Angry Letters: Utah Opera, ‘Shake Hands with the Devil,’ ‘A Cinderella Story’

Lately the Laotian kids who work in my sweatshop have been inundated with angry letters, and they’ve asked me to post the links to them.

First there’s the City Weekly column I wrote a while back about Utah Opera. You can read the entire column and its aftermath here.

Now on to some movie-related letters. First we have this one, from someone who misunderstood something in my review of “Shake Hands with the Devil”:

A quote from you, regarding Hotel Rawanda [that’s “Rwanda,” actually, but OK] and Shake Hands with the Devil: “After this double feature, your conscience and guilt will be fully awakened, I assure you.”

After reading your stuff for a while now, I realize that logic and reason aren’t your strong points. [“And here are some other examples from previous articles:” Oh, wait, never mind.] You’re more a a “Hypocrisy and Cluelessness” sort of fellow. [“For example, here’s an instance where you were hypocritical:” Oh, wait, no backup there, either.] That’s fine and all, but frankly, your Paternalistic idiocy is best reserved for your “snide remarks” column instead of Movie reviews.

In short: you’re a dork, and I grow weary of dorks telling me what I should and shouldn’t feel “guilty” over. Last I checked, it was the RAWANDANS that committed genocide. [Them too. But mostly their cousins, the Rwandans.] But hey, in your small-minded world, we can’t possibly hold THEM responsible for their own actions, now can we? [I never said they weren’t accountable for their actions, only that Westerners might feel guilty for not stepping in to help stop the killing.] Because in your bigoted mind, anyone with a dark skin tone is somehow less than human, and therefore unaccountable for their own actions. No, it’s obviously us White Folk on the other side of the planet that need to feel guilty for the actions of Rawanda, right Eric?

I replied thus:

Wow. That’s one of the stupider e-mails I’ve gotten lately. How would my suggesting we feel bad about the Rwandans killing each other mean that I’m racist? If I were racist, wouldn’t I either not care, or maybe even be glad, that Rwandans were killing each other?

The “conscience and guilt” I was referring to was the fact that we (the United States) didn’t do anything to help the Rwandans. Though we have, in many other instances, stepped in to help countries during their internal struggles (Kosovo, Bosnia, Vietnam, Korea, etc.), we did nothing for Rwanda.

I wasn’t saying the reader might feel guilty for what the Rwandans did to each other, because obviously they are responsible for their own actions. I was saying we as Americans might feel sorry that we didn’t do something to stop the killing when it was within our power to do so, that’s all.

I received no reply.

Next came this little missive on the subject of “A Cinderella Story,” a bad Hilary Duff movie:

I just wanted to say that i think you were a bit over the top with your ‘review’ [A classic angry-letter tactic: Use quotation marks around the word “review,” “column” or “article,” to suggest that because you disagree with it, that means it wasn’t even a real review/column/article] on A Cinderella Story..I think its a great movie and WOULDN’T have sold as many copies if it wasn’t so good..[That’s stupid logic, of course — plenty of bad movies do well — but this one only grossed $51 million, which isn’t exactly spectacular. I don’t know how it’s done on DVD, though, so maybe she’s right.] so lets so you act before you write anything else [I assume she means “let’s SEE you act,” in which case she has once again said something very stupid.]

I didn’t reply to this girl because she’s obviously a dumb teenager who doesn’t need me telling her she’s a dumb teenager. I’m sure she knows, or will soon realize.