Responding To Fan Mail

by Travis Mateer

For this post I’m using my real name because someone out there really wants to convey to me that writing under a pseudonym is an act of cowardice. This message couldn’t be posted as a comment or sent to me via email. Nope, this anonymous critic (irony alert!) has now sent two letters to the non-profit where I work to let me know how cowardly I am for hiding behind William Skink.

When I told one of my co-workers about this letter she admitted to Googling me and finding this piece I submitted to Last Best News after leaving my job at the shelter. I couldn’t ask for a more perfect example that illustrates why I choose to maintain a thin firewall between the name on my pay stub and the name on my blog post.

The stigma of being a “conspiracy theorist” keeps getting more ominous. I heard an interview recently on NPR about an Atlantic piece titled The Making Of An American Nazi. This is the part that stuck with me:

INSKEEP: Did he go straight to white supremacy?

O’BRIEN: No, he went first into what I like to call trutherville (ph) – this kind of horror-scape (ph) of conspiracy theorists and raving lunatics online, the most notable figure among them being Alex Jones and…

INSKEEP: This is the conspiracy theorist who has been praised by President Trump, and the president has appeared on his program.

O’BRIEN: Right. And I think what a lot of people don’t realize about Alex Jones is that he actually is a gateway into white nationalism because a lot of these white nationalists arrive at their hateful views through conspiracy theories. And his ideology is starting to take shape over time as he dwells in these echo chambers online. And he was trying to create his own echo chamber and attract disciples to it so that he could then have his own following.

Do I believe in conspiracy theories? Some of them, yes, so check. Am I white? Definitely, so check. Do I try to understand the election of Trump as something more nuanced than every vote being from a hateful racist Nazi thug ready to goose-step with Putin to destroy America? Yes, I do try to understand things beyond the 2 minutes of hate our Orwellian propagandists attempt to instigate through corporate media, so check, check and check.

The mistake the sender of this hate mail is making is the assumption William Skink is just a mask I use to hide behind. William Skink is much more than that.

So stay tuned…

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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17 Responses to Responding To Fan Mail

  1. petetalbot says:

    This will be of little consolation, I’m sure, but I just received an anonymous hate letter at my home. It came with a Missoula postmark but no return address or, of course, signature. Chickenshit stuff, am I right?

    • my name and employer address was typed on a separate sheet of paper, then cut out and taped to the envelope, what did yours look like?

      • petetalbot says:

        Same! My address was typed on a separate piece of paper and taped to the envelope. The letter was full of typos. The last line was “You are fraud like Trump” … whatever the hell that means. Rather bizarre that he targeted you and me. Anybody else out there?

    • petetalbot says:

      Yeah, it’s tough being white — slavery, lynchings and centuries of discrimination. Where did you find this, some white supremacist website? It’s a new low for you, Swede.

      • Eric says:

        They obviously don’t know you Pete, if they say you are like Trump. That crap has always been out of line. Don’t overlook the possibility that is a wacko from the left, just trying to manipulate you.

      • Big Swede says:

        Happy to engage you with a few facts Pete. First of all every white slave owner who flung the whip or handled the rope is dead.

        Second, From 1882 to 1968 we (states) lynched 3,446 blacks. In the two years of 2010 and 2011 blacks murdered 4,906 other blacks. Chicago just elapsed their record of 600 murders.

        Yeah I know. Math is racist.

  2. Steve W says:

    Let me get this straight. Some flounder is all up in arms at Pete because Pete uses his name but also all up in arms at Mr Skink aka TM? (Travis Mateer)because he doesn’t use his name?

    I guess there is just no pleasing some people.

    Swede probably sent it. It sounds like his MO.

  3. Big Swede says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to all you Bernie supporters.

  4. Turner says:

    The idiots who stomp around in Nazi drag aren’t the main problem. It’s the ordinary Joes whose casual assumption of white supremacy underlies their views on virtually everything.

  5. Imagine a playground surrounded by a chain link fence. Children squeal and laugh within its confines, knowing they are safe. One day the fence is removed, the children cluster in the middle of the playground, no longer feeling safe.

    This is an allegory, the children representing people we call “journalists,” the fence the notion of a “conspiracy theory.” Amazingly, our perception managers have convinced most of us that natural curiosity is a sign of mental illness, and incuriosity a higher form of intelligence. They have conditioned us to avoid thinking.

    Journalists are like squealing children safe to play within defined boundaries. The fence scares them. They would not know what to think without it.

    FWIW, Travis, bans at POM are only for a week or so – your insults to my dear-departed brother made me angry at you. But I get over it. I am just writing this in case I am banned here in retaliation.

  6. Haszie Marshall says:

    I’m a newbie trying to open up my mind for conspiracy theories… I am intrigued by 2 websites super interesting but still do not know what of make of it. What is your objective and sincere opinion of the following ones: and You seem to be objective in this matter.

    • smells like bait, but oh well. I have not looked into the Mathis at all, and POM is not a site I can speak objectively about. I would point you to Rigorous Intuition, though it has declined some during the glory days of blogging.

  7. Haszie Marshall says:

    Travis, OK. No worries, if you want to keep it to yourself for now, that’s fine… perhaps you write some day about it. No bait. No trap. No agent. No spook. I put those 2 sites in the same bag. Thanks for the other blog recommendation, though.

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