I Get (More) Email

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Love the vicious anger in this one.

Fantastical?  That must be something like fantastic, except that it isn’t a word.  Someone needs a dose of reality strong enough to pull them back from the brink of Pulitzer-wannabe ambition to the reality of red-shirt team, sometimes-contributor to Huffpost, the most feeble excuse for journalism on the planet.  Someone with an ancestor under the illusion that taking the “B” off the front of a real name, somehow created another real name.  Aha, our first clue to the origins of fantastical!  I tried this once, in grad school, with the term violencentric – and was rewarded with my only “B”.  Here’s your “B” – to do with as you please – perhaps to restore to its rightful place on the front of your name.  Keep things in perspective.  You’re barely anybody yet.  Avoid trying so hard that you become nobody before you’re somebody.

Who wants to tell him fantastical is actually a word?

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71 Responses to “I Get (More) Email”

  1. #1 |  Matt D | 

    Whatever. Everyone knows you were born Bradley Alko.

  2. #2 |  karl | 

    I can’t tell if this critique is from the law-and-order right or the communitarian left. Please advise so I can determine whether or not it is valid.

  3. #3 |  WWJGD | 

    And here, children, we have an example of stream-of-consciousness writing combined with mild cognitive disorders.

  4. #4 |  Al V | 

    “I can’t tell if this critique is from the law-and-order right or the communitarian left. Please advise so I can determine whether or not it is valid.”

    Does it matter? Both are authoritarian do-as-I-say-or-else robots. I still don’t unerstand the L+o crowd complaining about the release of people that are scientifically proven innocent.

  5. #5 |  ClubMedSux | 

    I tried this once, in grad school, with the term violencentric – and was rewarded with my only “B”.

    Apparently the emailer is still bitter that he/she got a B on his/her grad school paper: “The Violencentric World of Itzhak Perlman.”

  6. #6 |  Tolly | 

    Are we sure that’s not a spambot? I tried reading it for comprehension, but his/her attempts to be witty just ended up making them sound idiotic.

  7. #7 |  marta | 

    your former english teacher is starting to take this personally.

  8. #8 |  perlhaqr | 

    How about Merriam and Webster?


  9. #9 |  TJ | 

    “fantastical” a word? Really? Not according to Webster.

  10. #10 |  JG | 

    Is there an actual argument hidden in that email that I’m missing? Although I do love, as another commenter pointed out, how the writer still has issues grappling with his/her “B”.

  11. #11 |  Difster | 

    It’s got a be a right wing aspie. No leftie would criticize HuffPo that way.

  12. #12 |  TJ | 

    OOps. My bad. Yes it IS a word, but listed only as “alternative” form. Not listed as a main dictionary entry.


  13. #13 |  John Jenkins | 

    I would like to publicly vote in favor of Radley’s do a Simmons-style mailbag collection of his best emails. There have to be some really good ones. This one is sort of amateurish and pedantic, but you can do better than that, cranks!

  14. #14 |  Wesley | 

    I dunno what version of Webster you’re checking, but it’s in there: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fantastical

    Also: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/fantastical
    Also: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/fantastical

  15. #15 |  H. Rearden | 

    There once was a commenter from HuffPo
    Who critiqued out dear friend (B)Radley Balco
    For his use of a word,
    This guy’s truly absurd
    Fantastical (adj.) – please look it up, Bozo

    I invite you all to purchase my upcoming self-published anthology of limericks, as I am sure to be fired from my real job shortly.

  16. #16 |  varmintito | 

    This brings back fond memories of a college roommate. Turns out he’s a semi-genius (runs a cancer research lab at Cal Tech — trust me, nobody predicted this when were 18 year olds sitting around getting high and trying to light our farts), but in college he was the word mangling champeen. One day he showed me a comment on one of his papers. The word “psuedo-intellectual” was circled in red, and the professor had written: “of all the words to misspell.”

  17. #17 |  Marty | 

    so… this whole lame rant to say he doesn’t like your name?

    I can’t wait to see what H Rearden can do if there’s ever a cop abuse story from Nantucket!

  18. #18 |  SJE | 

    Rearden: that is awesome. I am far too tired to come up with anything as good.

    A common thread among Balko’s critics and targets: a complete avoidance of actual FACTS. This bozo could have looked up the word in 5 seconds, but instead doubles down on the ignorance. Sounds a lot like prosecutors, cops and governors who insist on keeping innocent men in jail.

  19. #19 |  Curt | 

    Hank, you lose points for spelling his last name wrong.

    As far as the guy’s comment, I have no clue what his point is. Okay, he doesn’t like Radley’s name or the word fantastical. Other than that, he makes a reference to the “red-shirt team”. Based on the fact that his comment is completely incoherent, I’m thinking that the word “violencentric” probably isn’t the reason he got a B.

  20. #20 |  smeghead | 

    Does this moron have a point in his rant? Geez, some people.

  21. #21 |  SJE | 

    OT: DC police chief gets tough with cops who won’t toe the line (e.g. escorts for celebrities, refusing to investigate anti-gay hate crimes). Police complain so she demotes them. Public loves her.

  22. #22 |  Mark | 

    Assuming the original comment was anonymous: it’s often amazing just how vicious can be the rants of faceless a-holes posting anonymous comments on the internet. Would be fun to actually match some such comments to real profiles of these commenters.

  23. #23 |  Cyto | 

    I think it is brilliant. Crazy, but brilliant. Doing a whole circular rant about the letter ‘B’ and getting a B on a paper and (B)Radley is pretty clever. Crazy, but clever.

    Try reading it in Denis Leary or Lewis Black rant voice. It’s pretty funny that way.

    I still might consider that restraining order though…

  24. #24 |  Dave Krueger | 

    You can always tell when you are hearing from someone who is far more enthralled with their own clever use of language than whether they actually have anything useful to say. This guy reeks of it.

  25. #25 |  sheenyglass | 

    I think he could also use some help with basic internet usage, so two birds/one stone:


  26. #26 |  Chad Olsen | 

    Hey, #11.. Leave Aspies out of this.. Pfft :)

  27. #27 |  Scooby | 

    Lemme get this straight, this almost-straight-C-student is bragging that he got his only B while coining a word, but he doesn’t like you using one that’s in Webster’s Dictionary?


  28. #28 |  Dave Killion | 

    So this guy got what, mostly ‘C’s and ‘D’s?

  29. #29 |  H. Rearden | 

    SJE – Thanks, but your Taser poem is far and away the best.

    Curt – I will be sure to make the correction in the anthology. Are you interested in an unpaid position as editor?

  30. #30 |  Brandon | 

    Hmm, claims to have been a straight A student, makes a point of bringing up grad school, believes that these qualifications make his proclamation of “fantastical” not being a word self-evident…Did you get an email from Paul Krugman?

  31. #31 |  (B)oscoH | 

    I’m changing my screen name.

  32. #32 |  Just Plain Brian | 

    Fantastical truly exists
    Commenter should unclench his [fists]
    Radley’s patience is great
    When faced with such hate
    He manages not to get pissed

  33. #33 |  hamburglar007 | 

    Fantastical is a perfectly cromulent word that embiggens the english language.

  34. #34 |  karl | 

    @ #4

    Hey Al V, that was a joke. I was making fun of those for whom the source of criticism matters more than the validity; when someone like Mr. Fantastical is factually wrong he’ll still get some defenders if he belongs to a discernible political tribe. There are lots of people like that writing, and responding to, political blogs — and, sadly, this is one of the true instances of both sides doing it.

  35. #35 |  Dewb | 

    Not only is fantastical a word, it’s hardly a new one: http://www.rhymezone.com/r/ss.cgi?q=fantastical&mode=k

    But I suspect appeals to Shakespeare won’t carry a much water with the letter writer.

  36. #36 |  JS | 

    Even if it wasn’t a word I’ve never seen anyone that upset about making up a word. He should consider marijuana.

  37. #37 |  Big A | 

    You’re barely anybody yet, which is why I’m going to such great lengths to respond to something you wrote and I found on the big, big internet, so that my response will be read only because people actually follow your work and will then go to their own great lengths to degrade me for having the gall to write such ridiculousity.

  38. #38 |  Big A | 

    #36 JS. Word. It’s like people who get upset because you’re celebrating your half birthday. It’s okay to have more of a good thing.

  39. #39 |  Z | 

    And he remains violencentric to this day.

  40. #40 |  Curt | 


    Thanks for the offer. Just yesterday I got an offer to be an unpaid janitor, so we’ll see which looks best on the resume!

    The spelling amused me twice… once because the original comment was about the spelling of his name and again because I’d just read an article about Barry Bonds so BALCO was fresh in my mind.

  41. #41 |  Gavin Peters | 

    “My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical,
    Shakes so my single state of man
    That function is smothered in surmise,
    And nothing is but what is not.”

    From MacBeth.

  42. #42 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    Radley gets all the cool hate mail; most of mine falls into three categories:

    1) Variations on “You’re a whore!”
    2) Variations on “You’re not really a whore!”
    3) You’re not politically correct!

    Ah, well; it’s probably for the best because I doubt I could take the really mean ones as calmly as Radley does.

    Regarding words: I’ll bet his spell-checker told him “fantastical” wasn’t a word; I find myself having to add at least five words a week to spell-checkers from which perfectly good English words are unaccountably absent.

  43. #43 |  H. Rearden | 

    Curt – I can compensate you with leftovers and cheap beer, but only if your editorial comments are submitted in the form of a rant.

  44. #44 |  Big A | 

    Hey Maggie, don’t feel bad. I bet Radley would love to get whore-related hate mail.

  45. #45 |  Curt | 

    Compensate? That must be something like compense except that it isn’t a word. Someone needs a dose of NyQuil strong enough to pull them back from the brink of Webby-wannabe ambition. Someone with an ancestor under the illusion that adding “den” to the end of a real name somehow created another real name. I tried this once in junior high with the term asshat – and was rewarded with a green smiley face. You’ve already become anybody… avoid trying so hard to be nobody that somebody thinks anybody knows somebody who thinks nobody is somebody.

    (typing that just gave me an appreciation for how much effort it takes to write complete nonsense)

  46. #46 |  Andrew S. | 

    ::shakes tiny internet fist at hamburglar007 @#33 for stealing my comment::

    (B)Radley, I don’t know how you manage to avoid responding to these e-mails (and using phrases such as “f—ing idiot” while doing so.)

  47. #47 |  Aresen | 

    English spawns words at a phenomenal rate, not to mention steals them whenever it spots a good one in another language.

    English speaking people make up words constantly.* If the words have obvious meaning and sound well, they can make it into the language. “violencentric” fails on both the meaning and sound test.

    *My own coinage, ‘melagricide’, [appropriate for Thanksgiving] did not survive its birth, alas.

  48. #48 |  H. Rearden | 

    Who critiqued out dear friend (B)Radley Balco

    Curt – You’re fired. I just realized that I typed out when what was meant was our. Asshat.

  49. #49 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #2 Karl:
    “I can’t tell if this critique is from the law-and-order right or the communitarian left. Please advise so I can determine whether or not it is valid.”

    Initially, I thought it might be a manic depressive in a manic state. I work in healthcare, and I have talked to people in this state, though I confess I have never seen anyone e-mailing while manic. After a second look, I determined that the e-mailer was just a pretentious d-bag who hasn’t adjusted well to life off campus.

  50. #50 |  Curt | 

    Damn. I was just about to ask for some vacation days.

  51. #51 |  Aresen | 

    Helmut O’ Hooligan | August 10th, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    I determined that the e-mailer was just a pretentious d-bag who hasn’t adjusted well to life off campus.

    You mean, after completing his PhD in Sociology, he’s now flipping burgers at Mickey Dee’s?

  52. #52 |  George E | 

    The guy complains about Radley dropping a B from the front of his name, but he himself apparently dropped the e trailing the first word in grad school.

  53. #53 |  Big A | 

    In related news, I’ve been reading about a cognitive bias in which incompetent people truly do not understand how dumb they are and cannot be trained.


  54. #54 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #51 Aresen: “You mean, after completing his PhD in Sociology, he’s now flipping burgers at Mickey Dee’s?”

    Precisely. I once looked at moving to a well known college town and I heard that there were more than a few PhD’s driving cabs around there. It must be hard to spend eight years in a library or glued to your lap top and realize that, outside of academia, your career options are pretty much the same as when you started college.

  55. #55 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Radley gets all the cool hate mail; most of mine falls into three categories:

    1) Variations on “You’re a whore!”

    I get the same and I don’t even have a job.

  56. #56 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Unlike French, which actually has a panel of cultural elitist twits looking out for it, English pretty much operates on the “If enough people use it, it’s a word” protocol. Therefore I suggest that this twerp be encouraged to move to Paris, where he will become completely irrelevant (as opposed to now, when he is only largely irrelevant). As matters stand it is just remotely possible that somebody will take him seriously. In Paris, everybody from anywhere else in the World will ignore him because he is a Parisian, while the Parisians will ignore him because they only pay attention to themselves anyway.

  57. #57 |  marta | 

    #46 dorothy parker said, famously, writing well is the best revenge. also, it’s probably easier to resist the impulse to respond to idiocy when you can instead just publish it on your blog to a wide and adoring audience who will respond for you!

  58. #58 |  Medicine Man | 

    I’m not clear what has this guy steamed at you.

    And “team red shirt” — I take it this guy has never watched Star Trek then.

  59. #59 |  Fill | 

    How do people manage to figure out email, but not google?


  60. #60 |  Shane | 

    Can I tell him he is an idiot instead?

  61. #61 |  Justthisguy | 

    I coined a word, once. It’s “genucrescent”, from the Latin for “knee” and “grow”.

    E.g. : “Let’s get out of here! It’s entirely too genucrescent in this part of town!”

    Oh, and no picking on the Aspies! Some of us are armed.

  62. #62 |  Justthisguy | 

    Oh, these lines from a Michael Z. Williamson novel seem appropriate:

    “Behind him, White screamed curses and emptied her weapon…. “I want all of you skinny little cocksucking illiterati to DIE!” she shrieked, punctuated by bursts that sounded very controlled.””

  63. #63 |  Daniel | 

    @ #6 Tolly
    I love the idea that spambots are sending Radley insulting emails. It does beg the question “which side of the aisle to the spambots vote on?”.

  64. #64 |  H. Rearden | 

    @23 –

    Cyto I agree.
    A fine example of prose.
    Surely Bill approves.

  65. #65 |  Jim Wetzel | 

    Dear Mr. Balko,

    Be advised that, by taking public note of the more foolish and/or abusive emails that you get, you’re placing temptation in my path. The temptation is to send you ever more over-the-top emails of attack or complaint, simply to see them reproduced in this-here corner of the internet. If you receive something lurid from “Ben Dover,” well … I’m not saying it’s me … and I’m not saying it’s not. “I’m just sayin’,” as the young folks like to say these days.

  66. #66 |  JS | 

    Helmut “After a second look, I determined that the e-mailer was just a pretentious d-bag who hasn’t adjusted well to life off campus.”

    That’s usually my excuse too.

  67. #67 |  Armed and Snarky | 

    Took like 1 second to Bing it. 8)

    fan·tas·tic also fan·tas·ti·cal

    1. Quaint or strange in form, conception, or appearance.
    a. Unrestrainedly fanciful; extravagant: fantastic hopes.
    b. Bizarre, as in form or appearance; strange: fantastic attire; fantastic behavior.
    c. Based on or existing only in fantasy; unreal: fantastic ideas about her own superiority.
    3. Wonderful or superb; remarkable: a fantastic trip to Europe.
    An eccentric person.

  68. #68 |  homeboy | 

    @ #44, Big A

    “I bet Radley would love to get whore-related hate mail.”

    I know I would; I am tired of my incessant whoring going completely unnoticed.

  69. #69 |  Mannie | 

    There’s an old saw about arguing with editorialists:

    Never get into a letter writing contest with someone who buys ink (or in this case, pixels) by the barrel.

    In the case of Fantastical editorialists, even more so. :-)

  70. #70 |  JS | 

    I’m thinking of a new word for that kind of critic-how about assholistically?

  71. #71 |  random_guy | 

    On the subject of language Stephen Fry expounds: