Zack Responds To Negative Feedback

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I assumed when I started my blog 16 months ago that I was inviting torrents of hateful, angry email. Really, I haven’t gotten much. I don’t have a huge readership, so that makes some sense. People do disagree with certain posts here and there, which is great—I love critical feedback and the opportunity to grow and learn from other perspectives. I don’t always change my mind, but hey, you can’t win ’em all. 😉

That’s why I’m kind of delighted today to get my first real piece of hate mail. I don’t mean that I was threatened or anything, I just mean that someone lashed out with what they think about what I do here on the blog. And since it’s the first, I thought I’d take the time to recognize it and respond to it. It’s from a complete stranger, so it’s essentially anonymous. Still, I don’t want anyone to think I’m closed to feedback. If you want to read the whole email exactly as it appeared in my inbox, click on the image below. If you don’t want any spoilers, scroll down and enjoy my conversational responses.

The subject of the email was, “crap.”


Since in your “about me” you stated several times that you wanted to hear feedback about your ideas, I figured I’d give you a piece of my mind.

Great! I love hearing from my readers! Thanks for taking the time!

First of all, your snarky, chip on the shoulder “I’m an American so I can say whatever I want!!!!” attitude doesn’t do anything for the reputation of the other gays and atheists in the world.

Well, technically, I am an American, and I can say pretty much whatever I want. (Thank you to the Founding Fathers for that!) I don’t like oppression or the enshrining of bad ideas, so I suppose I can get a little feisty sometimes. (I may have picked up the chip living in Iowa.) I also like to infuse wit into my writing, and I’m from the northeast, so I can be kind of blunt about it. Frankly, I generally think of “snarky” as a compliment, so thanks for that! Perhaps you meant “smarmy,” which I would take less liking to. I am really sorry if you don’t always like my attitude, but I try to be articulate and well-reasoned. While some might take offense to what I write, I am (hopefully) never motivated by the sole intent of offending. Could you tell me more about the reputation of gays and atheists so I know what I’m doing wrong?

Gays, specifically , hold the reputation of being inconsiderate, self-serving and emotionally unstable.

Tell that to the Sassy Gay Friend. By the way, do you think our perceived emotional instability has anything to do with constantly being demonized, disparaged, and condemned by mainstream religions and society? I’m just saying, you might be proving your own point.

I have several gay friends that even admit to this.

Why would you be friends with people who are inconsiderate, self-serving, and emotionally unstable? It doesn’t sound like those kinds of people would make very good friends. Are you friends with them out of pity? Or do you just call them “friends” to feel better about yourself when you demonize, disparage, and condemn them?

I agree that it’s wonderful that we live in a country where we are able to express ourselves freely, but when trying to gain support and sympathy for your cause, you might want to try a less condescending, “I’m right and you’re a terrible person if you don’t agree” manner.

I remind folks that there are plenty of times and reasons when I’m a terrible person, so at least I’m fair about it, right? I try to make compelling arguments with confidence so that if people want to dissent or debate, they have the most complete and coherent thesis I can offer from which to develop their response. Please do not mistake my confidence in my own argument for an assumption of infallibility. As you pointed out in your opening sentence, I welcome feedback specifically for the opportunity to learn from others.

I can’t help but wonder, though: If my arguments leave readers such as yourself feeling like disagreement would be a bad thing, doesn’t that speak positively to the quality of my arguments and/or the style in which I present them? Also, is it possible that you feel like my argument is condescending specifically because you see validity in the way it contradicts your previously held beliefs? Thus, you would be blaming me for the negative feelings you have associated with the cognitive dissonance you are experiencing, in which case I’m sorry, but you’re welcome.

I also agree that normalcy is relative, but the fact of the matter is, putting it in Darwinesque terms ,and this should be something quite easy for an atheist to understand, gays are socially inept and contribute NOTHING to the advancement of human kind.

I think this is the part where I make some self-deprecating joke about fashion and hairstyles.

You seem to imply that you are not an atheist, which probably explains why you demonstrated that you do not understand things in Darwinian terms. Partly because I am an atheist and try to think critically, I do understand that there is no validity to your two claims. First, I think gay folks are quite apt when it comes to social interaction—we even have our own bars and bathhouses! Secondly, in addition to all the loving same-sex partners raising families, there are untold numbers of prominent gay figures throughout the history of our species. I’m not trying to be condescending in my counterargument, I’m just making the point that you are flat-out wrong and offering factual evidence to support my case.

Your mind has been corrupted by some unfortunate events as a child, and ( this is where I sympathize) you’re sentenced to a lifetime of frustration by chasing feelings you’ll never reach, and acting on emotions in a totally unnatural way.

Your sympathy is disingenuous, as it is only motivated by your misunderstanding of my identity. I suffered no corruption, nor do I feel my emotions are unnatural. I know for sure, having felt love first-hand, that my feelings are completely healthy and obtainable.

Your assumption of my life experience is wrong. It is not supported by any evidence, but merely reflects your own bias. There’s a reason homosexuality is not considered a mental disorder: because it’s not a mental disorder. It’s actually completely natural.

That, by the way, is not a matter of opinion, nor is it open to debate.

Now , if you’re not contributing to the advancement of human kind, and your life is spent making questionable emotional decisions to fit YOUR needs, doesn’t that make you naturally selfish?

I already disproved your assumption that I’m not “contributing to the advancement of human kind” (whatever that means) and demonstrated how there is nothing “questionable” about my “emotional decisions” or my “needs.” So, if those two points are the premise for the question, the question itself is irrelevant.

And just in case you wish to persist, is it selfish to want what everybody else already has? And can it be selfish to want things that don’t in any way take away from what everybody else has? If I said I wanted lots of hugs from people, would that be selfish? Would I be greedily taking an unfair share from the great hug supply?

By the way, if I ever meet you, can I have a hug?

ENTJ seems fitting for someone like you as you as its really just a polite way of saying “self-righteous prick”, but that’s just my opinion.

You seem to suggest you have some knowledge of the MBTI, given that you seem to understand what an ENTJ is. However, you also suggest that one’s type is chosen, as opposed to naturally presenting in a person’s personality, which unfortunately belies the understanding you think you have. Your opinion, thus, doesn’t seem to carry much weight.

I will admit that being an ENTJ does lend itself to being perceived as a self-righteous prick, but generally only by those who can’t appreciate that I might just think about the world and express myself in different ways than they do.

I was going to make an ironic joke here about my inability to connect with “bleeding-heart cowards,” but I don’t want to come off as insensitive.

(Hooray for meta-irony!)

Curious, when did you decide to be an atheist?

Great question! Here’s a link to the post I just wrote about it last week!

Was this the easy choice since most religions agree that gays are damned souls, or did you lose faith in a higher being because of the frustrations of being gay(including whatever puzzle piece that’s missing from your childhood that “made” you gay)?

Well, nothing “made” me gay, and the only frustrations about being gay are hateful, condemning ignoramuses like you, so those two points don’t seem to apply. I wouldn’t say I lost my faith. That seems to suggest I wasn’t trying hard enough or that I failed. I, in fact, disavowed my faith.

What gives you the right to try and force your way of thinking on people(Christians in general since America IS based on Christian beliefs and large majority of Americans are Christian)whose beliefs are based on 1000s of years of history?

Pot, meet kettle. Have you been reading Texas history textbooks again? There’s your problem.

For the record, I’m not trying to force my way of thinking; I’m just trying to encourage higher levels of thinking.

I also rarely trust majorities, nor should I be beholden to their will on matters of rights and freedoms. Why, you ask? Ask Rand Paul.

Not only that, but to act as if there is something wrong with THEM when they don’t agree with you? That’s a little illogical for Mr. Logical isn’t it?

Well, it depends on why they’re disagreeing with me. If their dissent is founded entirely on delusional beliefs in an imaginary deity, then I find that I have little reason to respect their point of view. If, however, they offer sound evidence and substance to support their argument, I’ll always hear them out. That seems like a logical approach to me.

Anyways, gotta leave work.

Aight, later! I hope the negative feelings I elicited through my condescending snark didn’t take too much away from your productivity today!

P.S Promise im not gay bashing, re read it and it sure does sound that way, but I have nothing against gays, like I said, I have many gay friends, I just think being gay is directly related to a corruption of the mind at an early age.


Well, here’s the thing, Matt. The fact that you espouse your misguided assumption about the “cause” of homosexuality makes you liable for the oppression of gay people. It’s nice to say you like us and all, but what you’re doing by believing this falsehood is hurting us. If you think we are corrupted, then you can’t help but see us as “less than.” Combine that with assuming we contribute nothing to humanity and you are doing quite a bit of bashing whether you realize it or not.

Thanks for your letter. It was fun to respond to! I hope you’ll write again soon!

Much love and warmest regards,


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There are 9 Comments to "Zack Responds To Negative Feedback"

  • Buffy says:

    My, you got a real live one there.   As always, you handled it fabulously.  The only thing I might have added is the all-important reference to the Treaty of Tripoli (which I provide for any fool who tosses out that “Amurka is based on Christianity” nonsense).

  • ZackFord says:

    Sometimes I think it’s helpful to just ignore fallacious points and not humor them at all, especially when there’s such a plethora of evidence against them. 😛

  • a. mcewen says:

    LOL. congratulations and keep at it. You are obviously causing a reaction. The audience will increase in time.

  • Joe G. says:

    I always feel a sense of reassurance when someone tells me, “I have nothing against gays.”

  • Lasers says:

    I think you hold too much stock in your blog. You are not forging pathways in social justice; all you are doing is playing on internet at 3 in the morning. I think you should take some time away from it and think about the things that really matter. I find a lot of things that you write on here to be condescending and alienating, and personally, I think that a website like this is a poor choice to have up and searchable and that maybe you should rethink it’s importance in your life. I can’t help but think that, with your credentials, this blog might be standing in the way of potential job offers.

  • Shirley says:

    Oh dear, how unkind. I’m sorry you had to get a nasty email like that 🙁

  • Megan says:

    Hate mail is THE BEST.

  • ZackFord says:

    Lasers, there is some validity to your point. The reason I started the blog and the primary reason I continue to write it is for my own sake. I enjoy the opportunity to stay tuned into issues and to try to process and synthesize them in my own way.

    Until I get my foot in the door, the blog is important to me to keep me focused and thinking about issues of social justice and higher education. Do I think I’m some brilliant hero of social justice? No. Do I think that some of my ideas are original and challenge the status quo? Yes. Am I always the best at delivering my message? No. And that’s something I always try to work on. I don’t want to be condescending and alienating and I try not to be, but I know I don’t always succeed.

    At this point, I haven’t received any negative feedback from employers about my blog. Could it be that they are simply not sharing it? Sure. Still, it’s a project that I’m proud of. I think I’ve grown a lot in my writing and delivery since I started it, and I hope to continue that growth. Once I’m employed full-time, it might fall be the wayside, and that might be okay too. For now, it’s an opportunity to challenge myself and stay productive, plus spur some hopefully interesting dialogues.

    Thanks for your comment.

  • J Doe says:

    I hope he writes again – I’m so close to getting a bingo!

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