19 thoughts on “Hate Mail

  1. Steven Bently

    Claiming that you are a christian does not prove to anyone that you are an honest person, remember Jesus prefers to forgive those that sin that would include liars, crooks, thieves, child molesters and even murderers. Because a christian can feel like they have been forgiven for a crime and yet still commit another crime without guilt because the christian is aware that they can be forgiven for any crime 24/7 by their imaginary forgiver of sins as long as they continue to believe that Jesus is their personal savior.

    An atheist does not have a personal forgiver therefore an atheist would think twice before committing a crime, because he knows he’ll have to pay to society for his crimes and make amends to his victim (s). Whereas a christian thinks their amends are paid in full to their imaginary deity.

    Jesus only forgives those who believe in him, he does not forgive those who do not believe in him or his father which is himself in disguise.

  2. Gary Waltrich

    Bob,

    I’ve been a fan forever, please take this as the friendly advice it’s intended to be. I wish you the best and want you to succeed.

    Perhaps the anti-religious message and the Amazing Strangers tangent aren’t compatible? You built a national cult following bashing religion, and people without a voice latched onto your site as a respite from the holy insanity around them. You gave us something we needed and as a result, your site grew in popularity.

    But now when we go to your site, your updates are about the doings of weird people in Union Square. Most of your fans aren’t from New York; we’re tuning in to see the latest battle between our favorite horned knight and the forces of ignorance. By diverting your energy to Amazing Strangers, have you put down your sword?

    Maybe Amazing Strangers should be its own site, a separate project. I know it’s been a hit, the NY Times article and so on. But I have to believe your most die-hard fans are much more interested in the Jesus freaks, not the winos. Just one fan’s opinion, nothing more.

    We’ve never met, but I’ve visited your site so often that you seem like an old friend to me. And when an old friend asks for honest advice, you give it him. I wish you all the best.

    Gary Waltrich
    Philadelphia

  3. Aaron

    How much money are you willing to spend Bob?
    Because I’m pretty sure a “Dress up Jesus Billboard Campaign” across the Bible Belt would have the Hate mail river flowing again in no time!

  4. jeremy

    I see where Gary is coming from, but I don’t see that the lack of hatemail is a function of your fans or what they think (though I happen to share the love of hatemail, but also can’t really relate to the whole NYC Amazing Strangers thing).

    Bob, I think you need to find a way to “bring back the hate”. Being number 2 on a google search for Jesus is simply incredible and you *must* leverage that.

    We can reasonably assume that a lot of Christians are clicking on normalbobsmith.com, and that first click is key. I think your front page is simply not offensive enough. My suggestion is to put dress-up-Jesus as your front page.

    BRING BACK THE HATE!

  5. Atheist

    On your site http://www.jesusdressup.com/ you have a drawing of yourself where people can contact you. Maybe you could take one of your wonderfull pictures of yourself where you are dressed as Satan and replace it with the drawing of yourself.
    Then the christian people might think that you worship Satan and maybe this could raise the hatemail ;-)

  6. Thackerie

    I’m with Gary Waltrich. I don’t give a darn about “Amazing Strangers” in NYC. I’m just here for the Hate Mail (and a little bit of “Satan’s Salvation”).

  7. Mikey

    Hey, guys…..Jesus Dressup and Amazing Strangers can coexist on the same site just fine, in fact they always have. Bob has had several irons in the fire all along, and I doubt that any one of them is a significant cause in the decline in popularity of another.

    I think that Bob is right about people venting thru other media more and more. I also think that this is just another lull: remember the lack of hate mail only a few months back, followed by a big surge? When the End Days fail to materialize in a few days, I expect the loonies to get into some sort of angry funk. Let’s see.

    Maybe it is time to stir up the anthill a bit, though………

  8. Gary Waltrich

    Jeremy,

    You’re right, I wasn’t clear enough about the hate mail. My thinking is that Jesus-heads go to the site, don’t see anything to get angry about, scratch their heads in confusion and click back to Google. Just as the fans are going to the web site and not finding any new atheism stuff day to day, the Christies aren’t finding anything to get angry about.

    I mean, look at the main site page right now. Try to see it as someone who has never seen it before. There’s a guy dressed like Satan, OK. Other than that, what? A movie about a guy in a pink wig? A hot girl with a sci-fi gun? Why would a JC-head get worked up?

    Gary

  9. Apostate Lois

    I would be sad if all the hate mail went away. I can’t understand why Christians aren’t getting worked up as much over stuff like this, when you see them all the time getting their panties in a knot over everything else that pisses them off. Maybe sites like Twitter and Facebook really have sounded the death-knell of people writing angry letters to atheist sites.

    Or maybe you just need to find a way to revamp your whole site, make it all shiny and new. People like shiny new things–it’s why they’re so quick to rush out and buy the latest shit, whether they need it or not. I think Gary is right, the main page has a bunch of random stuff on it that wouldn’t immediately attract the attention of a person finding it for the first time.

  10. Aaron

    How about a big, red, shiney “Contact me” button on the main JDU? (or something to that effect). I know you have the picture of your face as a contact link but Christians aren’t the most observant bunch. maybe they need something a bit more obvious to get in touch with you?
    Also I just googled “Jesus” and you were number 4! And I googled “Jesus Christ” and you werent even on the front page!! :-(
    What happened to the good ‘ol days of #1 :-(

    Im not savvy with how Google works but anything you can do to climb back up the ladder could help….

  11. Aaron

    Ofcourse it is possible that they’ve (finally) figured out that we’re all just sat here laughing at them…..or they’re all just sitting around waiting for the world to end, we’ll see if the hate mail returns like the flood of Noah on May 22nd.

  12. Mikey

    Hi, Bob. I think that Aaron has a good point. I assume that a majority of irate Christians send hate mail as a direct result of landing on one of the Dressup pages, not by finding your main site on its own. Perhaps some web analytics you have access to would confirm this. Is it also possible that Google is dropping your ranking under “jesus” due to you rotating the Dressup pages, rather than just keeping the main Jesus Dressup up front? The email link on the dressup pages could indeed be more obvious, maybe a cartoon mailbox with a little Satan on it. The flashing link to your main site is also not entirely obvious as a link, so that could also be enhanced.

    There is also no apparent email link on the front page of your site, and I know that when I looked for one a year or two back, it took me a while to find one. The little envelope graphics on some pages do not jump out at me. I guess that you have to lead web users around more like the sheep they are, especially the Christians, who actually take pride in being sheep.

    I don’t think that the drop in hate mail has much to do with the nature of your main page, but a redo would be welcome. I really liked it when you re-designed most of your pages to a white background a year or two back. Maybe it’s time to extend it to the main page.

    Good luck!

  13. Alice Priest

    Jeremy has an interesting thought, but I’d change that a little. Your site is well-loved in its current format. perhaps what you need is a banner at the top for jesus dress-up that can be seen without scrolling down. That could help.

  14. normalbob Post author

    Hey folks,
    Don’t misinterpret my complaining about lack of hate mail as me throwing in the towel, or a cancelation of the Hate Mail section. I’m explaining the lack of constant updates in that section and looking for solutions. I fear being in a bubble out here in NYC surrounded by atheists, and felt there could very well be some insight you could give me from the outside looking in.

    I think the thing that terrifies me most about maintaining this site and my adoration for it is finding myself in a rut doing the same ol’ thing, and evidence of that in the content I post. I make it a point NEVER to work on new posts when inspiration or material is lacking. That, I believe, is the downfall of most sites (posting crap material, or forcing comedy).

    • Aaron, I definitely don’t have the money to run a billboard campaign. Sorry, that’s a definite no-go.

    • The other parts of the site (Amazing Strangers) aren’t taking up time I’d otherwise be spending on the anti-religious parts. All other parts of the site are IN ADDITION to show more of me and my interests and keep me from being limited to just one subject. I’ve also found there’s crossover, and people who’d never come across one part of my site find it because of another part. The content variety only helps, I’m sure. Less variety on any site is never a good thing.

    • Most of my hate mail comes directly from people seeing Jesus Dressup and immediately emailing me. Most of them never reach normalbobsmith.com. Interestingly enough, I’ve also found that more hate mail is inspired by the more tempered versions of Jesus Dressup, and when for instance BDSM Jesus, or Final Justice are made the default less hate mail comes in. I believe the insult is too obvious and people think “What’s the point?” While the Original version, or Christmas one cause more questions, confusion and discussion. Hate mail is an odd bug. The regular rules don’t apply. Obviousness isn’t the solution. I’ve seen examples of that again and again.

    • Switching the default version of Jesus Dressup actually helps my Google placement. One of the many criteria for the Google rank system is how often the site is updated and added to. That’s also why so many other Jesus sites fail, because they’re never updated after their initial post.

    Looking at everything now I’m actually fairly certain it’s what Mikey says. It’s your typical lull. Give it a week or two and there’ll be another swoop of activity. But I also think it has a lot to do with so much change happening with the internet, the economy, and the general zeitgeist. The way people communicate and get heard is changing drastically, and quickly! In the end this is all just an attempt by me to stay informed and keep more towards the top of the heap and away from the bottom.

    I’ve been hoping for some time now to take normalbob.com and make that the simpler, revamped main page to start linking everything to. I might simply need to be pointed towards what exactly that could actually be. I will happily admit my brain is locked into viewing the front page as it is and has been for the last 11 years. Show me examples of how you think it could look and work better. Keep in mind I have to be able to do it on my own without a crew of html geniuses to help out.

    All you people’s help, suggestions and encouragement is appreciated. Have no doubt I’m not going anywhere, threatening taking anything away or losing any love for this game.
    Thank you!

  15. Blugruv99

    Bob,
    I think your marketing strategies are pure genius! I’ve been hooked on Amazing Strangers for a long while now, and I have only recently discovered Jesus Dress Up. I absolutely love it! I don’t interperate http://www.jesusdressup.com as hate toward christianity, only education and an attempt at reversing the brainwashing which has infected the delusional minds of those who need your message the most. I think you are doing a service for us all. I have shared the site with numerous friends, posted the link on my Facebook and Twitter pages, I have even had my family dressing up Jesus as Lady Ga-Ga, and in the full BDSM garb. My point is this: the “crossover” theory is working! Thanks for being a voice of sanity during a time of mass-hysteria regarding the “End Of Days”, and a special thanks for taking the time to observe, document and share Amazing Strangers. If other people don’t see the value of all your work, then it’s their loss…
    Keep Loving The Game!

  16. Jesus H. Christ

    On your jesusdressup.com site, replace your cartoon picture with an actual picture of you, in the full satan tuxedo. Or at least a cartoon of it if you want to keep photographic images off. I’m sure this is a temporary lull in hate mail, but it would surely increase the amount of hate mail you get and that is a win-win for everyone who loves your site, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.

    Also I wanted to state that even though I’m not from NY (I live in Heaven, obviously) I enjoy the Amazing Strangers and other NY-centric content. It is funny. Not as funny as if I lived in NY I am sure, but still amusing enough to check out the majority of it.

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