Copyright © 1998 Investor's Business Journal, Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.
HTML modifications by Scott Pakin.

Article about my complaint-letter generator

The following article, written by Karin D. Case, appeared in the 30 April 1998 issue of the Investor's Business Journal.


Ranting and Raving is Therapeutic

I am so mad I could just scream!

But, that would disrupt my staff, thus delay my deadlines, and create mass chaos. So instead of spreading my stress to the entire staff, I will write a complaint letter about the bane of my contempt as a passive method to pacify my hostilities.

I do not however, have the time to really put all my hate-filled thoughts down on paper. That is why I have come to greatly appreciate and frequently visit Scott Pakin's Automatic Complaint-Letter Generator web site.

In a mere 30 seconds, I can enter the name of whomever has irritated me most recently, along with the person's gender and how many paragraphs of senseless ranting and raving I would like my complaint letter to be and have my venting done for me. I also get a good laugh out of it.

Pakin's web site, complete with a disclaimer for "the humor-impaired," creates complaint letters by randomly picking pre-programmed phrases and inserting whatever name you choose. The site boasts over 4000 words and phrases in its database. Plus, Pakin programmed the site to patch together words, phrases and sentences according to a set of grammatical rules. This method of programming almost ensures a different letter every time. (I should know I've entered every person's name on staff, plus some friends and relatives names and have yet to find a duplicate.)

The site is designed strictly for humor, however, many (like myself) have actually sent/e-mailed copies to the subject of the letter.

One user wrote Pakin and said, "I have spent several hours today sending personalized complaints to all my friends. It's amazing how accurate they are! I posted a complaint about Bill Gates on alt.fan.bill-gates and I have received several thoughtful responses. One lady thought I was right on but a bit too wordy and someone else dismissed my thoughts as an incoherent rant. Of course, they both received personalized complaint letters."

Pakin said although most letters are generated to complain about ordinary people, the most common public figures complained about are Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich and Bill Gates.

Pakin compares people's tendency to notice the statements true to their situation and disregard the completely inaccurate statements to people's comments on "hand reading, horoscopes, psychic readings and such." He adds "It's general enough to be true or fit anyone and everyone, yet specific enough to mean something."

I want to share a sample complaint letter with our IBJ readers. I thought of who might be an interesting yet unoffending person to about which to voice complaints. So, in the interest of political correctness and fear of upsetting anyone on staff, I have opted for the safest route and generated a complaint letter about myself. Here it is, but I emphatically deny the last statement.

My complaint about Karin Case

Before anyone takes umbrage at what I'm about to say, let me explain that some of Karin Case's claims raise important questions about future social interactions and their relationship to civil liberties. In the first place, evil individuals are acting in concert with other evil individuals for an evil purpose. I believe, way deep down, that it would not be out of character for her to seek temporary tactical alliances with pesky fogeys in order to detach individuals from traditional sources of strength and identity -- family, class, private associations. Has she told her confreres that she wants to exploit the masses? Has she given any thought to what would happen if she did? Of course, these questions are ridiculous -- as ridiculous as her cranky criticisms.

Whatever else may be the case, it is certain that the downward spiral of society and the concomitant growing threat of favoritism are the natural results of her chauvinistic utterances. Even if I agreed that Case's wayward uninformed allegations were of paramount importance, it would still be the case that when it comes time to take a stand, Case invariably dives for cover. She has it all wrong; you'll never hear her admit she made a mistake. Up to this point, we have explored some of the motivations and circumstances which make her want to issue a flood of bogus legal documents. However, we must look beyond both her motivations and history if we are to truly understand her solutions. She must think that being putrid entitles one to evoke a misdirected response to genuine unresolved grievances. If Case's ideals aren't iconoclastic, I don't know what is. Case supports a wide variety of mottos. Some are foul; others are hostile. A few openly support barbarism. Lastly, everything Karin Case tells you is a lie.

To generate your own complaint letters visit http://www-csag.cs.uiuc.edu/individual/pakin/complaint. If you appreciate Pakin's humor on the complaint-letter generator site, find out how to keep an idiot busy at another of Pakin's creations, http://www-csag.cs.uiuc.edu/individual/pakin/idiot/chapter1.html.


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