Monday, March 5

Accosted by a genius.

We bloggers get some right old emails, we really do. Here's one from last week. Much as I'd love not to, I've changed the perp's name and removed his address and the auto-signature of his place of work; the rest stands unedited. [Update: Would you believe he's complained about the anonymity? Well, he has. So I've changed it back to his real name.]

Subject:   RE: Yahoo! Groups: Welcome to squandertwoblog. Visit today!
From:   "TODD Simon"
Date:   02/03/2007 10:53

Yeah with a load of incorrect crap in there contact me now

Simon TODD
Policy Administrator


You might notice the odd subject line. Simon TODD couldn't find or understand the link marked "Send me an email" so instead subscribed to the blog's mailing list and then replied to its welcome message. Not the most straightforward way to email me, but hey. Mr TODD's inability to navigate a simple website will become even more apparent shortly.

This sort of thing surprises me, it really does. I mean, whatever you think of their opinions, would you ever think it acceptable to make something like that your first contact with a stranger? I know email is less formal than traditional letters, but still. And what happened to writing in sentences? Or even just vaguely coherently?

Anyway, I thought I'd find out what this guy's problem was. Hey, I was bored.

From:   Joseph Kynaston Reeves
Sent:   02 March 2007 12:35

Hello, Mr Todd.

Thanks for contacting me. May I politely inquire what the problem is?

Thank you.

Joseph Kynaston Reeves


From:   "TODD Simon"
Date:   02/03/2007 12:38

This:

"Northern Ireland is not owned by "the British"; it is administrated by the British Government. There are, of course, lots of perfectly good arguments for having the province administrated by the Irish Government instead, but none of those arguments have anything to do with giving back stolen property, and such talk of stolen property emotively clouds the issue. Which is why Gerry Adams talks in those terms all the time."
Etc etc.....

This can be found at:

http://www.squandertwo.net/blog/
archive/2005_09_01_archive.htm

who wrote this?

Simon TODD
Policy Administrator


Ah. Here's the post in question. (If you've not already, I recommend reading it before continuing this exchange.) So, looks like I've upset another Irish Republican. I hope I'll be able to live with myself.

He's already contacted me but hasn't figured out who wrote the post yet? Oh dear. And I'm not about to be overly helpful to someone this rude.

From:   Joseph Kynaston Reeves
Sent:   02 March 2007 12:59

Mr Todd,

You certainly are very polite.

You might notice that every post on the blog has a byline, and that there is also an FAQ page. You may use these resources to find out who wrote any of the posts.

The blog also has a commenting facility, allowing all readers a quick and easy right of reply.

Thanks for reading.

Joseph Kynaston Reeves


From:   "TODD Simon"
Date:   02/03/2007 13:01

Dear Joseph,

Why tank you for a most prompt reply, you are most certainly rather polite your good self.

May I please request of you in this case the electronic mail address of the author of the comments outlined below.

Your kind reply is much appreciated and eagerly awaited.

Warmest regards,

Simon TODD
Policy Administrator


Apparently, even with the instructions spelled out for him, clicking the obvious "FAQ" link on every page of this blog, reading the answer to the first question ("What's your name? Joseph Kynaston Reeves."), and comparing it to the name of the person he's emailing is too much trouble. Worse than that, his sarcasm's horribly leaden. It makes me wince in pity just to read it.

Much fun as it would have been to string this out for a couple of days, it wouldn't really. I was actually curious to find out what his problem was, so that I could get on with telling him to sod off.

From:   Joseph Kynaston Reeves
Sent:   02 March 2007 13:18

Mr Simon,


Oops: got his name wrong. I do hope this didn't aggravate him at all.

I wrote the post. It is my blog. My pseudonym is Squander Two. Again, this is all explained rather clearly on the site, specifically so that I don't have to painstakingly explain it to every single reader individually by email.

Joseph Kynaston Reeves


From:   "TODD Simon"
Date:   02/03/2007 13:22

Dear Joseph,

I express my utmost gratitude for another speedy reply.

May I ask do you come from Ireland sir?

Simon TODD
Policy Administrator


Oh, for God's sake, cut to the chase. Looks like I'm about to get a tirade of "If you're not Irish, you don't understand the history... potato famine... black and tans... get back to England... up the rebels... the visionary Jim Sheridan... Tir na Nog, etc." So I prepare myself to explain to this cretin that one does not need to be Irish to make a very basic point about property rights and land ownership.

From:   Joseph Kynaston Reeves
Sent:   02 March 2007 13:52

Mr Simon,

I come from the UK and live in Northern Ireland.

Joseph Kynaston Reeves


From:   "TODD Simon"
Date:   02/03/2007 13:54

Dear Joseph,

Your website comments amaze me even more in that case. As you live in Northern Ireland you will be ware that it is part of the UK and not Ireland.

Please remove the post.

Thanks,

Simon TODD
Policy Administrator


OK, at this point, I laughed. Brilliant; utterly brilliant. The build-up, the timing... this is comedy gold. I'm just not entirely sure that it's meant to be.

From:   Joseph Kynaston Reeves
Sent:   02 March 2007 14:11

Dear Mr Simon,

Yes, I am aware of which country I live in, but thanks for the reminder anyway. Allow me to return the favour by letting you know that West Sussex [Simon TODD's location] is in England.

I shan't be removing the post, no, but I do thank you profusely for providing the most amusing correspondence I've had from an irate reader in months.

Cheers.

Joseph Kynaston Reeves


From:   "TODD Simon"
Date:   02/03/2007 14:19

Dear Joseph,

Thank you for your kind e-mail. I am aware that West Sussex is in England. England also happens to be part of the United Kingdom as is Northern Ireland.

The fact is you amuse me more than I do you. I have never read anything as incorrect as that in my life and am not irate, in fact I am still giggling at it.

There are many people like yourself who fail to admit a geographical fact. You coming from the mainland and living in Northern Ireland and still not knowing this is quite frankly hilarious.

I think you should carefully reconsider your decision on removing the post.

Kind Regards,

Simon TODD
Policy Administrator


From:   Joseph Kynaston Reeves
Sent:   02 March 2007 15:01

Mr Simon,

I have no idea where you got the idea that I don't think Northern Ireland is part of the UK. Perhaps it came from the same place as the notion that website owners should remove content of which you do not approve.

Joseph Kynaston Reeves


From:   "TODD Simon"
Date:   2 March 2007 15:01:47 GMT+00:00

I think I got the notion from the following:

"Northern Ireland is not owned by "the British"; it is administrated by the British Government. There are, of course, lots of perfectly good arguments for having the province administrated by the Irish Government instead, but none of those arguments have anything to do with giving back stolen property, and such talk of stolen property emotively clouds the issue. Which is why Gerry Adams talks in those terms all the time."
Etc etc.....

http://www.squandertwo.net/blog/
archive/2005_09_01_archive.htm

it is completely Republican

Simon TODD
Policy Administrator


And I left it at that. If Mr TODDis a fictional creation — and I still half-suspect that he might be — allow me to congratulate his creator on a job well done. If not, well... blimey.

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