up with one of his screeds. The straw that breaks the camel's back will most likely fall when the editor refuses to print anything at all for Bully Nut no matter how big the ad revenue. But then that's a monster the editor fed to full size in order to sell papers.

I take comfort in one thing; if Bully Nut ever does show up at the paper with a gun or blowtorch, he might find himself outmatched. The editor knows better than I could what he's dealing with. His personal office sits in the back, out of sight from the street, and there's a big bell that rings when anyone opens the front door to the lobby. He won't be surprised that way. Another problem he faces, though, is the fact that he's on the town council that meets every month. Bully Nut could easily find him there.

As for 'safe' subjects for me to write about, there are none of interest to me that Bully Nut won't wig out about. Maybe he'll wind up like the bus driver we had here for the first 7 years of my residence. Talk about off the rails - he'd threaten outright to kill people and nobody ever did a thing about it except me (when I was the focus of his attention). Of course my complaints fell on deaf ears because everybody was terrified of him. He finally croaked - choked on his own bile, I suspect.

That's the best I can hope for. But I can't let him or anyone like him silence all freedom of expression. That would make me party to the evil.

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Response to IrishAyes (Original post)

Sat Jan 24, 2015, 11:54 AM

7. Wow, your small town nutcase

makes my small town nutcase look almost sane in comparison!


Where I live the weekly news publication covers a group of towns (The Hilltowns) in Western Mass.

There's been a longtime fight between one lady and a guy (via letters) that gets somewhat weird, but not as crazy as yours.

It's always either politics or religion with these two. Sometimes both at the same time.

Also, there's another town where a group of witches had started a small business some years ago that's taken off and become quite a booming enterprise.


http://www.beltanehill.com/


Some residents embrace the witch culture

Some don't, but they're not real vocal about it in public for fear that the witches will retaliate in some way (by putting spells on them? turning them into toads? who knows...)


anyway, yeah, living in a small town (about 1300 in mine) definitely isn't boring, and people find out a lot about each other through the grapevine that is the Town Dump. Wednesdays and Saturdays are social events here.




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Response to pipi_k (Reply #7)

Sat Jan 24, 2015, 03:01 PM

12. Wow. So 'my' town's not the only one this way??

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Response to IrishAyes (Original post)

Sat Jan 24, 2015, 02:41 PM

10. I doubt he knows that sited is a word, either,

and has nothing to do with his usage


site (v.)
"to give a location to, place," 1590s, from site (n.). Related: Sited; siting.


I only know it's a word through the use of mapping terminology.

Pin his letter to a local bulletin board for all to see

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Response to kentauros (Reply #10)

Sat Jan 24, 2015, 03:07 PM

13. It's probably too old fashioned of me, but I still resist using nouns as verbs or adjectives.

But that's just me. We could have a friendly English Majors squabble about it over a nice cuppa tea someday if you'd like. Though I suspect you have better things to do.

I like your idea about the bulletin board. There's one at the tiny little food market in town. Only everyone's probably already seen it since the paper does sell like hotcakes due to the excesses on the letters page. Didja know that LTE's are the most read section of any newspaper, even more so than sports?

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Response to IrishAyes (Reply #13)

Sat Jan 24, 2015, 09:42 PM

14. Oddly enough, I'm not an English major.

Drafting and Graphic Design, but because I changed majors several times (as well as schools), I had to take the basic college English class at least three times! I could do 5-paragraph themes in my sleep

I just have a renewed love for etymology, ever since that site came online

Didn't know that about newspapers, but it makes sense. It's what I usually look for in those offices where the newspaper is spread out in the break room (invariably, I have to dig for it because the sports and business sections are usually what's left on top of the pile.)

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Response to kentauros (Reply #14)

Sat Jan 24, 2015, 10:00 PM

15. There's an old saying in journalism,

Last edited Sat Jan 24, 2015, 11:48 PM - Edit history (1)

my other major, about the best way for a paper (especially in a small town) to ensure its survival: make sure everyone in town sees their own name in the paper at least once a year. People read the LTEs as much to be sure no one's gossiping about them as for any other reason. People here submit 'articles' to the regular news pages about their shopping trips to the nearest town of any size 60 miles away; their guests who came for coffee; and various little mishaps of great import to world peace and prosperity. When I worked on a weekly decades ago, they actually printed a story about a fellow hitting his thumb with a hammer. At least I didn't have to put my byline on it!

In 'our' local regional weekly, there's a thimbleful of actual news at best, nothing from over a hundred miles away. But loads of advertising, legal notices, baby pictures, hunter trophy stories, recipes, religious columns, coffee klatches, obits, etc. - and of course everyone's favorite, LTE. Most people are teabaggers and most of the remainder are afraid of them. One time I got a lavish thankyou/congratulations card for something I wrote, and it was unsigned. No return address either. Mailed from a town 85 miles away, probably by somebody from here on a shopping trip.

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Response to IrishAyes (Reply #15)

Sat Jan 24, 2015, 10:17 PM

17. Thanks for the insight on that

and I have been known to pick up small town papers just to see if there was anything interesting.

Kind of off-topic, but related. You know how every now and then we read of "free/low-cost wifi for all" either through local municipalities or even from the federal government? Well, I've had this idea in my head, developed over the years ever since I learned about telecommuting (always for others; never for me.) That if we ever did have such access to broadband/wifi the way other parts of the world do, that we just might see a revitalization of small towns. That's dependent, too, on businesses getting over their micromanaging fears and letting their office workers be virtual.

Such an outcome could see the strength of the teabaggers "watered down" in their own backyards

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Response to IrishAyes (Reply #15)

Sat Jan 24, 2015, 11:27 PM

19. It's survival or its survival?

If you had a major in journalism, you should know the difference. Sorry, but I am a former copy editor and it bugs me when I see its and it's used improperly.

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Response to RebelOne (Reply #19)

Sat Jan 24, 2015, 11:47 PM

21. Hoisted on my own petard again!

Did I do that? Most of the time I'm a world-class proofreader, especially of my own work; but sometimes - such as when I've been w/o running water for almost 3 weeks - stress and exhaustion get the better of me. Rest assured I actually DO know the difference, so hold your horses, mate; I'll fix that in a minute.

Everyone flubs now and then, even copy editors.

You would've loved the time I bragged on my dearest female acquaintance, calling her the world's best fiend. What a difference that little 'r' makes. Fortunately she had a sense of humor. Unless we're in Europe, where we'd spell that 'humour'.

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Response to RebelOne (Reply #19)

Sat Jan 24, 2015, 11:49 PM

23. There - all done. Friends again? Or must we be fiends?

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Response to IrishAyes (Reply #15)

Sun Jan 25, 2015, 09:55 PM

27. Your comment re "articles" submitted about guests, mishaps, shopping trips, etc.

reminds me of newspaper articles of 100 years ago that I've found doing genealogy research.

I've looked up my ancestors and their families in newspapers of 85 - 150 years past and connected such comments to my online family trees. These articles add a little "flesh and blood" to these past relatives who would otherwise just be distant names to those around today.

Perhaps, in another 100 years - though newspapers may be long gone- some people will refer back to these small-town weeklies for info on their ancestors - including the LTE bully.

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Response to No Vested Interest (Reply #27)

Mon Jan 26, 2015, 08:08 PM

28. I hadn't thought about that. Thanks.

Didn't know we might be doing a public service!

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Response to IrishAyes (Original post)

Sat Jan 24, 2015, 10:07 PM

16. A puzzling question just crossed my mind:

In Bully Nut's first diatribe against me, I was a 'SCREAMING HYENA OF SOCIALISM". Now I'm a 'jackass kicked, skunkbit socialist".

Have I moved up or down in the world?

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Response to IrishAyes (Reply #16)

Sat Jan 24, 2015, 10:18 PM

18. I would think that's it's better to be a human than a hyena

even if you are jackass kicked and skunkbit. By inference, it appears that his opinion of you may have improved.

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Response to Tobin S. (Reply #18)

Sat Jan 24, 2015, 11:51 PM

24. Oh... okay.

I was beginning to wonder if socialists are human or hyena myself. I get so easily confused these days.

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Response to IrishAyes (Original post)

Sat Jan 24, 2015, 11:47 PM

21. I've lived some time in communities of less than 4000 souls.

I'm always fairly gentle in those. Some of my internet communities are smaller than that.

I think my current "worth war with" in non-internet populations is about one in 250,000. School boards, County Supervisor meetings, that sort of thing.

On any internet community I choose to participate in, it's overall about two-point-five of posts I stumble upon and find disagreeable.

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Response to IrishAyes (Original post)

Sun Jan 25, 2015, 01:03 AM

25. Actually you'll find even in larger cities one or two freaks like this who write

letters to the editor ad-nauseam. It's just key board courage at work. What bullies hate most is being ignored.

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Response to mackerel (Reply #25)

Sun Jan 25, 2015, 01:33 AM

26. I figured that's what ticked him off the worst,

when I suggested to readers that they just stop reading his letters. Then I went from being a 'SCREAMING HYENA OF SOCIALISM!' to 'Jackass kicked, skunkbit socialist.' Still not sure whether I was promoted or demoted, but I'm sure he meant the latter.

(sigh) It's terrible to have to depend on RWNJs for validation, isn't it?

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Response to IrishAyes (Original post)

Tue Jan 27, 2015, 04:51 AM

29. our papers are useless fishwrap.

Lots of filler from preachers about God's Word, and a ton of right wing editorials. "Obama is Bad" tops the list. Everybody is supposed to be a particular flavor of right-wing protestant, Church of Christ or Baptist or conservative Methodist if you're affluent. Flag waving and gun toting and pickup driving.

I don't go to church, so I have no social life, and they just make crap up about us.

I once put up a sign on my fence that said "HATE IS NOT A FAMILY VALUE. IGNORANCE AND SUPERSTITION DON'T HELP EITHER".

The local rag called me up for an interview. I ignored it. I figured if they can't understand a bumper sticker slogan, as anti-intellectual as they are, trying to explain it would just make it worse.

So far I haven't been firebombed for having a large Obama sign in my yard under my huge magnolia tree that my grandmother planted, back in 08 and 12. We are the only white Democrats in town.




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Response to Manifestor_of_Light (Reply #29)

Fri Jan 30, 2015, 08:34 PM

30. Hooray for you, holding the line.

I know it can't be easy. You were smart not to take the interview, because they would've just warped whatever you said to make it sound the way they wanted.

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