Dear A---- B----,
by Jody Nagel
I once posted an office-door memo-board message which stated my belief that amplified music from car stereos was the single greatest "hate-crime" against humanity. I then received a letter that was written to me by a relatively responsible, thinking student. The student, a homosexual, was very insulted, because he was aware of particular hate crimes directed at homosexuals, and he believed that these crimes were greater than that of amplified music. This was my response to his letter.
Dear A---- B----,
This is a response to your letter. Please refer to the red superscripts that I have added to the photocopy of your own letter, while reading mine.
1. It is my constitutional right to say anything that I believe to be true. I have no bounds. If you believe I am overstepping "bounds," then they are bounds that you apparently are attempting to inflict on me. I do not acknowledge yours or any one else's authority to have me "bound" in my free speech.
2. I am truly saddened to learn that you have suffered from hate crime "up close and personal." No person deserves to be hated, and no one should be allowed to hate. I share this with you, in spite of your opening sentence, because my constantly being assaulted by amplified sound is a form of hate directed at me. I like being hated no more than you do.
3. I am indeed a white heterosexual male, and quite content to be so. Hopefully you are content with yourself, too. As for being middle-class, you must be using a 1950-measuring-stick. I certainly am not in the "middle" of anything, economically speaking, and greatly resent wealth inequity for equal work-time. So probably would you, if this happens to be a subject that you think about. As for being an "educator" . . . PLEASE! I've never stepped foot in an education class, and never will. I am a teacher. (I guess, someday, I'll explain to you the difference.) Finally, as with anything I say, what I've said is "no joke," (though I am open to wit and humor on occasion). Newton's third law of motion states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. If you find my belief to be "asinine," surely you must realize that I find your "asinine-label" to be equally so, too.
4. I always think before I speak. Do you? And how much? And what is your total knowledge base contributing towards that thinking? And do you think only with your emotions, or do you use reason? Your letter is quite passionate, but rather superficial.
5. There are several ways of looking at superlatives like the word "worst." Consider energy: there is much more energy stored in an iceberg than in a hot cup of coffee. Indeed, the coffee is hotter and has more energy per molecule, but the iceberg is endlessly more massive and actually contains vastly more energy than the cup of coffee. Let X equal the number of racial haters that have beaten to death individuals such as Matthew Shepherd. Let Y equal the number of human haters that blast amplified sound from car stereos. You are truly uninformed if you think X is greater than Y. Like the iceberg energy, Y is vastly larger than X. And the number of people that suffer from this form of hate is huge (though they remain mostly silent, because the media cares not for them.) Small forms of hate lead to hate-habits, just as marijuana leads to more virulent drugs. When so many people are engaged in hate, where do you suppose society will end? Or perhaps you still insist that blasting car stereos is not a form of hate? All acts that are so self-directed and insensitive to the needs of others is the very stuff of what hate is. Imagine the following scenario: A car-stereo blaster is asked by someone, say yourself for example, to turn down his or her stereo. Which do you think is the more probable response:
(A) Oh, I'm sorry, sir, I will turn it down immediately, and I am sorry that I disturbed you. or . . .
(B) F_ _ _ You.
You know as well as I do that response "B" is the result. When another person says "F_ _ _ you" to me, I consider it to be that the person hates me. And only a complete madman would conclude otherwise.
6. As I am NOT an educator, I ALWAYS stick ONLY to what I know, ALL THE TIME. I have a liberal arts education that includes political theory, economics and sociology. Do you? Because I respect the American Constitution, and its implications for a balanced mix between personal freedoms and social responsibilities, and because I have things I wish to speak, I am indeed "built for it" as you seem so sure is not the case. Any person that tells an American engaged in free speech to "leave real political matters alone" is the only type of person NOT "built for it." Your last sentence is simply insulting, but I will forgive you since it is obvious you don't have a clue of the meaning or implications of your last sentence.
In summary, I respect immensely the fact that you took the trouble to write your note, and that you had the courage to sign your name. Bravo! I wish you were my student. However, the bottom line is this: my adversaries do not consider sonic torture to be a crime or that their conduct constitutes HATE. It is always a superior state of affairs to know precisely how one person stands in relationship to another.
Dr. Jody Nagel
March 18, 2003