Heidi Czerwiec dared to complain about ROTC carrying out unannounced military exercises on the University of North Dakota campus — I sympathize completely. There were a few times when I was at Temple University that I’d sleepily arrive on campus early in the morning and suddenly be surrounded by men in buzzcuts and fatigues waving rifles around, and no, it wasn’t a pleasant shock. We don’t seem to have a ROTC program here at UMM, fortunately.
But Czerwiec was reasonably concerned and later quite angry when she looked out her office window to see men in camouflage gear with guns, and she complained loudly to the ROTC officer in charge — you do not spring these kinds of activities on people without warning in this era of “active shooters” and mass murder at schools. It was irresponsible and unethical. Maybe the ROTC ought to carry out their exercises elsewhere?
And then right-wing radio and news sites got the story.
They play her up as one of those liberals, unpatriotic and hatin’ on the military, wanting to take away your guns. It turned into a frenzy of ignorant hatred.
Out of the 500 or so emails I receive (not counting voicemail and Facebook messages), most are hatemail, most calling for my job.
Nearly all the hatemail (98%) is from men.
Most of the hatemail accuses me of one or more of the following: being anti-military, anti-gun, and liberal:
And then she quotes a series of emails. They are so, so familiar. I’ve seen similar responses, in similar floods of right-wing hate. She’s a woman, so she also gets lots of dismissive insults about her appearance, her genitals, her “fuckability”. I wish I could say I’m safe from those, but nope — I get similar comments, and a common insult is to suggest that I’m a woman, so they can recycle their misogynist cliches against me, too. They can’t even criticize a man without letting their contempt for women ooze through.
What always strikes me is how unoriginal the haters are, how much their language is one of primal grunts and unthinking rote recitals of the same old stupidity and prejudice. Even when they can string together a proper and grammatical English sentence, the sentiments are the same crude bigoted knee-jerk execrations — it’s the difference between a turd and a lovingly sculpted turd.
It was a disconcerting article to read, bringing back unpleasant memories of past deluges of yahoos hating on me that I’ve received. But then I open my inbox and see that this morning I’ve only received two hate mails that got past my filters today, and only one of them wanted me to die horribly, and even he was willing to wait for me to passively die of cancer without actively causing my demise, so I’m feeling like maybe this will be a good day, relatively.