Re: The Art Of Letters

1
So once you find an hour or two to read over this letter

Couldn't possibly be Ben. It takes much longer than that to decipher what he's trying to say.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:04 PM
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2

The tone is about right for ben, but he would never send something so riddled with errors.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:08 PM
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3

(Except for brilliant the post to the NYT readers. For that I'll forgive Ben a lot.)


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:10 PM
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4

2 is correct. 3 is less so, speaking grammatically.

The crap e-mail referenced really doesn't sound like it was written by a native speaker of English. It has that Nigerian spam kind of flow.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:15 PM
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5

I can't read that shit.


Posted by: Zippy the Comment Frog | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:19 PM
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6

The crap e-mail referenced really doesn't sound like it was written by a native speaker of English. It has that Nigerian spam kind of flow.

This is not inconsistent with Ben.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:20 PM
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7

I think it reads like a native speaker of English who has received substandard training in punctuation and is overly fond of his thesaurus.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:21 PM
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8

That letter really is unreadable. It has that true opaque or translucent quality. The words are present, but resist interpretation.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:22 PM
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9

4: It's just the combination of extreme pretentiousness with little actual ability to write.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:22 PM
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10

7: I don't know what the fuck kind of thesaurus has "inadequatecies" in it, and I don't want to know.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:24 PM
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11

9 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:25 PM
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12

I don't know what the fuck kind of thesaurus has "inadequatecies" in it,

Elitist.

and I don't want to know.

Head-in-the-sand elitist.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:27 PM
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13

Also I'm about 99% convinced he meant "adequate" rather than "antiquate", how the hell do you "disarm" a fallacy, and also he didn't mean "fallacies", I don't think.

Verdict: dude has a tenuous grasp on the language, at best.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:27 PM
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14

Verdict: dude has a tenuous grasp on the language, at best.

Indeed.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:31 PM
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15

Tom Tancredo for President.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:33 PM
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16
...a stormy disarray of masculine uneasiness.

New mouseover text?


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:33 PM
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17

Also, "disarray" isn't a noun.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:36 PM
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18

3: that nyt post is one of the best posts i've ever read anywhere.


Posted by: bend | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:37 PM
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19

Also shut up, Sifu.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:38 PM
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20

Goddamit. That guy's writing is so bad he broke me.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:39 PM
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21

Verdict: dude has a tenuous grasp on the language, at best.

This, alas, is no proof that he's not a native speaker of English. To teo's analysis in 7, I'd add that he probably reads very little and/or doesn't process language visually, so "antiquate" sounds enough like "adequate" to seem plausible.

"All intensive purposes," anyone?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:42 PM
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22

15. Self-hating JewMexican


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:43 PM
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23

God, I can't finish it. He's a modern-day Mr. Collins on acid.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:45 PM
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24

I know someone who talks like Marcel writes. And that is exactly how he asks a woman out. I once actually heard him tell a woman that she was "looking particularly toothsome."


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:45 PM
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25

wow, i'm like afraid to comment here


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:47 PM
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26

If I manage to become a professor, I'm going to tell my students that "plagiarism" means using a thesaurus and that you can get kicked out of school for it.


Posted by: Zippy the Comment Frog | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:48 PM
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27

I once actually heard him tell a woman that she was "looking particularly toothsome."

Nice smile or meaty legs?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:49 PM
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28

modern-day Mr. Collins on acid

That is wonderful!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:49 PM
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29

24: and her speech was particularly noisome.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:49 PM
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30

It's OK, read, we know you're not a native speaker.

Also, you don't appear to be a pretentious blowhard.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:49 PM
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31

Nice smile or meaty legs?

Delicious pie.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:50 PM
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32

i'm like afraid to comment here

This is an exactly correct use of like. read, I don't think anyone is mean about screwy English written with good intent. This letter is crazy because the bad English is here like an amplifier, it says much more than the writer intended. Maybe like someone clumsy and old doing carefully rehearsed hip-hop dance steps while wearing the wrong size clothes.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:56 PM
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33

I once actually heard him tell a woman that she was "looking particularly toothsome."

Oh man.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 1:58 PM
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34

That email reads like it was written by someone auditioning to be a character in Brief Interviews with Hideous Men.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 2:00 PM
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35

Actually, I think the metaphor of disarming a fallacy isn't that bad. St-phen Menn gave a really interesting talk here earlier in the year about the Sophistical Refutations and the post-Socrates sophists and their practices, etc.; if your doctrines were the object of a (as he put it) target sophism (he singles out the third man argument as such a sophism, actually, and claims Plato got it from actual sophists), it would be helpful to know how to disarm it.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 2:00 PM
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36

noisome
i'd say noiseful :)
someone clumsy and old doing carefully rehearsed hip-hop dance steps
that would be awesome, i mean the dance steps, not Marcel's writing of course


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 2:01 PM
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37

I feel sorry for the guy.

I suspect he got a date with someone totally out of his league (been there!), had an awkward time on the date (been there!), and then tried desperately to impress her even though he doesn't have a clue how to do it (thank god my dating days were pre-email).

But it's more fun to mock him if we picture him as a pretentious blowhard, right?


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 2:01 PM
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38

That letter is not so much unreadable as it is illegible, or rather not illegible because indeed it consists of characters formed and decipherable, but ineligible: unqualified for the human eyes it was meant for. As I gazed at it, dazed, bored, uninterested, indifferent, apathetic, I could only think that reading the first sentence was enough.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 2:03 PM
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39
Yet I would be utterly glad and grateful to see you in this way before you go back home for the summer, thus I am assuming you are going back home, etc.

Wow.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 2:03 PM
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40

"Disarming a fallacy" wouldn't be bad if that was a good metaphor for what he was doing.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 2:03 PM
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41

it's more fun to mock him if we picture him as a pretentious blowhard Eli Lake


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 2:05 PM
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42

26 is going in my next syllabus.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 2:06 PM
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43

I would buy 37, except that his letter, even if well-written, would still be self-aggrandizing.

What he's aspiring to be is pretty loathesome - a self-regarding, show-offy know-it-all. It's not like he was clumsily trying to be hip, or intellectual (in the sense of conversant with the life of the mind). He was clumsily trying to be a broody genius, or something (it is a bit hard to tell through all the malapropery).

I will admit that, at least from what I could wade through, he seemed willing to throw a few bones at the woman, and self-deprecate a bit. But all that really shows is that he's at least somewhat familiar with human socialization.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 2:07 PM
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44

41: You know what? Despite the image over at Jezebel, I think I actually was picturing him as Eli Lake.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 2:08 PM
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45

-of course, after 37
Marcel and Lidia sound incompatible names
that's why you people got bored imo, plus the language maybe, i also skipped many sentences
but that's my attention deficit


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 2:11 PM
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46

I hope, in this comment, dear reader, by the suitable dispensation of such techniques as, diction, onomatopoeia, and cunnilingus, to illustrate the substantial esteem for you, that you yourself provoke in me, that I hold you in, in substantial degree.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 2:26 PM
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47

See, 46 sounds like w-lfs-n.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 2:27 PM
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48

COMES NOW the onomatopoeia: Bloop


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 2:28 PM
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49

I miss Standpipe Bridgeplate.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 2:35 PM
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50

49 before the cunnilingus, even.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 2:36 PM
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51

Maybe like someone clumsy and old doing carefully rehearsed hip-hop dance steps

You mean like this? Or more like this?


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 2:36 PM
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52

Lidia broke things off after learning about his criminal record, but she owes a debt of gratitude to Marcel, who in the space of two dates taught her the enduring lesson[...]

Uh, he actually appears to have gotten his second date, so I think this letter should count as a success.


Posted by: ed bowlinger | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 2:41 PM
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53

I was willing to believe it was genuine until I reached this point: "These hints concerning a furtherance of our relational interaction consisting of entertaining events..."

Now I'm convinced it's a revival of the barber character from A Bit of Fry and Laurie.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 3:03 PM
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54

Maybe he's a database admin.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 3:07 PM
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55

53: Brilliant comparison.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 3:08 PM
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56

I'm with 37.

I'm all for deflating the pretensions of powerful men who behave like assholes, but...this guy doesn't seem to fit that category at all. Is that his real name that has been posted at the website? and did he give permission to have his letter/email publicly broadcast in this way? This just seems cruel.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 3:33 PM
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57

Is that his real name that has been posted at the website?

No.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 3:34 PM
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58

The title of the feature ("Crap Email from a Dude") certainly doesn't imply that those mocked will be powerful.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 3:41 PM
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59

All dudes are powerful. Dudeness is a route to great wisdom, ancient techniques, and mystical power unknowable to the undude. Like the force, though, dudeness has a light side and a... dork... side.

This guy wasn't being passive aggresive or sullen or any of the other crap things you hear about so much in the crap e-mail field, he just sort of seems like a loser. I feel bad for him. Not enough to stop making fun of him, but I do feel bad. His inantiquatecies on display like this; it must be unpainless.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 3:49 PM
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60

This just seems cruel.

That's what Pentheus said.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 4:00 PM
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61

In an odd way, while the internet frees up a lot of gratuitous cruelty, as we all would have acknowledged on the thread we were right not to have this week, it can have the opposite effect. It can enable the kind of pity and sympathy for someone like this that would be hard to express irl, certainly if you were likely to attract his amorous attention by doing it, or just from us bystanders.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 4:06 PM
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62

||
All you transhumanist freaks can start planning your infinite robot futures.
|>


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 4:08 PM
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34: I met my boyfriend b/c he was impressed that that title was on my "favorite books" list on my online perv profile.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 4:10 PM
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64

("Antiquate," etc., I bet are the results of poor spelling + implicit trust in spellcheck.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 4:11 PM
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65

'antiquate', he wanted to say old-fashioned, that's all
i read it all now and it's funny
it sounds as if it were a stylization or a parody of Beckett, imho, i've read last last week Molloy, Malone dies and the Unnameable, so very very enjoyable


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 4:14 PM
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66

65.1: I don't think he did, read.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 4:15 PM
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67

||

Way #576 in which Unfogged rocks: I just called mrh from a car dealership to chat about his Prius. (I did not buy the overpriced, high mileage, used one available to me and he was super-sweet and helpful and his enthusiasm convinced me to plan for a minimally more expensive new one instead.)

|>


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 7:48 PM
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68

All nixed, unchosen relationships, with their indecipherable trains of thought, will become antiquated by their inadequacies.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-28-08 7:56 PM
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69

Motherfucker needs a Stelazine.


Posted by: W. Kiernan | Link to this comment | 05-29-08 7:47 AM
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