A Lawyer’s Genius Response to Bigoted Grand Rapids Mechanic

I wrote yesterday about the truck mechanic in Grand Rapids who posted a idiotic, bigoted rant on Facebook about how he would refuse to accept gay people as customers. A bankruptcy attorney in town posted this absolutely brilliant response to his own Facebook page:

Dear Dieseltec:

Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Jeffrey Mapes, and I specialize in bankruptcy law — helping individuals and corporations when things go wrong. I noticed your post on Facebook where you decided to alienate most of the general public by stating that you will refuse service to openly homosexual people. This is certainly an unorthodox business strategy, and perhaps it will work for you, but I get the feeling you will need a bankruptcy attorney pretty soon and I wanted to offer my services. Like you, I am white, male, Christian, a business owner, and a gun owner. Unlike you, I provide services to everyone regardless of their sexual orientation because it doesn’t matter to me — I hope this won’t be a deal breaker for you.

If that upsets you, let me tell you a little bit more about our office to try and persuade you, The first thing you will notice is how friendly and compassionate the office staff is. Despite your inane, incoherent and just plain dumb comments, we know that everyone makes mistakes and we want to help you overcome them. They will also be more than willing to help you with some basic grammar that you seem to struggle with.

If you still need more convincing, let me assure you that we will make certain that your bankruptcy petition is filed correctly and there are no errors. You stated in your post that you would incorrectly assemble a vehicle in order to prove a point. I want to let you know that despite the fact that I would love to prove a point to you about tolerance, I won’t compromise my standards of quality to do so. After all, I have to look in the mirror at the end of the day and if I didn’t do my best for everyone, I would have trouble sleeping. Perhaps you could give me pointers on how you sleep at night?

Just a few other housekeeping items. While I certainly don’t encourage people to bring guns into my office, so long as you have the proper permit and handle it responsibly, you can bring your gun along. I would only ask that you refrain from menacingly stroking your weapon while you quietly sing David Allen Coe songs to yourself. I also think you have a deep and fundamental misunderstanding of the first amendment and how it works, but that is a long discussion and we should save that for when we meet in person.

Well Dieseltec, I hope I’ve convinced you that Mapes Law Offices is the right place for you to file your bankruptcy. I would like to leave you with some words of inspiration from the dramatic film Billy Madison and I hope that you will take them to heart:

“What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

Sincerely,

Jeffrey D. Mapes — at Mapes Law Offices Grand Rapids Bankruptcy Attorneys.

Ouch. That’s gonna leave a mark.

POPULAR AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • skinnercitycyclist

    “David Allen Coe”!

    Perfect!

  • Al Dente

    The money quote:

    Unlike you, I provide services to everyone regardless of their sexual orientation because it doesn’t matter to me — I hope this won’t be a deal breaker for you.

    Mapes doesn’t care what his clients do in bed, he just cares if they can pay his fees.

  • John Pieret

    For once, my pride in my profession went up a notch.

  • http://onhandcomments.blogspot.com/ left0ver1under

    Too bad that bankruptcy lawyer is in Michigan. A deli owner in New Jersey needs his services.

    http://www.addictinginfo.org/2015/04/16/deli-owner-hangs-white-pride-sign-in-window-promptly-goes-out-of-business/

  • StevoR

    Very nicely done. Spot on.

  • dingojack

    Dear Mr Mapes –

    It’s evident that basic grammar is something with which you too seem to struggle:

    a) ‘staff’ is a collective noun and therefore plural, adjust the verb to agree with the noun.

    For example: ‘You will find our staff are both friendly & helpful.’

    b) don’t end sentences with prepositions.

    What about: ‘You seem to struggle with basic English grammar. We would be more than happy to help you with this problem.’

    I’m sure someone far more expert than me would be able to give you detailed assistance in business writing.

    I hope these tips are at least some help to you.

    Dingo

    ———

    Sorry. [/editor]

  • D. C. Sessions
  • dingojack

    When your ‘English’ is bad enough to overshadow the message*, it’s failing in it’s primary purpose.

    Dingo

    ——–

    * this is particularly true when you are:

    a) trying to look like you are a professional communicator

    b) trying to sneer at someone else for using poor grammar.

  • M can help you with that.

    “Don’t end a sentence with a proposition” is one of those BS grammar rules that is more about creating in-groups than about clear communication.

  • Leo T.
  • dingojack

    See the example I gave above.

    Are those two simple sentences too complicated to be understood? Even for someone that Mr Mapes, clearly, thinks of as an idiot? It’s about communication, not showing your mental ‘superiority’ in your (ponderous) sentence construction. I am in complete agreement with you about that point.

    Dingo

  • John Pieret

    Dingo:

    “This is the sort of bloody nonsense up with which I will not put.” – Winston Churchill

  • dingojack

    ‘Winston, you’re an idiot — and tomorrow I shall be sober’. Clementine.

    😉 Dingo

  • John Pieret

    Dingo:

    It’s about communication

    So what about your example was confusing or failed to communicate the author’s (ironic) intent?

    BTW, is ‘the Australian Military is the finest in southeast Asia’ correct?

  • weatherwax

    ‘England and America are two countries separated by the same language’

  • whheydt

    The “don’t end sentences with a preposition” was promulgated by grammarians who held up Latin as the ideal language. You can’t end a sentence with a preposition, according to my wife who has a degree in Linguistics.

  • Rick Pikul

    @dingojack:

    Collective nouns can be treated as singular or plural depending on context. The typical American usage is to use the singular when speaking of the collective as a unit and the plural when speaking of it as a group.

    So you have “our staff is being highly productive today,” and “our staff are engaged in many projects today.”

  • had3

    Dingo @ 6, “far more expert than me…” should be “far more expert than I.”

  • Al Dente

    English doesn’t have rules, it has conventions and customs.

  • John Pieret

    As someone once said (paraphrasing because I’m too lazy on a Saturday to look it up) “The English language is the product of Norman soldiers trying to get laid by Saxon bar wenches.” Why would it have rules?

  • sugarfrosted

    b) don’t end sentences with prepositions.

    What about: ‘You seem to struggle with basic English grammar. We would be more than happy to help you with this problem.’

    (TL;DR this rule is invalid and often people who put it forward don’t even know what a preposition is.)

    This myth of a rule, along with the one about splitting infinitives needs to die. Preposition stranding is incredibly common and valid in English. A couple common examples I would suggest against. “Where are you at.” is incorrect, because the at is superfluous. Often the referent of a preposition can proceed it in a sentence. You see this commonly in relative clauses.

    There are other common examples where a sentence ends in a particle which is the same form as a preposition.

    That Churchill nonquote (I don’t think anyone actually thinks it’s valid.) “This is the sort of bloody nonsense up with which I will not put.”

    The word ‘up’ in this is not a preposition, it is a particle of “put up” (this would be a separable prefix in German.) Still the non-stranded preposition variant:

    “This is the sort of bloody nonsense with which I will not put up.”

    Doesn’t sound like current-day modern English syntax, and sounds very “Daytshmerish”(overly German like) as one would say in Yiddish. In fact stranding preposition in relative clauses is always legal if it is not redundant.

    In my opinion EB White and whoever the fuck Struck is, did incalculable damage to English, by furthering the promulgation of this “rule.”

  • sugarfrosted

    @20

    As someone once said (paraphrasing because I’m too lazy on a Saturday to look it up) “The English language is the product of Norman soldiers trying to get laid by Saxon bar wenches.” Why would it have rules

    Because Creoles regularize over time? Initially it surely didn’t, but once children start speaking it, it gets more consistent and regular. Though variance between areas always occurs.

    It’s often said that African American English doesn’t have rules, but this is incorrect. I would go into this, but if you’re interested, just read the wikipedia article. The grammar rules are different, because it’s a creole language, like English once was.

  • John Pieret

    That Churchill nonquote (I don’t think anyone actually thinks it’s valid.)

    Yeah, I specifically chose that variant because it leads to a site that doubts its authenticity.

    http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/churchill.html

    I was just having fun with Dingo.

  • John Pieret

    sugarfrosted:

    I think you have brought “earnest” to a “fun” fight. I’m not more impressed with your version of “language police” than I am with the one Dingo was (quite possibly with tongue in cheek) promoting.

  • Peter B

    dingojack @6

    When I went to school fifty years ago collective nouns were considered singular. I.e. the group is working. It still irks me that data (plural in Latin) is considered to be plural in English. “Data” is a collective noun by any reasonable definition.

    I like the line about trailing prepositions and the child who carefully requested his likes and dislikes about bedtime stories. “Why did you bring that book I didn’t want to be read to out of up for?”

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Perhaps you could give me pointers on how you sleep at night?

    I would be happy to speculate. My guess is he lulls himself to sleep by fondling the gun under his pillow.

  • malta

    @6, Dingo:

    Staff can be either plural or singular. I’m not sure which style guides would persuade you, so I’ll just start with this one: http://www.economist.com/style-guide/singular-or-plural

    And ending a sentence with a preposition is perfectly grammatical. See: http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2011/11/grammar-myths-prepositions/

    That said, I think your suggested revision is a better stylistic choice. So really, you should have offered to help him with his style, not with his grammar.

  • Holms

    “…dramatic film Billy Madison…”

    YES.

  • John Pieret

    Reginald Selkirk:

    My guess is he lulls himself to sleep by fondling the gun under his pillow.

    Or fondling something else … though I seriously doubt it reaches to his pillow.

  • noahsarkive

    Oh boy!! GrammarGate!

  • caseloweraz

    @D.C. Sessions (#7):

    I guess I should preface this with the acknowledgement that you may be poking fun at Dingojack. The linked essay still rubs me the wrong way.

    I did not read Oliver Kamm’s essay. To do so I would have to subscribe to The Wall Street Journal. I did read the title, subtitle and part of the first paragraph, and those make it clear he is an excellent writer (for example, he treats “media” as a plural subject, unlike too many in the media today.)

    A brief investigation found he is a columnist for The Times and has recently published a book on grammar: Accidence Will Happen: The Non-Pedantic Guide to English Usage. The book has two 5-star customer reviews on Amazon.

    However, any piece of work titled “There is no ‘Proper English’ Never mind the grammar scolds. If people say it, it’s the right way to speak” condemns itself right off the bat. I don’t need to read any further to conclude that its thesis is untenable. First, English certainly does have rules — just as words have meanings. Second, the subtitle indicates he’s concerned about speech (for which most everyone agrees on less rigorous standards), but his visible criticism goes to written work (Wikipedia.) And third, the subtitle is misleading, for (I’m sure) he’s not going to discard any and all rules of grammar as it implies he will.

    I have been known to boldly split infinitives, and to end sentences a preposition with. (Yoda I thank.) And on occasion I even begin a sentence with “and.” Yet I sometimes hold the banner of pedantry aloft when I encounter usage like “the media is…” or common words used without regard for their accepted meanings. There are ways to write or speak English incorrectly, and they occur in professionally produced writing every day. A writer may be forgiven for breaking rules he does not know, or for overlooking mistakes due to deadline pressure. But asserting or implying there are no rules — that to me is unforgiveable.

  • whheydt

    Re: John Pieret @ #20…

    Not to mention Saxon soldiers trying to get laid by Welsh wenches and Danish soldiers trying to get laid by Anglo-Saxon wenches. And, of course, bunches of Latin-speaking Priests trying to tell all of them to cut it out.

    Somewhat later one gets:

    “The Americans are overpaid, oversexed, and over here”, countered with “the British are underpaid, undersexed, and under Ike.”

    Unfortunately, this last one really only works properly when spoken, but I’ll supply it anyway…

    Did you hear that Christine Keeler tried to commit suicide? She was found lying under a peer.