It’s been eleven years since I started writing for the Daily Press. Including my monthly “The Snide World of Sports,” and the occasional book and DVD reviews, I’ve written over 600 columns. As some writers might relate, “I’m still trying to get it right.” While it’s a challenge each week to come up with a new subject, this week’s column literally came to me. In retrospect, I wish it hadn’t.
Over the years I’ve received dozens of reader emails, which, for the most part, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. But I’ve had my share of “odd responses.” In one column many years ago I castigated J. Edgar Hoover, whose recorded included, in my opinion, so much abuse of power as to be criminal,
I questioned then and still do, why the FBI building is still named after Hoover. Included in the column was a reference to Hoover’s J. Edgar’s infamous “pink chiffon dress” that he reportedly wore to numerous parties he hosted.
I mentioned Hoover’s dress because of so many reported incidents where he blackmailed homosexuals. Hoover was FBI Director under seven presidents and even essentially blackmailed them. Lest they ever consider firing him, Hoover would cleverly let each know what he knew, “It’s a good thing this came to me, Mr. President, rather than one of your enemies.”
After that column I received a series of emails from a seemingly very intelligent female reader who was offended by my “making fun of cross-dressers.” I wrote back that I wasn’t making fun of cross-dressers in general, I was making fun of Hoover who seemed to have a predilection for cross-dressing. This exchange went back and forth until she accused me of being “a secret cross dresser.” No matter how I assured her that was not the case, she would respond, “Spoken like a true cross-dresser.”
As I look back those exchanges were charming by comparison to a certain reader’s voice mails this week. At first I found them amusing but as I listened more I found them chilling. And, surprise, surprise it was from a Trump supporter and a very drunk one at that.
On Monday I received an email from Matt Hall, the SMDP editor, saying that a reader had left 9 anonymous and somewhat disturbing voice mails in response to my column last week. Hall offered to make an audio copy and send them to me via email if I wanted to hear them. I thought why not. Now I wish I hadn’t. (Or wish I could hit “delete” on my memory of them.”)
Never revealing his name, the reader was completely drunk and, unfortunately, also completely anti-Semitic. Early on, he revealed such hatred for Jews, I found it depressing to say the least. He used about every anti-Semitic slur I’ve ever heard and added what should happen to Jews. “And you know what I mean,” he said menacingly, Later, and a more than once, he added, “The little guy didn’t finish the job.” (Clearly a reference to Hitler.)
Having listened to two of the nine tapes, I started to get angry and concerned by his not so veiled threats. I decided to call the police. SMPD basically suggested I listen to all nine tapes, make notes of actual threats and get back to them. Frankly, I found the caller’s hate-filled rants so ugly, I’d rather be shot than to have to listen to one more word.
Oddly enough, I also I sensed tragedy to his rants. In his drunken state, he lamented about serious injuries he sustained while a construction worker on a high-rise “Tishman building.” He apparently filed a law suit but complained, “Suing one Jew means you’re suing all of them.”
Some might say I’m not being fair, but why am I not surprised the caller was such an avid Trump supporter. I’ve suggested for over a year now that Trump has somehow legitimized hate. Watching a hate-filled Trump rally during the campaign caused me to observe sadly, They were a rope away from a lynch mob.”
Obviously, the vast majority of Trump supporters are not racists. That said, if you were a racist and looking for a party and a candidate in the 2016 election, the GOP’s Donald Trump would be your man.
On election night in 2008, as Obama gave an inspiring speech from Chicago’s Grant Park before a huge crowd, I hoped we were entering a new post racial era. Sadly, I was naive.
Talk about sad, on the eve of the NBA Finals, Lebron James revealed somberly that a racial slur was spray painted on the gate to his Brentwood mansion. Meanwhile, nine anti-Semetic voice mails are on my computer. Actually, after I send this column to print, I’m going to hit delete. In the real world, if only it were that easy.
Jack is at facebook.com/jackneworth, twitter.com/jackneworth and firstname.lastname@example.org.