Here's a new blog feature, I think I'm going to call it PLEASE STOP WRITING. For those of you who don't know, one of the things I do everyday is look over the letters to the editor in several papers. Why I do that is irrelevant. What I find is sometimes maddening.
Three examples from today. The first is from the Burlington Hawk Eye, far and away Iowa's single greatest source of crackpottery. My favorite lines are in bold.
In re: to Mr. Young, Phoenix, Ariz., June 29 — your alleged disbelief in God and your reading of the Bible is a paradox.
If you don't believe in God, why fight against Him? Wouldn't that be referred to as sparring with a myth or, as St. Paul says, "fighting as one beating the air." Would you use the dictionary but deny the well–known lexicographer Noah Webster as the author?
Your disbelief in God does not diminish Him in any capacity, it only diminishes you.
The real truth is, God believes in you, Fact. He loves you, He thought you were worth dying for.
Saul of Tarsus also didn't "believe" while on his way to round up all Christians to kill them. He was knocked from his horse, a bright light surrounded him, he heard a voice saying, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"
Please note Saul's response, "Who art thou Lord?" Saul became Paul, the greatest disciple for God.
Perhaps God has His eyes on you, Charles. I feel a greatness in you that even you don't realize is there.
Working for God? The pay isn't much but the retirement plan is out of this world! And I wouldn't miss that for the world!
Let's make one thing perfectly clear. There are lots of perfectly acceptable places for this debate to happen. None of them happen to be the Hawk Eye. It's a NEWSpaper. It's supposed to publish NEWS, and sometimes opinions on the NEWS. It is not the place for your theological debates, your belittling of the views of others, or Dennis Caulfield's bi-weekly letters to the editor concerning the boring nature of Star Wars and the need to start a Straight Pride parade.
And that line about "feeling a greatness in you that even you don't realize is there," is more than a little creepy.
Next letter, and surprise! It's also from The Hawk Eye:
Richard Distelhorst is certainly correct. It is now time we impeach Bush.
Our so–called brilliant government impeached President Nixon for some piddly thing. Nixon had great relations with countries including China.
What Bush is doing now is a million times worse. As we all know there were no weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq. Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11. Bin Laden was totally responsible, and still after four years we still haven't found him. He might be playing High Hold 'Em in Las Vegas.
SPENCER GARTH LARSON
First of all, Spencer Garth, (S.G.?) when liberals like me start backing away from you, that means you're WAY on the left wing. Our so-called government? What else would we call them if we didn't call them that? Some piddly thing?
Reasons for going to war are a touchy subject, and I don't ever plan on arguing them here. I'd rather talk about the bigger problem: That some dumbass named Spencer Garth felt the need to proclaim himself an expert on the matter.
Lastly, I'm pretty sure if Bin Laden was playing Texas Hold 'Em in Vegas, Bravo would've asked him to be on Celebrity Poker Showdown.
This last one comes from the Iowa City Press Citizen:
On June 24, Tom Cruise finally crossed the line. In a Today Show television interview, he declared: "There is no such thing as a chemical imbalance." In an Entertainment Weekly interview, he also compared psychiatry to Nazism.
Along with the American Psychiatric Association and National Mental Health Association, NAMI condemned Cruise's remarks in a formal statement released to the news media. He is entitled to his personal point of view but not false facts -- particularly when they perpetuate stigma around the nature of mental illness and treatment. I am disgusted with Cruise. What possible good is it to shame someone for having a mental illness?
Mental illnesses involve biological brain disorders, no matter what Cruise says. Medication and proper therapy often make a difference between life and death.
It is irresponsible for Paramount Studios and Cruise to use a movie publicity tour to promote an ideological view that deters people with mental illness from getting the care they need -- and adds to stigma.
Paramount Studio should help undo the damage by supporting legitimate mental health organizations and public awareness campaigns around mental illnesses.
I wonder how many more suicide attempts will be made because of Cruise's thoughtless comments.
Ok, admittedly, this one isn't as bad as the other two, but any letter that starts with "On June 24, Tom Cruise finally crossed the line" has got to draw mention here.
Tom Cruise is on a career suicide mission at this point. Much like Mel Gibson shortly after the Passion or Brad Pitt after any public moment, the general public is well on their way to discovering that there is ABSOLUTELY NO intelligence required to being a leading man in Hollywood, and that the ultimate truth is more likely to come from a bowl of Alpha Bits than from Tom Cruise.
If you're committing suicide or denying yourself the mental care you need because Tom Cruise doesn't believe you have a problem, then maybe your problem is irrational choice of authority figures.
I tend to think my problems are caused by stupid people who write letters.
This has been KL Snow.