by Victor Wanchena
There are few things that get myself and the rest of the staff here as excited as a good angry letter. You might think that a shiny new demo bike or riding assignment would get the creative pens going. But the fact is, nothing gets us in the mood to write like a good angry letter.
They come in many flavors. There is the Uni-Bomber-like manifestos, complete with suspicious markings and lack of a return address. We make the interns open these.They typically are incensed by something we’ve said and need to set the record straight. Then there’s the ransom note style; complete with demands for us to do certain things or else they’ll stop picking up a copy of our FREE newspaper. Some are emailed from people who sign with nicknames like “Digger” or “Weed. Some are well reasoned and make a valid point. Others baffle us with undecipherable logic or better yet, name-calling.
So why do we like these letters so much? You might think that since many moto-journalists are thin skin types that cry foul when you challenge anything they write that we would bury these attacks on our publication and speak of them no more. But the fact is when someone finds something in MMM that upsets them to the point that they feel the need to express it in written form, it means they actually read and pondered what we put out. It’s a high compliment that a person was moved enough by our words to express their anger in written form. This courage is amplified when you consider that we will undoubtedly tear apart every aspect of the letter in our rebuttal.
One of my favorites falls into the Uni-Bomber category. It arrived in a simple manilla envelope bearing no return address. The postmark showed Minneapolis, but that was the only clue to it’s origin. After the intern had verified it contained no Anthrax spores, we read the contents. It was a short letter, for a manifesto, odd in that the writer combined both praise for MMM and then inferred that a couple of staffers were gay. This melding of a compliment and homophobia has since to be duplicated. It was signed in a scribbled signature. As best as we could discern, the writer went under the moniker of Wanny Hank.
Another great was a fellow that boasted of how he had ridden a couple of different brands of motorcycles, but now had seen the light. He had forsaken all reason and purchased a Boss Hoss. Not only did he see this as a path to enlightenment, but he also derided us for not being manly enough to ride a “real bike”. Signed, simply, “Boss Hoss Man”.
Then there was the fellow that wrote in to point out a couple of technical inaccuracies in a bike review. Normally we would thank a reader for catching our mistake. But in this case, the writer was referring to a story written seven years prior. Due to this time lag, we taunted this bolt-spotter by planting two inaccuracies into the issue along with our response. His charge was to find them before the year 2010. We are still waiting.
So write away. Your anger brings us great joy and we thank you for sharing it.