Today’s nasty e-mail from a massage therapist about PainScience.com calls my writing “hateful” because it “exercises a multitude of sub par and repetitive argument techniques” and suggests that I need “a hug and a swift kick in the perspective.” A hug? Whut? I think that was her odd way of trying to seem like a wise and gentle soul … while still putting a stink bomb in my inbox. This is actually a common hypocritical pattern I see in my hate mail.1
Fan mail has actually substantially exceeded hate mail lately. It’s always weird seeing them juxtaposed: “You suck!” “You’re amazing!” WHO TO BELIEVE?!
A lot of angry emailers struggle with the cognitive dissonance caused by the contrast between their self-image as a loving and gracious person and one who, you know, gives in to hate — actually going out of their way to try to make another human being feel bad. So they try to soften their message with strange, patronizing comments. ↩