Last Revised: 2003-11-02
Well, here it is! A number of readers have asked me what sort of hate mail I get. Some of them have trouble believing that my detractors are as ignorant and fanatical as I claim, while others just want to see their flame mail for the sake of amusement.
So, it is time to demonstrate a small sample of the kind of E-mail that I get. For those of you who are not familiar with the kind of ignorant fanaticism that permeates the "vs" newsgroups, this may be a shock. Most Star Trek fans are quite rational, and may perhaps be quite disturbed to see the kind of things that are routinely being said by other fans. For those of you who are familiar with the "vs" newsgroups, this will be all too familiar :)
Important note: for you people who ask why I don't take the moral high ground and adopt a firm, restrained, mature tone when dealing with these people, I would like to remind you that we are talking about whether the Empire would kick the Federation's ass! What the hell does maturity have to do with this? To most of its participants, this debate is a vacation from maturity. Those of us who have done this for a long time judge each others' efforts on skill and knowledge, as well as scientific accuracy and logical consistency. Maturity is simply a red herring, and as far as I'm concerned, the very idea of a "mature" Star Wars vs Star Trek debate is outlandish. In my experience, people start whining about "maturity" when they're trying to distract the audience from the fact that they're getting their asses kicked.
Disclaimer: Don't expect calm, rational conversation. These message threads are flame wars, not mediated debates. If you find that kind of material offensive or disturbing, then you will be cast into the pit! Bwaha ha ha ha!!!! But if you don't, then get some popcorn, and enjoy!
Stewart Davies: nuclear physics expert, head of SDI, world-class master marksman, Kendo god, martial-arts master, and highly paid DoD consultant (and if you believe that ...)
Yes, he really does make all of those claims, along with a string of the usual bizarre Trekkie arguments (including the claim that the TESB asteroids were "soft lumps of talc", that Alderaan didn't really blow up at all, and that the planet was actually a giant atomic bomb). Read and enjoy.
Ryan Griffin: self-proclaimed PhD
Another loudmouthed flamer. He claims to have multiple degrees in various areas of science (including a PhD in quantum physics, of course), yet he oddly does not demonstrate anything resembling actual knowledge of science :)
Eric the mighty sailor
Following in Ryan Griffin's footsteps, this one claimed to be a veteran of the US military, and attempted to prove this by demonstrating that he knows the proper acronyms attached to military weapons systems such as the Harpoon missile. As with Griffin, his claims ended up looking rather silly in light of many elementary mistakes he made.
High school kid. He E-mailed me for the purpose of calling me an idiot and declaring that my ideas were "laughable". His arguments were pretty generic idiot-Trekkie stuff, backed up with aggressive appeals to authority (his teacher, his Daddy, etc). This is my favourite flame exchange because he became so petulant and upset that he declared I was the worst man he ever met. That complaint just made my day! All I can say is: if you can't stand the heat, don't start a flamewar!
High school kid. He E-mailed me around the same time as Ted Rogers, with virtually identical arguments. Sometimes a coincidence is not a coincidence, and I assume that the two were friends. Apparently, the duo thought that stupidity would sound better in stereo.
High school kid. He E-mailed me with some pretty generic idiot-Trekkie stuff. He would be forgettable except for the fact that he took the unprecedented step of turning the flamewar into a race and class war as well.
Ignoramus of unknown origin. He E-mailed me with generic, ignorant anti-Star Wars arguments. He distinguished himself by inventing Star Trek trivia out of thin air and by the fact that he actually ran away to the newsgroups, asking for backup! It was shortly after his call for reinforcements that Ted Rogers and Byron MacFarlane E-mailed me. I assume that they felt they were leading the Charge of the Light Brigade (and they never read Tennyson's poem, so they didn't know how that charge ended).
Ignoramus of unknown origin. He E-mailed me with generic, ignorant anti-Star Wars arguments. He distinguished himself only in the fact that he thought he would give himself "the last word" by sending me a virulent flame mail and then putting a mail-block on me so I couldn't respond.
Clone of Dave Travis. Slightly better at cloaking his mindless arguments in a veneer of civility, but no more rational.
My exchanges with this guy always remind me of that classic quote: "I'll try being nicer if you'll try being smarter". I know it's not very polite, but there's a point when you just can't help but call a moron a moron.
A bunch of kiddies at Spacebattles.com decided they would refute my site with an essay. Naturally, it was a nitpick-fest (but at least it was all gathered in one place this time, thus making it a nice target), betraying ignorance of Star Wars, Star Trek, and real life. From what I've seen, their methodology is to attack credibility with various nitpicks and bizarre illogical arguments, and then tell others on the board that as a result, people shouldn't even bother reading my site (if you can't defeat someone's arguments, try to convince others not to read them in the first place). I heard about it and asked the inestimable Wayne Poe to send me a copy, which he promptly did.
After I updated my Myths page with more information on the Trekkie frequency myth, I received a tip that some Trekkies were hiding out and sniping at it from spacebattles.com as usual. Their level of debate was precisely what I had learned to expect from my previous encounter with their little friends.
Poor babies. Even after Gothmog's public emasculation, they're still sniping away. So much persistence ... so little intelligence.
Daniel Rodgers, aka "Visionrazor", aka "Raoul Duke, Jr." aka "Dan-Dan the Ninja-Man"
Yet another Trekkie fan-boy who thinks he's a genius. This guy counts his chickens before they're hatched, proudly explaining that if I don't put his E-mails on my Hate Mail page, I must be afraid that others would see his superior arguments. There's only one way to respond to that kind of baiting, so here he is! Note: this entry has been updated after receiving a recent E-mail about him from someone who supposedly knew him growing up. Whether it's true or not, it's hilarious.
If you're interested in Trekkie Borg arguments, you might want to check this one out. He repeats every stupid Trekkie Borg argument in the books, and adds a couple of weird original ones just for flavour. This guy starts by flaming me and trying to goad me into debating him, but he suddenly becomes polite when he realizes that he's got my attention.
A spacebattles.com baby, with all of the "style over substance" tactics that this entails. This guy is kind of interesting, because he seems to vacillate between standard-issue idiot tactics and hints that he might be amenable to reason. I'm still not entirely sure what his true state of mind is.
This category is reserved for flame mailers who don't have the guts to use their real names or even real E-mail addresses. Accountability is a prerequisite for respectability. People who refuse to divulge their real names can't ever be taken too seriously, because their insistence on anonymity is proof that they don't have any confidence in their own ideas. If they don't have confidence in their own ideas, why should you? But I digress- don your heat shield, and prepare for flamewar!
Not worthy of description. Included simply because until he started sending me E-mail, I never would have believed that a humanoid lifeform can function without a brain.
This guy maintains a civilized tone throughout, but his ideas are extreme and he relies heavily on pseudoscience: unscientific ideas and methods couched in scientific terminology. He also insists on going by a pseudonym and using a Hotmail address, which is not a good sign.
I thought I'd heard the last of Stilgar more than a year ago, but he suddenly reappeared and sent a bunch of idiotic legal threats. Yes, he thinks he can bully me into taking down the Stilgar page so it will no longer be an embarrassment to him. Naturally, I refused, and I would like to ask that anyone who feels strongly about the importance of "fair use" and the freedom to criticize explain it to him the next time they see him lurking around a newsgroup or a bulletin board. Moreover, just to make the extent of my contempt for his legal threats clear, I would like to say that since public debates might not even satisfy the "originality and creativity" requirements for a copyrightable work, and since both contributors to a shared work (eg. the debate in question) have full copyright on the entire work even in the event that it is copyrightable, I am hereby officially authorizing anyone and everyone to duplicate any portion of the entire debate in any form, on any media, and in as many places as they wish. Feel free to post any or all of it on a newsgroup, E-mail it to him, make a poster out of it, read it aloud for the vision-impaired, etc., just as a reminder that we have freedom of speech.
What's the best way to attack an argument with which you disagree? Send the author a logical rebuttal? Make an HTML rebuttal and post it on the web? Post a rebuttal to the public newsgroups? Well, you can forget all of those feeble methods; according to Stilgar, the best way to attack an argument is to trash talk its author. Say really nasty things about him behind his back, and appeal to your authority. Yeah, that's the ticket ... trash talk instead of logic. Why hasn't this stroke of genius occurred to anyone else before?
I use this category to criticize articles I see on the Net. People listed in this category may or may not have ever had direct correspondence with me. Basically, I didn't know where else to put these little critiques, so I put them here on the Hate Mail page, even though they aren't technically hate mail.
High school teacher in Britain. Prone to exaggerating his own level of scientific education. Maintains a website called the Daystrom Technical Institute, on which he espouses his views on Treknology and publishes his fanatically anti-Star Wars crossover fanfic. One of the most extreme pro-Trek "vs" debaters around. He actually subscribes to the idiotic "no laser" argument. This is not a flame-mail exchange, although I put Graham Kennedy on this page simply because we have exchanged such harsh words in the past. It is a point-by-point criticism of some of his claims, provoked by his dishonesty about his own level of scientific education and necessitated by the fact that a lot of Star Trek fans take his work quite seriously.
The guy who wrote "The Postman", a novel which was made into a catastrophically unpopular Kevin Costner film. He wrote an article about Star Wars vs Star Trek from a thematic, rather than technical viewpoint.
Robert Mercer (aka "Gothmog")
The spacebattles.com's "versus" board Big Man On Campus. He struts around passing judgement on other peoples' arguments and throwing a lot of pseudoscientific language around even though he proudly denies the applicability of science to sci-fi (I guess it doesn't occur to him that terms like "watt", "joule", and "graviton" are defined by science, so it's ludicrous for him to throw them around while simultaneously claiming that science does not apply). Naturally, he chose to debate the applicability of science with me.
Michael Griffiths (aka "Lord Edam")
Infamously nitpicky newsgroup debater. Favourite attack is to find a tiny nitpick in an opponent's argument and then exaggerate it into a yawning chasm of error. Takes offense at my ridicule of creationists but not so much offense that he'll do battle with me on that point. Fond of arguing semantics. Claims to be a science expert, and likes to run to the library and hit you with names of impressive-sounding reference books in order to "prove" it. As is the case with so many other overconfident people I tangle with, he's been running around claiming that I've been ducking him.
Timothy Jones (aka TOWNMNBS)
I needed some generic victim to plug the hole left by Chris O'Farrell's apparent surrender on ASVS, so I used Timothy Jones. He's a legend on the newsgroups (for all the wrong reasons), and his favourite tactic is the style over substance fallacy. He tries to make himself look like a really nice guy and he tries to make his opponent look like a really mean guy, in the hopes that the audience thinks the debate is a Miss Congeniality contest rather than a clash of opposing ideas.
Robert Scott Anderson (aka "Guardian2000", aka "Darkstar").
This guy is an infamous troll on ASVS, dubbed by many as a Timothy Jones clone and reviled by Star Wars and Star Trek fans alike for his dishonest debate tactics. After getting fed up with his pollution of my web board, I called him out.
Andrew Joshua Talon, aka Darkstar's biggest fan
Did you know that Darkstar has fans? It shouldn't come as a surprise; even Cher has fans (despite being voted more terrifying than the Rancor in our very own StarDestroyer.Net reader poll). Anyway, I was curious to find out precisely what sort of person tries to model himself after Darkstar, and this person took it upon himself to show me.
Isaac Bishop Jr., aka "Virus-X"
Yes, it's one of those guys who tries to give himself a cool hacker-sounding name. Always beware people who try to give themselves cool nicknames, folks. Better yet, he had been trash-talking me for years, and had even gone so far as to publicly state that he had a website "90% done" which would crush all of my arguments into the dirt. Well, I got bored one day and decided to call him out. You can see what ensued.
I would like to point out here that the bulk of my E-mail is actually not flames, although it might look that way from this page. I get a lot of mail that is supportive or at the very least, civil, from both Star Wars and Star Trek fans. In fact, the majority of my E-mail correspondence is quite civilized, and generally supportive. The authors of those messages know that I respond to civilized E-mail in a civilized manner. I don't berate everyone who E-mails me. But there wouldn't be much point posting supportive, friendly, or otherwise likable E-mail messages here. I don't intend to break my arm patting myself on the back.
As for those who feel that I like to pillory only the most inflammatory of my hate mail opponents to make Trekkies look bad, I have actually not included the worst E-mail messages. To date, I have had two death threats, five threats of bodily harm, and more than ten people claiming that they would hack my website or cause me some other form of electronic grief. They are probably just blow-hards, but someone has to be a major misanthrope simply to say such things.