To coincide with our annual Scariest People issue, behold the 2012 entry into the Bob Dornan Scary OC Hall of fame...the readers of the Orange County Register!
If our archives were better, I'd be linking here to blubs we once did more than a decade ago highlighting all sorts of horrible letters that Orange County Register readers sent to their paper of record, letters saying slavery was good for African-Americans...wait, we found it!
Kind of. We have made a beat out of tracking the insane, creepy, disgusting, retrograde--yes, scary--people who read Orange County's daily since the beginning of this infernal rag. It's the gift that keeps on digging, whether the technology is snail mail, Facebook, or email. Take these examples, from our 2000 Best Of issue:
"We have sympathy for the people of the United Methodist Church, which was destroyed with loss of life, but the United Methodist Church is one of the most liberal and apostate denominations. The pastor was a woman, and the Bible says, 'Let your women keep silence in the churches.' It is time to change 'God bless America' to 'God have mercy upon America.'" Letter to the Register, April 15, 1994.
"I cannot vote for Kathleen Brown as I swore an oath never to vote for a female candidate. Females are on the attack and we males must oppose them at every point." Letter to the Register, Aug. 5, 1994.
At least these letters were written with basic grammar principles. But these letters date from the time people actually wrote Letters to the Editor. The game fundamentally changed with the advent of the Internet, and Register readers have vomited an endless stream of racism, homophobia, liberal-bashing, Muslim-bashing and--above all else--a hatred of Mexicans and SanTana ever since. Reg readers are so scary that we named them the 14th-highest reason why Orange County is the worst effen' place in America. Cue the tape:
14. Orange County Register readers, a group so horrific that Register reporters once wrote a letter to their editor demanding he no longer let them comment online. They tried to stop Register readers by switching over to requiring people to create an online identity--didn't work. They tried by forcing people to comment via Facebook--didn't work. Every single comment an Orange County Register reader leaves is a depressing reminder of how we continue to devolve as a species--and how fucked up Orange County will always be.
And we were being nice. We've known of Reg reporters who had to take restraining orders against their readers, who hated that they dared write middle-of-the-road stories about immigrants. We've been to the Reg's focus-group meetings where they invite readers to guide them in their story selection...and it turns into a Mexican bashfest. We see it in the eyes of Reg cub reporters we know, who say again and again that the worst part of working for the paper isn't the low pay, isn't the backstabbing by overpaid dinosaurs, isn't even the fact that David Whiting is the paper's star columnist, but the readers, who hound them incessantly and ALWAYS, ALWAYS, turn every story into a Mexican hatefest.
True story: Reg editor Ron Gonzales once told me and a crowd that upon getting hired to the Register in the 1990s, one of the first phone calls he took was a from a reader who wanted to know why the Reg had hired someone with a Hispanic surname. "You ain't one of those zoot-suiters, are you?" the reader told Gonzales. "I used to beat them up back in the 1940s."
HILARIOUS! That guy's probably dead, but you know his grandkids are whining about the Register covering white supremacists and leaving comments like this, regarding the Reg's recent discovery that OC's a white-power hotbed:
No! Please continue forever! You know that in 100 years, when we get news streamed into our synapses,Register
readers will continue their idiocy, no doubt bitching about other aliens...who are we kidding? They'll STILL hate on Mexicans. Stay classy,
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1998: Dr. Bernard Rappaport (deceased), former head of the county's Children and Youth Services
1999: Gloria Matta Tuchman, vendida Santa Ana schoolteacher behind the anti-bilingual education Proposition 227
2000: Jim Silva, former county supervisor, current state assemblymember, eternal dope
2001: Lou Sheldon, director of the Traditional Values Coalition
2002: The confirmed offspring of Bob Dornan
2003: Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackaukas
2004: Larry Agran, boss of Irvine and the Great Park
2005: Inductee lost in one of our many website revamps
2006: Greg Haidl, convicted rapist
2007: Catholic Diocese of Orange Bishop Tod D. Brown (awarded retroactively for his pedo-priest protecting ways)
2008: Disgraced, felonious, adulterous ex-Sheriff Mike Carona (awarded retroactively for the whole indictment thing)
2009: Santa Ana Mayor-for-Life Miguel Pulido (awarded retroactively for a career that saw him go from Aztlanista to the supreme vendido in Orange County--and in a county where Republican Mexicans have a group called the Hispanic 100, that's saying something)
2010: Orly Taitz, Birther Queen supreme
2011: Barbara Coe, Walking Cigarette/Anti-immigrant godmother