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|Volume 12 |Issue 08| February 22, 2013 ||
You've got (Hate) Mail
AASHA MEHREEN AMIN
In the old days there was nothing more important than those envelopes of hope, love or despair that we received from the dear old mailman who hand-delivered them everyday. Was it a letter from a loved one living thousands of miles away? Or was it part of that conspiracy to rob you of happiness and wellbeing - that cruel phenomenon called 'bills'?
These days we have almost forgotten the charm of getting mail from a post office although the conspiracy of billing has certainly found its way into modern technology.
But there is another menace that now haunts us on a regular basis. It is not just unnecessary emails from unknown people to join their 'group' or be 'linked' to them or from con artistes who actually think we will send them $1000 dollars just because they claim to be one of our friends and has been robbed. Now we have the pleasure of being bombarded with 'hate e-mail'. These are missives dripping with venom, accusing you of being the most despicable creature in the world - mainly because you haven't complied with some unreasonable request. It could be a crazed fan verbally slashing the rock star's neck for not agreeing to marry her, so what if he is happily married and has kids he happens to like. It could be an ex dumped rather unceremoniously twenty years ago when you were only ten. It could be from an irate aspiring writer/poet who thinks every word they write merits printing and hence it must be some vindictive streak in the editor for refusing to print their masterpiece.
All this makes one think - just how much craziness is out there anyway? The unpredictability of their actions makes these individuals rather terrifying. In the beginning of the interaction with you, the victim, they will be extremely effusive, praising you for talents you may or may not possess, for being so generous as to give them time etc. Then one fine day when you politely decline to do what they want - boom - a hate-filled bomb will burst into your face.
The hate mail will consist of a demand for an explanation of why the person or the writing was rejected accompanied by a barrage of vitriolic adjectives hurled like poison darts coming from all directions.
The first few times this is as welcoming as red chilly on a mouth sore. One can only wonder what celebrities go through and marvel that they are not all nervous wrecks (well some are and now you know why). Over time however, and with a bit of good old common sense, you will realise that these hate mailers are just not normal and you may even start to feel sorry for them (after the initial phase of wanting to punch their faces for their rudeness). You will realise that they are individuals suffering from inflated self image and utterly incapable of keeping life's disappointments from turning them into e-psychos.
But that's not the scary part. The disturbing part is that more and more people these days want attention, the need for immediate recognition of their virtues - looks, success, writing... More and more people think they are somehow just a little bit better than others. All such individuals have the potential to be hate e-mailers.
Hate e-mail can certainly get your morale low - for a while. But for the most part you realise that they are based on imaginary rebuffs and fictitious snubs. People just don't want to hear the truth. Does this mean we should lie to them to avoid hurting their feelings? No, that may actually worsen the situation – declining politely can get a person's head ripped off (figuratively so far). If you can have the guts to say - 'I am just not interested' or 'Your writing is horrible' or 'you just don't have talent' - this may work out in the long run in the sense that they will be so furious that after the first missile of utter abhorrence, the mails may stop because the haters will have lost steam and hopefully have focused on another victim.
Bullies, whether they are in the material world or floating in cyberspace, are basically cowards. In the case of e-bullies, the best way to fight back may not be to bully them back. The sanest method of defense is just a four letter word: SPAM.
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