Email #222: “STFU”?

It was heartening to receive so many emails from people thanking me for writing you letters after I was featured in the Roanoke Times and the WSET evening news over the July 4th weekend. But one online commenter, who identified himself as a Democrat, suggested that my writing so much “borders on harassment.” Since, as your communications director told the reporters who interviewed me, you receive about 5,000 letters a month, my 30 account for less than 1%. Do you feel that borders on harassment?

I also received this email from “Joe Smith”:

“Dear Snowflake,

 “You are the epitome of what is wrong with the liberal progressive community. You are angry about the election and cant let it. Keep in mind that you didn’t run for office, you do not hold an elected office position, and complaining on your part is unfair to those other US citizens that did vote for Mr. Trump and deserve the full level of representation that Mr. Trump can give. His winning the election means that he is does not have to answer to you, listen to you, or represent your viewpoint. YOU OPPOSE HIS IDEAS, HIS AGENDA, AND HIS LEADERSHIP. So just sit back, wait for the next election, run yourself or help any candidate you are for, and see if the outcome supports your viewpoint. Until then, just STFU – YOU LOST!”

I’m pretty sure “STFU” stands for “shut the fuck up.” My wife has asked me not to respond to any angry letters I receive, and I think that’s good advice. I assume you follow the same policy.  If you review all of the letters I’ve sent you, you’ll see none are like Mr. Smith’s. I believe my tone is respectful and my points are logical.

I was tempted to write a counter argument to Mr. Smith’s notions about unfairness, representation, and free speech, but I was wondering instead if you agree with his opinions. Is “complaining” about elected officials unfair to those who voted for them? Should those of us who don’t hold office be silent between elections? Do elected officials only have to listen to those who share their viewpoints?

I’m happy to pass on any of your thoughts to Mr. Smith. Or you can contact him directly. His email address is Who knows, his name might even be “Joe Smith.” Alternatively, he’s a Republican internet troll who spends his time sending unsigned emails to people he doesn’t like through an email address he created for that purpose.

I also received this email from Tena Markham:

“Tell crybabies(protestors) to get color book and crayons and play dough and pacifiers…”

I foolishly did try to write Tena a polite note, but the email address she listed on my blog’s contact page was fake. Is there some reason Republicans don’t like to use their real names and addresses when harassing strangers?

Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an associate professor at W&L University, comics editor of Shenandoah, and series editor of Bloomsbury Critical Guides in Comics Studies. He has published two novels: School for Tricksters (SMU 2011) and Pretend I’m Not Here (HarperCollins 2002); and six books of scholarship: On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa 2015), Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury 2017), Superhero Thought Experiments (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Iowa 2019), Revising Fiction, Fact, and Faith (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Routledge 2020), Creating Comics (with Leigh Ann Beavers, Bloomsbury 2021), and The Comics Form (Bloomsbury forthcoming). His visual work appears in Ilanot Review, North American Review, Aquifer, and other journals.

2 thoughts on “Email #222: “STFU”?”

  1. Yes, there is a reason. They are cowards who lack the intelligence to constructively challenge your ideas. They just want you to shut up because they are afraid other people, whom they rightly fully fear are smarter than them, will listen to what you are saying and agree.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Chris,
    I am so appreciative of your blog. Your tone is respectful and well researched. Many times I am unaware of the points you raise on issues even though I consider myself reasonably informed. You are doing a public service; please continue to do so.
    In gratitude,
    Dena Lee

    Liked by 1 person

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