Any more great old "angry tweets" we can dig up?

Continuing the discussion from Letter from Mark Twain to a snake oil peddler: “You, sir, are the scion of an ancestral procession of idiots stretching back to the Missing Link”:

I do so love this stuff, especially by writers who really know how to savor their opprobrium.

Here’s a pair of letters my wife’s grandfather Dalton Trumbo sent to the Los Angeles Telephone Signal Company back in 1948, from his somewhat remote ranch in Frazier Park. Apparently he’d already had some unsatisfactory dealings with the outfit. The baby he mentions is my mother-in-law, all of three years old at the time. At the time of these letters, Trumbo had been blacklisted and unable to work openly for some eleven months since the Waldorf Statement.

Lazy T Ranch
Frazier Park, California
November 8, 1948

Dear burglars:

Our baby sleeps in one bedroom and we sleep in another. When she yelps at night we cannot hear her. A man said you were the people to see about such things.

Can you install a speaker in her room and one in ours, so we can gossip back and forth with her during the wee small hours? Not one of your solid gold outfits. Something sensible and serviceable. I am not a rich man anymore.

The distance along the floorboards from her room to ours is no more than seventy-five feet; and if you go through the roof, it will be much less.

Now let’s all get together and see if we can arrange a decent, modest little outfit for an old customer without screwing him to death in the process.

Irritably yours,
Dalton Trumbo

A week later, having received a less-than-satisfactory reply, Trumbo responded thus:

Lazy T Ranch
Frazier Park, California
November 15, 1948

My dear Mr. Fourness:

Your letter has arrived and been put to the only sensible use I could think of. When we Reds come into power we are going to shoot merchants in the following order: (1) those who are greedy, and (2) those who are witty. Since you fall into both categories it will be a sad story when we finally lay hands on you.

I had hoped time might have improved your character, but the prices you quote convince me otherwise. You still cannot imagine a happy moment which does not find your fist in somebody else’s pocket. Since I have very little choice in the matter, I must yield.

Send the set described and with it a man for installation. I have no intention of creeping about the house on all fours with a wire in one hand, a hammer in the other and my larynx clogged with tacks. Besides, I want the wire to go through the ceiling, and unlike your associates I am no second-story man. Also, let’s arrange for a weekday job. There is no urgency about the matter, and I have little taste for that weekend overtime racket.

The bill should be sent to my new business manager, whose name is Rex Cole… I have employed him because he hates creditors and does not pay them too promptly. You will feel better over Thanksgiving and Christmas if you have something to look forward to during the hangover period which follows; and I tell you quite frankly that it will probably be sixty days before you get your money. Considering what you’ve done to me, I ought to make you wait the full nine months.

Naturally I hope this will be the last time I shall be obliged to do business with you, although I daresay the junk you’ve pushed off on me will soon begin to wear out and we shall have to start the whole weary routine over again. Please extend my good wishes for the holiday season to everyone in the thuggery.

Dalton Trumbo

Anyone else read (or written) any good ones lately?


There are some doozies in here.

Many of these are like a punch in the gut. This 1885 letter excoriating racists in San Francisco, well, I guess racism is still a work in progress, 250 years later.

excerpt via Google Books

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this guy Trent was a friend of a friend; worked for a machine parts company. He took an indirect, baffle-em-with-bullshit approach to his foe:

July 2, 1993

Mr. Larry “Sleepy” Haller
Westover Dairy
P.O. Box xxxx
Lynchburg, VA 24506


We’ve been a-wondering, if you people are ever going to come up with the purchasing plan directed toward the statements by which we endorse and do pursue on a quarterly basis.

It has been brought to our respective sales force, regarding the void on the “last raw deal gone down.” Is there such a need for the violence inherited in the system by which your maintenance dept. has incurred and does thus exhibit toward the masses of merchants designed to bring the necessary goods and services desired by the private and commercial sectors of this country.

Without doubt, there is flaws by which no man can avoid when being confronted by conflicting sales offers and suggestive mailers, designed to produce accurate portrayals of existing companies and their products which are then reduced to menial subjective paraphernalia. Neither which you or I could ever hope to comprehend by such universal reasoning with such cosmic matter being masqueraded by whirlwinds of mechanical apparatuses of it.

With all due respect and sincerity,

Mike Hunt

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I’m a little baffled myself… Although I did laugh at the sign off.

The letter is pretty verbose, and the best I can get of it is that “Mike Hunt” is angry about… The prices quoted by a vendor, I think?

There was some history of Trent regarding them as a “problem client” somehow, but the anonymous Mike Hunt is not even trying to make any sense, I don’t think. But he wants them to think he thinks that he makes sense. Or something.

EDIT: it says here he calls his strategy “stupid-talkin.’”

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It looks like about half of my 10th grade English and Social studies reports. It’s pointless to give 16 year-olds 5,000 word minimums, when they can pull up a thesaurus on their phone and string together 20 or 30 word sentences that are 95% adjectives. We weren’t wordsmiths so much as word-sausage-linking-machines. Give us a 30 foot intestine and we definitely could fill it with chicken lips and pork ears.


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