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I feel that you should be aware some asshole is signing your name to stupid letters.
December 22, 2010 11:29 AM   Subscribe

In 1974, a Cleveland Browns season ticket holder was frustrated with a new fad of throwing paper airplanes in the stadium, and wrote to the Browns to let them know. The Brown's response likely failed to alleviate his concerns.
posted by CharlieSue (55 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
It is not one Brown, it is multiple Browns. So shouldn't it be the Cleveland Browns' response?
posted by spicynuts at 11:32 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


SNAP. Hope this doesn't turn out to be a fake, like that awesome (but unfortunately fake) Cash4Gold letter.
posted by jbickers at 11:33 AM on December 22, 2010


awesome. this is the sort of thing that I so desperately wish would happen more often.
posted by KathrynT at 11:39 AM on December 22, 2010


Dear Spicy Nuts,

At 1:32 pm, Metafilter received the attached comment:


It is not one Brown, it is multiple Browns. So shouldn't it be the Cleveland Browns' response?


We feel that you should be aware some asshole is signing your name to stupid persnickety grammar comments.


I kid. I used to be an English teacher and possessive errors kill me. :)
posted by HeroZero at 11:39 AM on December 22, 2010 [29 favorites]


yeah, immediately thought is hoax. i just can't imagine it.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:39 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love the Browns. It's like they're permanent underdogs.
posted by Hoopo at 11:41 AM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


If this is real, then Art Modell could've saved face in Cleveland by claiming that some asshole had gone around in Baltimore signing his name to franchise transfer papers and stuff. They would have understood.
posted by Spatch at 11:41 AM on December 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Except in the Jim Brown-Otto Graham era, Hoopo - when they were a DYNASTY!

(I wasn't there, but my dad told me stories.)
posted by fingers_of_fire at 11:43 AM on December 22, 2010


I will change my username to persnicketynuts.
posted by spicynuts at 11:44 AM on December 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


Frankly, I think these sort of complaints should be treated in this fashion more often. I'm of the old "the-customer-is-rarely-right" school of thought.
posted by umberto at 11:44 AM on December 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


Photoshop is a wonderful thing!
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:45 AM on December 22, 2010


Touche spicynuts. I think I was too busy giggling to check my grammar closely enough. Though HeroZero's defense says it better than I ever could.
posted by CharlieSue at 11:57 AM on December 22, 2010


I'm glad I didn't read the post title before reading the letter. It's such a hilarious and unexpected punchline.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:58 AM on December 22, 2010


Ditto with the photoshopping query... Why is the date near the top of the Browns' response so faded but the rest of the letter so bold and easy to read?
posted by jillithd at 11:58 AM on December 22, 2010


Funny how the letterhead and date look all old-and-repeatedly-photocopied-over-the-years -- but the content of the letter below looks remarkably pristine and unsullied by artifacts or the passage of time.
posted by Gator at 12:00 PM on December 22, 2010


Er, what jillithd said.
posted by Gator at 12:01 PM on December 22, 2010


> As you know, there is the risk of serious eye injury...

"Ow, my eyeball!"
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:03 PM on December 22, 2010


"Ditto with the photoshopping query... Why is the date near the top of the Browns' response so faded but the rest of the letter so bold and easy to read?
posted by jillithd at 2:58 PM on December 22 [+] [!]


Funny how the letterhead and date look all old-and-repeatedly-photocopied-over-the-years -- but the content of the letter below looks remarkably pristine and unsullied by artifacts or the passage of time.
posted by Gator at 3:00 PM on December 22 [+] [!] "

Damn that Dan Rather.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 12:06 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Damn that Dan Rather.

Kenneth, what's the frequency?
posted by inturnaround at 12:07 PM on December 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Looks like Clevescene.com is down, now.
posted by paisley henosis at 12:10 PM on December 22, 2010


I understand a certain Matt H. is about to send a similar memail to about 100,000 metafilter users.
posted by HuronBob at 12:12 PM on December 22, 2010


Alternate link to a similar article
posted by CharlieSue at 12:14 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


It does look fake. Which is a shame since it's such a succinct response.
posted by codacorolla at 12:22 PM on December 22, 2010


Well, I tried doing a quickie error level analysis & didn't see anything that stood out as being obvious fakery, but we should remember that I am incompetent.
posted by aramaic at 12:22 PM on December 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Someone threw a paper airplane into their server.
posted by dirigibleman at 12:31 PM on December 22, 2010


This almost makes up for Earnest Byner.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 12:33 PM on December 22, 2010


In related news, a man is suing Toronto's Santa Claus Parade because he was blinded by candy thrown by a clown.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:38 PM on December 22, 2010


Damn that Pennywise! He's back from the dead lights!!
posted by mannequito at 1:36 PM on December 22, 2010


The link doesn't seem to work. /themistakebythelake
posted by lukemeister at 1:36 PM on December 22, 2010


They're getting hammered. It's being linked all over the place. And hardly anybody seems to be asking, "Hey, Vince, how exactly did you come into possession of this 'epic' treasure, anyway?" (I was going to leave a comment on the article myself, but I don't feel like registering.)
posted by Gator at 1:39 PM on December 22, 2010


Who else was disappointed the response didn't arrive in the form of a paper airplane?
posted by katillathehun at 1:50 PM on December 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Total fake.
posted by dry white toast at 1:50 PM on December 22, 2010


Total unfunny fake.
posted by item at 2:00 PM on December 22, 2010


Fake. The response to the original letter could be used as evidence in court to help establish the reasonable foreseeability of an injury in a tort of negligence. No organisation with legal advice at its disposal would give a potential litigant a free throw like that, just to make a snarky snap.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:05 PM on December 22, 2010


I think the word is "joke."
posted by roll truck roll at 2:20 PM on December 22, 2010


No organisation with legal advice at its disposal would give a potential litigant a free throw like that, just to make a snarky snap.

As someone who works in liability, I *wish* this were true.
posted by Hoopo at 2:37 PM on December 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm going to come down on the side that the original letter was probably a piss take as well. That's just my opinion.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:54 PM on December 22, 2010


No organisation with legal advice at its disposal would give a potential litigant a free throw like that, just to make a snarky snap.

I'm sure it's a joke -- but do remember that this supposedly happened in 1974. If I remember correctly, we weren't quite as litigious then as we are now.
posted by steambadger at 3:00 PM on December 22, 2010


I think that lawyer works for something awful now.
posted by empath at 3:22 PM on December 22, 2010


I love this. Who cares if its a fake or not. The "incident" at least makes Cleveland look cool for one brief moment. Can't we give them that. They have so little else.
posted by Pixelie at 3:28 PM on December 22, 2010


Metafilter: some asshole is signing your name to stupid letters.
posted by charlie don't surf at 3:42 PM on December 22, 2010


This is actually plausible if the General Counsel golfed with the senior partners at that lawfirm and the stupid asshole that wrote the letter was new there or something.
posted by empath at 3:43 PM on December 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


fake? maybe

I read the response first and thought "how rude" but then I read the letter to the Browns.....
posted by caddis at 3:44 PM on December 22, 2010


The punchline seems so familiar. I know I heard/read this as a joke somewhere in the distant past, lost now in the mists of time.
posted by mmrtnt at 4:01 PM on December 22, 2010


The response to the original letter could be used as evidence in court to help establish the reasonable foreseeability of an injury in a tort of negligence. No organisation with legal advice at its disposal would give a potential litigant a free throw like that, just to make a snarky snap.

I'm not sure I follow this logic for numerous reasons. 1. If the danger was reasonably foreseeable it doesn't matter if anyone told them or not. 2. If they were told it doesn't matter if they acknowledge being told or not, since it doesn't change the fact that they were told. 3. Calling a nutter a nutter isn't going to make you any more liable for the event you were warned about.

I could go on for a long time.

If I tell you that unless you build a meteor shield people will be hit by a meteor, and you ignore me, and people happen to get hit by a meteor, you're not going to be magically immune just because you can deny that I'd ever warned you.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:13 PM on December 22, 2010


cjorgensen, you're coming at this too rationally. You need to think more litigiously get it. Written notice and complaints help make it foreseeable for future events of the same nature, since you've now been told about a hazard and given a reasonable opportunity to do something about it. You can no longer say it wasn't foreseeable. As for the response, you're probably right that it doesn't make you more liable, but it isn't going to help your case that you exhibited bad faith in the event of a future claim for damages.
posted by Hoopo at 5:40 PM on December 22, 2010


In addition to what Hoopo said, the response is undeniable acknowledgement that they read the original letter. Without a response, they could deny ever receiving it in the first place.

And a paper plane damaging an eye might not be reasonably foreseeable if the management were unaware that this was going on, but having been alerted to the risk, it becomes an issue less of whether or not it's reasonably foreseeable, and instead it's more of an issue of what (if any) reasonable precautions they can or should take to prevent such an injury from occurring.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:01 PM on December 22, 2010


Does anybody else find it a little suspicious that in spite of all the attention, there are only 12 comments on the article? That most recent being, "It's not a hoax. I contacted the lawyer who wrote the first letter," by a user named "GodHatesClevelandSports." Thanks for clearing that up, bro.
posted by Gator at 6:11 PM on December 22, 2010


Echoes Ursula Nordstrom "...some enemy of yours is writing me very angry letters, and signing your name to them."
posted by rodgerd at 12:20 AM on December 23, 2010


You never know, but one alternate possibility is that the response letter was drafted as a joke and never sent.
posted by cell divide at 12:38 AM on December 23, 2010


Without a response, they could deny ever receiving it in the first place.

Doubtful. Also doubtful they would deny it, since if that was proven to be false....

I've been on the other side of this. I think most people on here know letter writing is my hobby. Whenever something hits the news I often write everyone involved. When there was the high schoolers banned from saying "meep" I had a field day. When that loony DA started an apeshit blog over a gay college student I sent out letters to all the agents involved even peripherally (the DA, the state bar, the University President, the Governor, the student, the whackjob, etc.). When the Jessamine County library workers refused to check in the Alan Moore book, to protect people from nudity, I launched into furious letter writing mode (and sent the library a replacement copy of the book). Sometimes my letter writing will cascade down to writing someone not at all related to the event or someone so far out there the connection is tenuous.

I won't mention the specifics, but there was an event where a big company got into a dispute with a little guy over something dumb. So I wrote the little guy, the big company and the big company's lawyers, and maybe some others. The company and the lawyers were required to give over all correspondence related to this event (the big company went after another not-as-big company over a similar stupid thing). Since the lawyers in the second case knew I'd written these letters they expected to receive copies, but didn't. So I had to sign a declaration that I'd sent the letters.

As far as I know the above is still being played out. My point is that just because you don't reply doesn't allow you to be able to say you never received it. Sure, all I can swear to is that the letters were sent, but the chances that none were received is slim. I'm not a lawyer, but I am guessing a letter on law office letterhead may have been sent in a method requiring a signature or proof of delivery, but even without this I don't think they had a lot of choice but to respond.

I think get bent was a fine response. I've seen a lot worse in legal documents. It's especially appropriate if you believe the first letter was a spoof as well.

But there's no reason to leave this all up to speculation. Doing this is just plain silly. I've sent letters to the Browns (and these guys) questioning the veracity of the linked article. I'll let you know what they say.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:58 AM on December 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


@cjorgensen, I think your letter-writing hobby is awesome. I hope you have a scrapbook.
posted by fontgoddess at 6:58 PM on December 25, 2010


FWIW: You're not supposed to use an apostrophe or pluralize NFL teams the way you would any other words in the English language.

You wouldn't say, "the awesome Patriots' quarterback," or, "the terrible Lions' running game." (You also wouldn't say, "several Dolphinses made mistakes.") You're simply supposed to say, "the awesome Patriots quarterback," and, "the terrible Lions running game."

(I know this because of extensive experience with the official NFL Style Guide.)

I have never worked with MLB, but I've always wondered what the official policy is on talking about the Red Sox. No sentence involving any member of that team or about the team itself ever appears to be constructed correctly to me.
posted by GatorDavid at 12:03 PM on December 27, 2010


Late-breaking update:

It's real, according to both the letter's sender and its recipient.
posted by theoddball at 2:14 PM on January 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


See, go to the source when in doubt, people.

To be fair, when I asked no reporter had spoken to anyone. It was just the letters hanging out there in the wind.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:45 AM on January 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


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