hate mail for anti-genocide activists

Here’s an email I got on June 20, 2024, from a stranger whose From header identified (her|him|them)self as Markman Chance <freegraceteacher@gmail.com>, unedited:

Being a marxist trotskyite you obviously are a self loathing jew who is anti semitic. Your support for Hamas and denial of their atrocities is just dumb and makes you lose credibility. Yes they did behead and yes they did rape and torture and yes they are the personification of evil. Israel is not committing genocide. They could flatten all of GAZA in several minutes if they wanted and that would be genocide. Your LSD and pot and other childish ventures are forerunners of an easy career of a Spanish interpreter profession.

Lacking self-control, I replied with a one-liner: “What’s your point?”

This is perhaps the third or fourth hate message I’ve gotten since November, 2023, when I started doing anti-genocide activism on Martha’s Vineyard, the island where I live. It’s just slightly surprising to me how disturbing I do not find it. Indeed, there is a bit of perverse satisfaction and pride in being villified by people who are mean, nasty, and ignorant at best. At the risk of falling into a sort of reverse ad hominem fallacy, I think being thus attacked suggests that I’m doing something right.

The craziness speaks for itself. The only part that stings a little is the last sentence. On my personal website I mention that I have enjoyed psychedelic drugs — hence the reference to LSD. But who told Markman Chance I was a pothead? I only occasionally indulge in cannabis — or LSD, for that matter — so that’s gratuitous. The suggestion that being a Spanish interpreter is “easy” is plainly ludicrous. But my job as a staff Spanish interpreter in federal court for 26 years actually was easy at times. The federal judiciary is not the most efficient of organizations. We were often paid to sit around waiting to be called upon to render our highly specialized services. Then, not infrequently, the actual interpreting work was formulaic, predictable, repetitive: easy. But sometimes it was, most definitely, hard as fuck. Markman Chance: you do not know what you’re talking about.