THE TRUMP supporters didn’t like me much in 2016. “Interesting take in your column today,” wrote one the day after the election. “It guarantees you will continue to be employed by the elitist oligarchs that own your media and just got kicked in the nuts by Trump’s win.”
The same column provoked this: “As someone who grew up in Victoria and left as soon as I could and am now a very proud American, I have to say your article was not only wrong but a joke. Canadians, especially borderline communists, should not comment on the U.S. or its politics unless you live here, pay taxes and understand the system.”
This was a couple of days after a warning from a Trump fan in Victoria: “I foresee sell-outs like yourself being hunted down, prosecuted and hung for treason against the people. And of course I’ll help construct the guillotines.”
I wanted to reply “I believe you mean ‘gallows,’ ” but thought better of it. Best not to poke the bear.
Gosh, don’t know what got the Trumpians’ knickers in a knot this year. Maybe it was the time I called their man “vain, bellicose, mean, ill-informed, racist and a truth-twister with the integrity of a $4 umbrella (not that I mean that in a negative way) who treats women as though they’re inflatable.”
Or maybe they didn’t like my references to his egocentricity, venality, fact-free truthiness, sex-assault allegations, business ripoffs, incitement of violence against critics and his lies about Iraq and the birther movement, or the hilarious way in which he mocked a reporter’s physical disability. Or maybe it was when I described a vicious dog as a Cujo-Trump cross. Or when I called the president-elect “a terrible human being.”
Yes, dear reader, it’s that time again. Time to dip into the mailbag and publish a selection of letters from people whose opinion of me weren’t quite as high as I might have hoped.
The nastygrams weren’t all about Trump, of course. The first shot of 2016 was actually in response to my Top 25 Stories Of 2015 piece. Including climate change on the list got me labelled a “tiny-minded climate zealot” by a non-believer. (This was after my failure to include the topic on my 2014 list drew the opposite response: “Keep writing your great column. Hope you live well above the beach.”)
After that, the missiles flew regularly, albeit from sometimes unexpected directions.
• In a piece on Victoria Hospice, I wrote that people don’t like to think about death because it “gives us the willies.” That triggered this: “Death doesn’t give the righteous the willies. You are a chronic liar and sinner, Jack Knox, so death gives YOU the willies.” He might have had a point.
• One correspondent thought it silly for me to write about Victoria historian Merna Forster’s (ultimately successful) push for more women on Canadian banknotes: “You must be getting old! You are running out of articles to print. Pencil isn’t as sharp as it was before, maybe time to hang it up.”
• When, in the same column, I said Canada’s $100 bill featured “a man who appears to be from Downton Abbey,” I got this slap on the wrist: “To trivialize Sir Robert Borden, who served as prime minister from 1911 to 1920, omits the fact he served this country during a period of considerable change including the Great War, which most historians say was a period of coming of age for Canada. It should also be noted it was during his time as PM that women’s suffrage was granted.”
• Scoffing at Esquimalt’s role in the sewage saga earned me this rebuke: “I’m disappointed. I’ve always found your articles witty and insightful. Now, I am wondering if maybe they were only witty. … Honestly, it is just too easy to dump on Esquimalt and leave out Oak Bay (in particular) bullying its way around this whole issue.”
• The same piece drew this from a Saanich resident: “Jack Knox has, perhaps unintentionally, produced a real knee slapper: the Capital Regional District is dysfunctional and only amalgamation will save us. Such is Jack’s enthusiasm for the concept that I wonder if he has become the publicist for Amalgamation Yes.”
• Esquimalt’s Tom Woods was positively gleeful in describing how the Ribfest committee decided to invite me to be a judge: “Our narrow criteria this year included a washed-up, balding, semi-literate journalist from Kamloops. After the first three more qualified ones declined, your name came up.” I, of course, leapt at the opportunity like Simba on a wildebeest.
• Among the usual assortment of ALL-CAPS comments, this was a favourite: “MAY YOU LYING REPORTERS CONTRACT SEVERE DEMENTIA FROM THE ALUMINUM/BARIUM CHEMTRAIL SPRAYING GENOCIDE THAT YOU $CUMBALL COWARDS CONTINUALLY COVER UP.”
• Trump supporters also suspected a whitewash. After I scoffed at the notion of a co-ordinated anti-Trump media conspiracy: “The media is corrupt, and so are you for trying to cover it up.”
• This came after a column on Trump refugees moving to Canada: “Many Canadians are very concerned about where our bleeding-heart Liberal PM is taking our country! Perhaps disgruntled Canadians can broker a deal with disgruntled Americans and trade places. An added bonus for all of us heading south would be no more Victoria city council to put up with and no more Jack Knox!”
• Yet when I wrote that Canada has elected its own share of populist wingnuts, I was chided with: “Definitely one of the most disgusting articles churned out by this social-justice warrior in a while.”
• After a stirring defence of the monarchy in which I contrasted the grace of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with the scumbaggery of Trump: “Jack Knox writes a very stinging article accusing fun-sucking republicans of every evil known to mankind. Perhaps Jack could spend sometime reflecting on the tens of millions who have died at the hands of the royals over the millennia.”
• A Sidney reader sent this: “I think you are one of those people that are referred to as ‘haters.’ How else can one describe your vitriolic rant on Donald Trump? Just so you know, I don’t subscribe to your rag except on Sunday for the crosswords.”
Speaking of cross words (see what I did there?), I can’t complain about any of the flame mail. It would be hypocritical to hurl tomatoes from my soapbox and then whine about getting splatted in return.
Yet mostly what I get from readers is kindness and generosity. Thanks, once again, for sticking with me, and I’ll try to do better in 2017.
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