Monday, October 1, 2007

The Kept Stupid

So on September 21st, the NW published a letter by one Clair Kentopp that really wished to take the newspaper to task for reporting on a vandalism that had occurred in Black River Falls. Ms. Kentopp seemed to believe this was irresponsible: "Well, you did it again!" she screamed, then continued:

Another article appeared in today's (Sept. 19) edition that demonstrates the total irresponsible "news" reporting by your newspaper. I am referring to the article on page A8 about the reason Black River Falls had to cancel school on Monday. First of all, this article has absolutely no news value to anyone in the Oshkosh area, only to the people in the Black River Falls school district. Secondly, and most importantly, this did nothing more than to put a thought into someone's head of another way to close down a school. Don't we have enough vandalism in our community without advertising new ways to get it done. Come on editorial staff, wake up and smell the coffee! Print positive news.

Well, this is, of course, all extremely silly and not worth getting very bent out of shape about, but if taking pen to paper in going to give meaning to Ms. Kentopp's day, then by all means she is welcome to do so, regardless of how ridiculous she seems to appear. But reading this little missive in this morning's paper, a response to Kentopp's letter that actually manages to out-do the original letter shrill sense of self-righteousness:

Letter critical of story was chronically flawed

It's been four days since I've read the letter to the editor by the righteously peeved, indignant Claire Kentopp (Sept. 21) concerning bus vandalism in Black River Falls, and I'm still steaming.

He makes it unmistakably clear that only his neo-con highroad will be tolerated, even though he erroneously believes that vandals, or hooligans, in this community can read, or even will take the time to read this newspaper that he is upbraiding. Nor does he even consider that there are other sources that also have this information … ever hear of the Internet?

All I could think of as I read his letter is the supreme absolute commandment to their religious followers: ignorance is bliss. This just screams of religion's ongoing campaign for abstinence and begs the question: why must we all be kept stupid?

Just think of some political leader deciding to manufacture evidence of weapons of mass destruction and using this as an excuse to illegally invade another country. Only an informed, open community would be able to avoid letting something like this from occurring.

He makes the facetious retort: print positive news. The newspaper is so full of puff pieces that I would like to see them all removed for more hard news. The world has billions of people in it and all you can manage is a handful of worldwide events that really concern us all. After all, aren't you called a newspaper?

Edward Schlack Neenah

Sweet Jesus, where does one begin!?!

Let's start with the fact that Mr. Schlack seems to think Clair (not "Claire") is a man's name, which would be news to me. Then there's this very odd connection between one woman's quixotic and grouchy crusade against vandalism and (a.) Neoconservatism, (b.) religious, doctrine, (c.) sexual abstinence, and (d.) the lack of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Wow ... part of me is actually impressed. I'll be honest: I didn't see those issues in my first reading of Kentopp's letter. Clearly I wasn't reading closely enough. Perhaps I am being "kept stupid" by nefarious forces my ignorance will not allow me to discern.

Perhaps we all owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Schlack for showing us the light. Who knew so much evil could be divined from such an otherwise innocuous and forgettable letter to the editor? Now if anyone can explain to me just what the hell his last graf is supposed to mean, I would be eternally grateful.

1 comment:

Douglas McCloud said...

The response letter from Mr Schlack was a fast ball down the middle of the plate and you my friend, smacked it deep into the left field bleachers.

When I read that yesterday I was reminded of a quote from one of my favorite songwriters/social critics, the late Frank Zappa: "you need to come to terms with stupidity and make it work for you." Mr Schlack clearly has come to terms with his stupidity and decided to make it work for himself by sending letters to the editor.

I can only hope Mr Schlack throws another one in there when I'm up to bat!