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Furious George

Dunlap e-mail flap no surprise

Last week, the Observer reported that school board member George Dunlap had angered a former CMS parent by sending a smart-alecky e-mail reply to her complaint about the handling of Supt. Pughsley's departure. Dunlap responded to the woman's missive by reaching deep into the official Kids' Insult Answer Kit and digging out the classic "It takes one to know one." The woman did not reply to Dunlap's e-mail retort, so he never had a chance to further tell her "I know you are, but what am I?" or the equally effective "Yeah, well, you're another." Maybe some other time. This isn't the first time Dunlap has fired off a snarky e-mail by any means. The humble public servant has let CL know on occasion that he was displeased with something we've printed, and at least once, his message has been rude enough (and borderline intelligible enough) that the editor at the time (i.e., me) felt obliged to call him on it.

Here's an example. Last September, Tara Servatius wrote a column in which she said some members of the school board wanted to bus white suburban kids to center city schools. The next day, Servatius received an e-mail from Dunlap which said, in its entirety, "I will pray for you even if you. Being a liar will not get you to heaven. If that were the case, you'd be gone by now."

The unfinished first sentence threw us for a minute, but worse syntax was yet to come. I thought his e-mail was unnecessarily harsh, so I e-mailed Dunlap:

"As editor of Creative Loafing, I resent both the tone and the content of your e-mail message to Tara Servatius. If you would like to respond to one of her columns in the form of a letter to the editor with factual counter-arguments, I will be sure it is given all necessary space in our letters section. However, gratuitous comments such as your message are personally insulting and are unproductive in terms of getting to the bottom of the issues involved. In the future, please refrain from this kind of personal sniping unless you are willing to have your comments printed in our publication."

Well, George didn't waste much time responding. Here's the exact text of his return message to me: "If you were any kind of editor, you would check you facts before lies are printed. you email to speaks much about your own character. Put that in your paper."

I couldn't believe this guy. So, I sent Dunlap one more e-mail: " 'You email to speaks'? Learn how to construct a sentence and spell and I'll consider printing something you write."

So, long story short, last week's big E-mail Dust-up with Dunlap didn't come as a big surprise around our office. As Dunlap told the Observer last week, "Sometimes I like a good fight." Trouble is, George, sometimes others do, too.

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