Emily Dalton Smith column in Monday's issue of the Spectrum notes that she could do without "nasty e-mails and snide comments zinged by lazy armchair quarterbacks to bolster their fragile egos." First and foremost, it is stereotypical and irresponsible to suggest that everyone who writes an e-mail to her paper is lazy. However, I can guarantee you that some of the well written, thought provoking feedback letters you receive and publish come from smart, intelligent people who are the farthest thing from lazy.
Am I looking to bolster my "fragile" ego by writing this letter? No, I don't believe I am. I choose to bolster my fragile ego as most men my age do, through drinking and video games. I do so by becoming incredibly knowledgeable in things that have no practical value, such as professional sports and "The Simpsons."
Perhaps Smith's ego is the fragile one that is in need of bolstering. By reacting in the way she did to the feedback she, and the Spectrum, receives, she is sending out the message that she is unable to cope with criticism, and that her ego is too fragile to bear the criticism any longer.
This is not to say that I don't believe that Smith, or anyone else, does not have the right to complain. This country was founded partially because there were a lot of people who wanted to complain, and who wanted to do so without fear of persecution. We have a constitutional right to complain. The right to complain also comes with the burden of doing so responsibly, though. Accusing all of those who write feedback of being lazy is not responsible.
I hope this letter has not taken on a "nasty" tone. I am not here to criticize the paper's content (although I have in the past) but instead to question Smith's seeming irresponsibility. In truth, I think we all admire her ability and desire (as well as the other writers of the Spectrum) to put herself in a position where she could, and does take many potshots from those who have neither the courage nor the inclination to do so. If she, or any of the other Spectrum writers are sick of these potshots, though, perhaps they should close down their feedback section.
While I will not write "good job" or "good try," I will say that it should be heartening to her that people actually take the time to write letters to her paper. In this day and age, there are so many distractions that require less thought that we all could engage in. Instead of pursuing those activities (most of which are more fun than writing letters), though, people actually write letters to you. They pay enough attention, and care enough, to take what you say seriously. And, while our responses may not be as heartening as a slap on the back, they should be more than enough validation that people are reading, and that they care.