Know Your Enemy: My Meanest Email To A Media Hack Was Also My Shortest

If you’ve visited this website long enough then you know I’m not afraid of taking up space while writing. And while it’s something I along with every other writer wants to improve on, I justify it in part with my long-held assertion that writing is often like math: you do a lot of showing your work and ultimately end up with a conclusion that, if your calculations were sound and you execute the final steps accordingly, should reveal and encapsulate the answer you were trying to communicate.

And sometimes that takes quite a bit of “showing your work.” And sometimes you end up with conclusion after conclusion after conclusion that don’t accurately reflect the hypothesis you were targeting and know to be true. So you tweak the requisite variables and equation more broadly in pursuit of that conclusion. And along the way you’re showing more and more of your work; i.e. writing a lot.

Additionally, I have a tendency to craft strongly-worded letters for media and public figures with whom I disagree. There’s a small handful who have gotten emails from me that are glowing, but for the most part I don’t start a new email unless someone made my blood boil and I want to reciprocate by inflicting a similarly painful rhetorical aftermath on them. And I tend to be pretty effective at delivering blows because people who get hate mail all day long will often respond to mine in ways that demonstrate I clearly struck a nerve.

But I sent one this morning that I won’t get a response to because it may have been too effective. (And not that it matters much, but since several of you would be curious, here is a link to the tweet the bottom-of-a-shoe-looking media hack wrote that made my blood boil and compelled me to dig up her email and drop a line directly.)

I put the recipient in a position where if she actually reads the email (and more of them do than you’d think; don’t let their faux indifference to reader feedback fool you), then she’d be forced to circle back and do the math on it. And I didn’t give her a shred of the explanation (showing my work) that I normally would in an email like this. Instead, within her bubble where nobody is as smart or thoughtful as she and her peers believe themselves to be, she just heard from someone who correctly identified what she believes to be her greatest strengths, and in a smart and succinct way challenged not only the veracity but the very existence of both of those strengths.

And I would guess that an email like this, when pondered by a holier-than-thou liberal recipient, would leave them slinking in their seats while desperately hoping none of their friends or peers ever find out they were attacked this way — because they’re afraid of actually engaging with the person who so clearly knows them, and so confidently promised to easily shatter what they’ve long believed to be the most powerful and important aspect of their existences…

Hi Emily,

I realize that you are well intended. I realize that you believe you have both the moral and intellectual high grounds. You don’t.

There are four observations in those three sentences, and every one of them is a fact.

It’s the first and last of those facts that make your entire life a punchline to be both lamented and laughed at throughout history long after you’re gone.

I’m so sorry you had to find out this way, and that this is happening to you.

Hrand Tookman

One of my most potent weapons has always been a philosophical one that aligns with an adage as old as the hills: To defeat your enemy, you must know your enemy.

To me, admittedly in contrast with most who fight alongside me and vice versa, that means knowing that leftists are in fact well-intended. They’re not purposefully evil people who wake up every day and want to kill and destroy and enslave and inflict division and pain and destruction. And I know most on my side have a very hard time hearing let alone considering or God forbid accepting that. We can debate it another day. From my seat, simply, it’s true.

And that I know it to be true gives me a tremendous leg up in the fight. For years I described it to liberals directly, like this…

If we both want the same things — freedom, prosperity, equality, justice for all — and I see your good intentions (“Giving is good,” for example) while you see only hatred, greed or some other caliber of evil in mine…then whose good intentions are likely more intellectually evolved?

The left don’t know us at all. They truly believe we’re simply evil, greedy, racist, etc. They have no idea that we even possess good intentions, let alone the thinking and philosophy that we believe will help us achieve them.

I, on the other hand, know the left quite well. I know they truly do believe they’re “doing good” when they say freedom and Liberty aren’t enough and we need a government to redistribute things of value in equitable ways. And that — consistent with their beliefs that you and I are evil and racist and greedy, etc — they truly do believe that stopping us by whatever means necessary is consistent with their allegedly morally-just pursuits.

I know the left. And I know what their good intentions are. And I know what motivates them. And I understand their thinking.

They don’t have a single effing clue who I am or what I believe. To the contrary, everything they think they know about me, is wrong.

And that gives me a very powerful advantage over them.

I’m not sure where to take all this right now. But having crafted what felt like one of the most impactful strongly-worded-letters I’d ever written, and observing how succinct and light on “showing my work” it was, and unpacking how it leaned in to my long-held belief about defeating my opposition by in part knowing my opposition, it felt like it was worth documenting. Because while it would be great if there were a few right-minded warriors out there who understand where I’m coming from and share some of these unique perspectives, I’m skeptical that many if any exist, and therefore want to at least get some of this thinking in the ethos when I’m compelled to and the opportunity presents itself in what might be an effective way.

And I can hear some of you already: “Screw all that. They want to kill us and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna sit around and entertain philosophy lessons about their ‘good intentions’ when their Soros-funded Antifa thugs are throwing bricks at my head.” That’s fair. Obviously if someone is an immediate and direct threat to you, sitting around thinking about what motivates them etc would be a poor use of your time and resources. But while many among us would like to pretend we don’t, most of us do have the luxury right now of at least giving some thought to understanding our opposition so that we can more easily defeat them. And that’s what I’ve taken a stab at putting forth here.


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