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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Voices from the Great Beyond

The other day my husband and I were talking about something in the newspaper (newspaper, you say. Does anyone read the newspaper anymore?)

Anyway, I can't remember what the subject was, but I do remember him saying: "I don't read the letters like you do." And I thought, he doesn't read the letters--they're the best part.

Anyway, I can't remember what the subject was, but I do remember him saying: "I don't read the letters like you do." And I thought: He doesn't read the letters--they're the best part!

Which got me wondering. What IS is about the letters to the editor that I enjoy so much?

In my local paper, I enjoy the stupidity I read there. In the New York Times I enjoy the erudition. And when it comes down to it, I just enjoy a good argument.

Because that's what they are, aren't they? The so-called "dialog" of a democratic free press.

Ah, the hell with that. It's just fun to see people agreeing and disagreeing with each other.

I especially like it when folks make a point from within their own world view. Like the bible-thumpers who argue a point "because the bible says" so and so. Well, if you don't go by what the "bible says," the argument is moot. It's kind of like arguing against anti-communism by quoting Marx.

I think the letters also bring a bit of humanity to the news, which can often feel large, distant, and overwhelming. But to know that a particular story struck a certain gal in Omaha (or my own zip code) brings it all closer to home. It's a little reality-TV on the page.

And now that I think of it, I don't read LTE in every publication. I pretty much skip over the stuff in Lucky and In Style (Oooh, I loved the article you did on Jennifer Gardner...she's could so be my new best friend...) I pretty much scan over them in the RWA mag. But when it comes to the news, I've got my nose right in there.

So, like I said, I'm wondering. Do other people also read letters to the editor? Am I alone in my obsession? Or are most folks, like Larry, disinterested in what the Great Unwashed have to say?


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