How NOT to win friends and influence people

Yesterday morning when I opened up my email, I got this message from someone whose name I did not recognize.


I thought you might enjoy:

Link #1

Link #2

Link #3,


(Name redacted by me)

That is not unusual. I get emails from time to time from people who think I may be interested in something. I did not click on the links (I am wary about links being used to propagate viruses) but the wording of URLs seemed to indicate that they had something to do with Shakespeare’s (or the Bard’s) sonnets, which seemed reasonable since the email arrived the day after I had two posts about the controversy over the Bard’s authorship.

But while I was going through the rest of my emails, there was another one from the same person that arrived (with an attachment) just 40 minutes after the first and it had a decidedly unfriendly tone:


See attached.  And try and show some integrity.


(Name redacted)

I was nonplussed as to why, in the space of 40 minutes, he had felt the need to make a gratuitous insinuation about my integrity.

But, wait! That is not all. While I was mulling over the strangeness of these emails, today I get another one with another attachment, where the hostility was raised all the way to 11.


Clearly you are a fraud and a coward like all “free thinkers”.  

it appears virtually all of you are too stupid to recognize that the current understanding of the Sonnets was a guess and clearly a bad one.  

But wasted on morons like you no doubt. 

See attached.

(Name redacted)

Now I was intrigued. Clearly this person has some theory about the Sonnets and wants to create a wider awareness of it. That is fine. But why he does that in a way almost guaranteed to alienate the people he is trying to reach baffled me.

So I did a search on his name and found that I am not the only one to whom he has sent hostile missives. He seems to be quite prolific. For example, here is someone who writes about his interaction with him on Twitter. I also learned from another site that the sender of the emails is a believer in the Earl of Oxford being the Bard.

I mentioned in my Shakespeare posts that the issue of the Bard’s authorship arouses strong passions but I did not expect that my own non-polemical posts on the topic would arouse such ire, since I expressed no preferences about who might have written the canon. The general consensus seems to be to ignore the emails because if you respond in any way, you will receive a never-ending stream of angry and insulting messages. So I will do just that.



  1. sonofrojblake says

    As part of Elon Musk’s ongoing project to destroy Twitter, there now seems to be an issue with simply reading Twitter at all if you’re not an account holder and logged in. And even if you are logged in, there’s a limit on what you can read. It really does seem as if Musk is actively trying to stop people wanting to use it.

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    Aww -- I’d thought at first you had finally dedicated a post to John Morales.

  3. says

    This clown kinda reminds me of Dennis Markuze/David Mabus; though I don’t think that wanker ever cared about Shakespeare or poitry.

  4. John Morales says

    sonofrojblake, apparently there is indeed an issue with Twitter.

    I clicked on the link Mano provided, and sure enough, “Something went wrong. Try reloading.”

  5. Mano Singham says

    I just read this news item that said: ” Twitter had announced that it will require users to have an account on the social media platform to view tweets, a move that Musk on Friday called a “temporary emergency measure”.

  6. Holms says

    Clearly you are a fraud and a coward…
    it appears virtually all of you are too stupid…
    But wasted on morons like you…


    I find the genial sign off quite funny after penning a mostly acid letter.

    As for your posts not taking a position on the matter, the mere fact that you are interested in posting about the matter of disputed authorship suggests to me there is a possibility you have doubts about Shakespeare as the bard -- at least by comparison to my total disinterest -- which you would think would make this guy more amenable to you. Odd guy.

    #1 sonof
    Yes, in Musk’s Twitter only those with accounts can see anything at all. And a better way of squandering Twitter’s lead as the general messenger of choice does not exist, short of shuttering it entirely.

  7. Silentbob says

    @ 6 Mano Singham

    Holy Moley, that’s from ten years ago!

    “Siri, show me obsession”

  8. John Morales says

    It’s not an “issue”, it’s a decision.

    It can be both.

    Anyway, yes. I am not that uninformed, I saw already, others have also noted it.

    No biggie.

    BTW, the topic itself is about obsessiveness. Just saying.

  9. rueprt says

    If Shakespeare didn’t write the works, why was he paid enough to retire to Stratford? I doubt whether a basic actor’s salary would have been enough for that.

  10. says

    rueprt@12: “If Shakespeare didn’t write the works, why was he paid enough to retire to Stratford?”

    Obviously, the person(s) who actually wrote the Shakespeare plays paid WS a pile of cash. In addition to whatever WS may have been paid for the plays which WS was fronting as author of.

  11. John Morales says

    Just checked again, same message (cf. #4).

    Not the most specific error message, is it?

    We’ll see how long the registration wall access requirement lasts, I reckon.

    (Prognostication: it actually will be temporary. Confidence level, highish)

    Pierce R. Butler, you sure are winning me over! 😉

  12. steve oberski says

    a move that Musk on Friday called a “temporary emergency measure”

    Temporary until Musk pays his AWS and Google Cloud bills.

  13. rupert says

    A bit far-fetched that.
    It is more llikely that Will wrote the works AND the Sonnets.

  14. says

    So it’s nice to know this isn’t limited to women where there is an initial, usually badly done, attempt to express interest and if there isn’t an immediate response the whole thing goes sour very quickly, “You’re ugly anyway and I was only trying to be nice, b1tch!”

  15. Silentbob says

    (off topic)

    Mano, do you take requests? 🙂

    There has apparently been some controversy in cricket that resulted in the UK and Australian prime ministers sniping at each other.

    I’ve googled but all sources seem to be written on the assumption that everyone’s a rabid cricket fan and knows exactly what happened.

    Something to do with a batsman being stumped when he thought the ball was not in play?

    As you are an aficionado of the arcane rules of cricket, I would be interested in an explanatory post for non-cricket fans and also your opinion of the quarrel.

    (/off topic)

  16. John Morales says


    Don’t need Mano for anything other than Mano’s take.
    So, since you brought it up, here’s mine.

    Basically, the Australians played within the rules, and the Poms were upset that they played within the rules. Apparently, some ineffable spirit supervenes the rules.
    (Well, it’s cricket, so it’s the laws, but we all know what is meant)

    Plenty of outlets mentioning the very specific set of rules applicable.

    FWIW, here is a neutral take — not from Mano, obs:

  17. John Morales says

    [PS part of the so-called spirit of cricket is not dissenting with the umpires, and taking their decisions as proper and definitive. I guess the Poms forgot that bit]

  18. Mano Singham says

    silentbob @#19.

    I too was unaware of this issue until I was listening to BBC Newshour today and they said that the UK and Australian prime ministers had been making statements about something that happened at the latest Test match between the two countries.

    So I looked it up and it indeed involves arcane rules. In cricket there is a set of wickets at each end. There is a space of 4 feet between each wicket and another line parallel to it called the ‘popping crease’. The batter is ‘safe’, i.e.., cannot be given out, if they stay behind the popping crease. (It is like the base on the ground in baseball that the batter has to be in touch with to be safe.)

    Now the batter is required to stay behind the popping crease only while the ball is ‘live’, i.e., it is considered to be in play. Once the ball is ‘dead’, then the batter can move beyond the popping crease and go and talk to their partner at the other end. But when the ball is deemed ‘dead’ is not obvious and batters sometimes move out of the crease before it is dead, thinking it is dead. If a fielder breaks the wicket with the ball, the batter is out.

    That is what happened here. The batter thought the ball was dead and moved out of the popping crease, the fielder broke the wicket, and the batter was out. The dispute is over whether the fielder violated the spirit of the game by doing so. One side argues that anything within the rules is fair game. The other side argues that in cricket the spirit of the game means you do not take advantage of a technical violation of the rules.

  19. John Morales says

    One side argues that anything within the rules is fair game. The other side argues that in cricket the spirit of the game means you do not take advantage of a technical violation of the rules.

    Well, yes… but there’s more to it, and it’s relevant.

    For one, Bairstow himself has been trying to do the very same thing as Carey did, and for another, and the day before there was a disputed catch which was also decided by the third umpire, and which also hinged on a rules technicality.
    England obviously felt that was an entirely different thing, quite happy with the umpire’s decision on that particular occasion.

    … and they said that the UK and Australian prime ministers had been making statements about something that happened at the latest Test match between the two countries.

    Sequence of events was that Rishi made a comment, and Anthony retorted.

    (Sounds familiar to me)

  20. Holms says


    Something to do with a batsman being stumped when he thought the ball was not in play?

    That’s basically it. After the bowler sends the ball down, if the batsman misses or guards or whatever there is usually a tense pause where the fielders dash in to collect the ball and be ready to throw in case the batsmen are attempting a run… and then play ends. The ball is said to be dead, and the batsmen can have a stretch or even leave the crease (the ‘safe’ line) and chat in the middle if they want.

    Usually, it is clear that play has ended because a fielder has gathered the ball, checked to see if they need to throw for a run-out, seen that the batsmen aren’t going for any more runs or any runs at all, and relaxed. The problem is, the distinction is very informal. There are social conventions at play, rather than anything official.

    So. An English batsman thought play was dead and hence thought it safe to leave to go for a chat with his partner. The Australian fielders thought otherwise, and stumped him as soon as he left safety. The umpires agreed with the fielders. And if you have a look at the footage, this is the only reasonable conclusion to make. The English batsman just… started walking. Without a pause to confirm, he set off as if to an appointment.

    And if you do that, you will be stumped.

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