Spread The F Word

F Minus is the daily comic strip by Tony Carrillo
Visit www.FMIN.us for more information.
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Oct 25, 2009

Hate Mail! Citation Needed

The following is a real email discussion between myself and a reader about the above comic. His words in red, mine in blue. His references are included and name has been omitted. Hint: To increase enjoyment, read in the voice of Kelsey Grammer:

Mr. Carillo,
I enjoy the comics as a diversion and from time to time read F Minus. Occasionally, I even enjoy it. Among those I did not enjoy was your October 20, 2009, Ultimate Frisbee attempt. Where, Mr. Carillo, is the value (entertainment, social or otherwise) in a "comic" (implying levity, comedy, etc.) strip such as that? Given the number of gun-related deaths (almost 30,000 in 2004) and injuries (almost 65,000 in
2004) and the many shootings of horrendous proportion done by children, including Paducah, KY, Springfield OR and Littleton, CO, what possible benefit could there be drawing and distributing by syndication a comic that intertwines Frisbees and guns, while expressly promoting the idea that the nexus not only is logical, but that the progression from family fun to violence is all but unavoidable?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-humor, not even a little, but in your comic, there was none. Too many people die or are injured by firearms - why promote children's games and guns as comedy? You delude only yourself if you believe that children do not read the comics, even if they are not your intended target audience. Will it be funny to you if you read on page one of a newspaper or read on your favorite news web site that children somewhere saw your Ultimate Frisbee idea and determined that it must be good fun since it was in the comics, until one of them died? Will it be funny then? You pushed the idea out - you can't simply declare that it was intended to be funny and so what if kids didn't understand; can you? I'm sorry, sir, and I mean no personal disrespect to you, but shouldn't common sense play a role in your decision making to use the public forum provided to you to entertain for that reason, rather than to join guns and fun Frisbee games? Data source: NY Times with confirming data for 2000 available at the Centers for Disease Control and othe r reliable sources.
I welcome your response, though I fully expect to receive no reply. Good day to you, and if nothing else, please think about it before you share a similarly "clever" idea that has made its way from your mind to your pen.
(Name Omitted)

Dear Sir,
After my assistant described your letter, I felt compelled to pen this reply. (Dictated but not read) As to the comic of October 20th, wherein a group of young men are involved in a "game" of Frisbee and unloading personal firearms at the airborne disc, I am appalled at the position you claim I have taken on this delicate matter; the suggestion that I would take a negligent, jovial attitude towards such a potentially dangerous action was enough to disquiet my morning breakfast of oats and meal to the point of near-unenjoyment.
I shall state it blankly, sir. You are wrong! This comic was not, as you say, "implying levity", but rather creating awareness of this dangerous activity. It has long been my opinion that our society under-appreciates the dangers of the Frisbee.
This is not the first time I have used this public platform to call attention to this issue. November 1st, 2007 was a tribute to Ultimate Frisbee enthusiast Dave Thurston, depicting him leaping from a cliff in pursuit of a Frisbee.
Of course, only personal responsibility can solve this problem. Did you know that most Frisbee accidents happen in the home? Often because a Frisbee was carelessly left about, instead of securely locked away in a Frisbee safe. This idea that owning a Frisbee makes you more safe is preposterous as well. Movies today glamorize the Frisbee with the cliche of the Frisbee-toting hero, saving the day or defending the helpless. In truth, Frisbee owners are far more likely to injure a loved one than stop a home intruder.
I hope you now see that we are on the same team in this fight, as we spread the word about Frisbee violence. You, with your letters, and I with my comic. Together we are stronger than any Frisbee.
Good day to you,
-Tony Carrillo

Good day, Tony,
Thank you for the courtesy of your response including what I am assuming (and hope to be) the new introduction of humor on your side of the fence. However, I remain unpersuaded by the "merits" of your substantive response, for what,I believe to be good reasons, and despite any unintended but consequent disquietment to your eating pattern, or any attendant indigestion that may have resulted. That you are appalled is good; we start by sharing common ground. First, so we're all seeing the same thing at the same time:
The comic shows five people, apparently representing either the complete contingent of Frisbee players assembled or part of a larger, but undisplayed, group of (all) men engaged in a common activity. Two appear to be standing still; one is drawn as running; and two are armed with handguns. Once is in a practiced, crouched ready to shoot position, and the other has discharged his weapon using a side held, "gansta" position. [1] story line reads: "Then, as it often did, Ultimate Frisbee gave way to Extreme Frisbee." Your comic strip above bears out that my description is accurate.
[1] To bust a cap in da ass ... requires more than just unloading a cartridge full of ammunition into the person who has got your goat. If movies have taught us anything about street executions, it's that swagger, poise and a bravado that screams 'I've no concern for innocent onlookers' are all important traits to be considered when blasting some sucker into oblivion. [¶] The most curious of these style points,
however, is the gun-tipped-sideways. The tipped pistol tells your foes that you not only intend to maim and/or kill them but that you intend to do it with pizzazz. The Sydney Morning Herald, on line, August 22, 2006;
Your story line is simple: Ultimate Frisbee "often" devolves from a game [2] into an invention of your mind described as "Extreme Frisbee" in which the players no longer interact by exchanging the Frisbee with the flip of a wrist, instead, discharge weapons at it, with no purpose explained or implied. Your position is advanced by the suggestion and what I consider to be an unfortunate, feeble and ineffective attempt to shift the focus of attention to what you consider to be dangers inherent in the game of Frisbee based solely on your reference to on equally unfunny and joyless creation of your mind that purports (again as comic entertainment) to show a man apparently about to fall to his death chasing a Frisbee as three helpless teammates watch in horror. [3] So an accidental death chasing a Frisbee over a cliff (even if depicting an unfortunate real life event, which appears not to be the case), somehow justifies your expansion of an accidental (and, from what I can tell, fictional) death of a cartoon player engaged in a game of Ultimate Frisbee into an unsupported conclusion that such sporting activity "often" leads to intentional, planned acts of violence. Excuse me, sir, but if you are taking medications, have you checked the dosages?
[2] Ultimate Frisbee is "a combination of basketball and American football. The game is played on a regulation-size football field, with two end zones. Each team can have seven players. Players can't run with the disc in hand; they can only pivot or pass as they work the Frisbee down the field to the opposing team's end zone . A play doesn't stop until the Frisbee is intercepted or hits the ground, or until a point is scored. The game plays until one team reaches 15 points." Quote from a Ph.D in biochemistry in an on-line Wall Street Journal article dated September 28, 2009.
[3] November 1, 2007 F-Minus comic strip;
Before returning to the main thrust of your rebuttal, allow me to correct your misunderstanding: the implication of levity to which I referred was based one the placement of your work on the comic pages of the newspaper in which I read your strip. Comedy, comic and similar words have a similar Latin root, in various forms. According to Merriam Webster on line, the Latin derivation of "comic" is comicus. Thus, it is the identification of your work as "comic" that implies it will include levity, certainly not the substance of your work, which to me is devoid of humor, no matter how many times I try to reconcile its message with its placement on the "comics" page.
I will assume that these two paragraphs you have written are the second and third installments of humor in your response, following up your breakfast-interruptus mention:
"Of course, only personal responsibility...(see above)...stronger than any Frisbee."
If not, I am afraid that we are approaching the outer fringes of the reality I know and I must turn back, allowing you as the intrepid comic to continue the journey without me.
Alternatively, I am willing and would appreciate continuing this discussion further in order to gain a full (or at least incomplete, partial) understanding of the connection between your creation of "Extreme Frisbee," a derivative "sport" where armed team members "often" use competing bullets to destroy the equipment necessary for play and a team Frisbee toss game. I still don't get it, Tony.
(Name Omitted)

Good day, (Name Omitted).
Thank you for your swift and extensively researched response. I am, however, saddened by the content. I had hoped our union may lead to greater things (A nationwide ban on all Frisbee-based sport? Dare I dream it?). It seems you do not take this issue as seriously as I do. And do I detect a hint of mockery in your reply? For the sake of civility, I will ignore it, lest this discussion devolve into a volley of insults and "poop-speak".
A note of thanks for including a copy of my comic in your response. I have never actually seen my own comic before, as the artwork is produced by a company in Korea. I find myself displeased with the style, and will see to it those responsible receive an appropriate punishment. But I digress.
"I don't get it" you say. Too often those undecided on the Frisbee issue hide behind this statement. What's not to get? The fact that if you reduce the Frisbees in circulation, then they will be less likely to find their way into the hands of our nation's youngsters-- and therefore less likely to end up in the situation my comic depicts? Or that if it weren't for the Frisbee, David Thurston, a misguided young man in the prime of his life might still be with us? I am confused by your confusion.
Nevertheless, this remains our America. I can not, and would not force you share my views. I can only bring your attention to this issue, and let your conscience be your guide. But ask yourself this; On New Year's eve, when some irresponsible person carelessly tosses a Frisbee into the air in celebration, will it be you that stands beneath it?
It's time to get it. Frisbees hurt.
Good day,
-Tony Carrillo

Good evening, Tony. I now understand that you (perhaps uniquely) envision yourself to be quite the comedian. I also understand that no matter how complete or compelling my responses might be to those with open minds, because you lack one (not a mind, just an open one), you will reply with your unusual brand of humor, as you have done twice already, and simply continue to cover your eyes and declare that if you can't see us, we must not be able to see you. As a parent, I can assure you that none of our children (or any of our many friends' children) was fooled by that game after birthday #1. It makes me wonder whether some of the youngest ones might be in a position to bring you up to speed on that issue. If so, let me know and I'll send course materials to you. (Don't worry, they are very simple.) Your decision to ignore the fact that I take this seriously is unfortunate, but apparently irremediable. Perhaps your syndicator will agree with you; perhaps with me; perhaps with neither. I suspect the fine folks who make Frisbees, a staple of uninjured people everywhere, likely have their opinions, as well. Either way, I can't imagine that many more of your cartoons (self-graded appropriately - I give you credit for that) will burden our pages before replaced by something more interesting, such as additional room for existing comics. What's really too bad is that I do get it and you don't (more likely won't, because an absence of sufficiently engaged gray matter does not appear to be a limitation for you). Smarts, however does not supplant a social conscience gone missing without a trace. To you, an accidental death over a cliff and the violent destruction of toys with weapons are (at least for now), a paycheck, even if one necessarily split with your overseers in Korea. To others (that would include me), they are an outrage. As you point out, the free expression of ideas is important, as is the choice of every reader to ignore insulting fiction. Children do and will play with Frisbees, which is a good thing. If only children never played with guns. Your suggestion that team Frisbee "often" leads to the marriage of the two (Frisbees and guns) is a nightmare every parent (other than you, if you are one; oh, my) fears. Thanks (in the most cynical and disapproving voice that e-mail permits) for giving ideas to young people with insufficiently developed cognitive abilities to separate the imaginary from the actuated imagined. I hope never to hear of a Frisbee related shooting death: until October 20, 2009, when you introduced the idea in your syndicated comic strip, I doubt that anyone but you ever even considered the possibility. In conclusion, Tony, thank you again for your non-replies and your utter lack of interest in serious adult discourse. Cheers.
(Name Omitted)


... and my final rebuttal:

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22 comments:

Noah said...

Well, this made my day. Hilarious!

Eric Olsen said...

ok, "dictated but not read" killed me. love it. and once again, you allow yourself to play the troll game, Tony. I don't know how it doesn't bother you. I get all worked up just reading YOUR troll mail.

To the end of Disc Sport, and the beginning of a brighter future!

Anonymous said...

I love it! Way to stand your ground. As one who respects the danger of the frisbee and one who, on weekends, regularly finds myself with a frisbee in my hand, I must agree that they must stop being haphazardly tossed about in a fashon that is dangerous to all who may be near. I say down with children having fun when they are in danger of being struck, skinning their knee, being covered in mud, or, god forbid, partake in an arobic activity. I think this great country and even the world needs to be called into action!!! NO MORE FLYING DISCS!!!!!!!!!!

Jill Elizabeth said...

I read it twice, and I concur: imagining the voice of Kelsey Grammer does add to the experience.

And may I add that, as one who has taken a frisbee to the head, I applaud your efforts to educate the masses of the dangers of flying disc sports.

Ken said...

I have to wonder how serious this guy is. I've often aspired to write long, overly earnest letters about trivial matters.
One wonders what a mind like Tony Carillo's turns to when it doesn't have drawing as an outlet and has to rely on the written word.

It could be that Andy Kaufman lives.

PN said...

Tony, did you get the "dictated but not read" from the book How to Win Friends and Influence People? That part made me laugh because it reminded me of a story from that book.

Gary D. said...

Uninjured???? Is this guy insane? I have 2 scars on my knees from an unfortunate half keg pot of flowers/frisbee incident. He had 2 choices: become aware of the dangers that are frisbees in the hands of our nations youth, or play with these ninja stars of death and become a statistic himself. Clearly, he chose the latter.

Naomi said...

The real danger here is death attributed to extreme verbosity. This guy has never laughed in his life. HA is just too short of a complete sentence for him.

Jeff said...

"Dictated but not read" was a great line. Also the ending for (Thank you for the email) was also awesome.

By the way, your responses were clever!

Steve Reed said...

"Poop-speak" Tony? Well, I never! Dude, freakin' hilarious man. This was simply gold. I didn't think the comic itself was one of your best, but if you can create stuff that spawns off comments from freaks like this, keep 'em coming.

Seriously your blog is essential reading along with your comic. Hilarious stuff man, it kills me. Oops! Don't want to imply violence and thus disturb the fragile sentiments of your more enlightened readers.

Steve Reed said...

Instead of Kelsey Grammer, I think Keith Olbermann would be better.

http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/clips/countdown-with-keith-olbermann/805561/

♥LaLa♥ said...

I had some oats and meal this morning. It was delicious.

Teagan Wall said...

This individual has obviously never taken up a frisbee without proper knowledge and training. When I was little, I had a friend that found his brother's fribee under his brother's bed. He thought is looked fun, I guess. God rest Sammie's soul.

Despite my knowledge of frisbee safety, I too have been "damaged" more than once while partaking in disc-throwing activities. I simply feel blessed that my parents did not keep frisbee's in the house until my brother and I were both of a responsible age. Even now, our frisbee's are stored at the range, rather than at home (it's just sfaer that way, and you still have it when you want to use it). I hope this comic and others will convince other parents to take the same precautions, and convince kids that toy discs are not actually toys.

Finally, David Thurston was a good man, and a hero to many. May his death not be in vain. I suggest we start a foundation, in his name, to educated individuals on the risks of partaking in frisbee sports and to inform them of actions they can take if they ever see an unattended frisbee, or one in the hands of a child. We can also inform children that if they ever see a frisbee, they shouldn't touch it. Instead they should go tell an adult. It is my dream that, together, that we can reduce the dangers surrounding the common frisbee.

Randy said...

Love the comic; I read it every day. Now, apparently, I need to read the blog, too. This was gold.

Stephen said...

People like this actually exist?!!! By the way, "I have never actually seen my own comic before, as the artwork is produced by a company in Korea." was brilliant.

infinite lines on paper said...

Thanks you, that was great...

triad sense 1 said...

As for whether comic strips should be targeted towards children, that is a debate that ultimately the newspapers will have to settle. Most comics are geared towards adults, but are suitable for children. One of the most violent comics I have seen in a long time is also one of my favorites: "Dilbert", by Scott Adams. People are always getting murdered, maimed or beaten up on a regular basis. Yet that behavior is already commonplace. I guess it's only novel acts of violence that critics are against.

Fritzmonkey said...

Apparently the writer of the hate mail was unaware that people started shooting Frisbees about 25 years before the Frisbee was invented. Countries from all over the world send representatives to a ritual meeting every four years where they destroy hundreds of Frisbees by shooting them with shotguns. This is part of an event known as "The Olympic Games". The ritual shooting of Frisbees is still practiced every day world wide and is know as "Skeet Shooting". ("Skeet" is a derogatory term for a Frisbee's mother.)

Kab00m! said...

How did I ever survive The 3 Stooges and Looney Tunes?

Anonymous said...

You are all losers and Carillo is a

PhillyChief said...

Were it possible to pry this tight ass' balloon not open long enough to jam a piece of coal in, you'd instantly have a diamond that sparkled nearly as brightly as your email responses. Kudos!

tom said...

Oh man. I love how a cartoon about someone skeet shooting frisbees is now going to destroy the world. the problem isn't that kids play with guns, it's that they don't know how to aim. I almost feel tempted to go take my gun out and get a picture of my shooting at this frisbee.. maybe someday I'll get together with some friends and do this... and if one of us dies he'll have his proof that you are indeed evil.

hmmm...