COL Backed-up mail bag full of readers' unkind opinions
Ten fast months have passed since readers last claimed this space as their own. Over that near-year, this weekly effort has reported on ag imports and exports, farm experts and amateurs, policy winners and sinners and food fellows and felons. Each has brought waves of correspondence; much of it as welcome as a live grenade.
Like the faithfully poisonous monthly letters sent by a Nebraska reader.
Each is a perfectly typed, perfectly worded bomb. The one dated July 6 begins: "I want to go on record that I was one of three people who read every word of your column today." That's world-class complaining, and clever, too.
Then comes the indirect assault. "Another AP column today stated that there was a group putting a lobbyist in Congress to convince Congress why farmers are not sucking taxpayers dry. Are you in on that?"
He concludes with a grand bang. "You are not working for farmers ... You are a lazy space filler columnist of nothing." (Mom: If you're reading this and want to reply to him for me, call and I'll give you his name, address and phone number. Oh, can you please send me your peach pie recipe?)
Another reader, this one from Iowa, begins with a left-handed compliment before embarking on leftist name-calling. "One tries to read your columns with objectivity and on occasion one is even tempted to agree with you on certain points. But you lose all credibility in your constant mouthing of straight left-wing politics. You're nothing but an organ of the liberal Democrats ...."
(Mom: I'm sure the writer meant a church organ; a nice Lutheran church organ perhaps playing some nice Lutheran music from that very nice Lutheran composer Johann S. Bach. Oh, can you please send me my single-shot .22 rifle?)
One Illinois letter writer has "no doubt" that I am a card-carrying member of "the Hollyweird left" and that I "should be ashamed to show (my) inability to reason."
After warming to the topic, the writer relates that "In Iraq, your tongue would be cut out and your hands cut off to silence you, and in all probability, a bullet put in your head."
(Mom: As you know, I'm not in Iraq. Besides, that nice President Bush -- you know, the one who sent you and Dad a lovely Christmas card last year -- is making Iraq safe just in case I am deported to Baghdad. Oh, please send me Dad's single-shot 12-gauge, too.)
After a column in which I described Europe as more anti-George Bush than anti-American, one e-mailer wrote to say he'd be at the dock to wave me good-bye when I moved permanently to The Continent.
"People like you deserve to live in Europe... You clearly demonstrate by your writings that you are a man who has never really given anything to his country. Chances are you never served in the armed forces nor have you ever done anything for anybody but yourself. Your biggest contribution is to shoot your liberal mouth off. Why don't you take a one-way trip to Europe?"
(Mom: You know I tried to join the Texas Air National Guard but I was bumped at the last minute by a congressman's son whose golf handicap was lower than mine. Oh, scratch the single-shot ..22 and 12-gauge and please send me Dad's 12-gauge Marlin pump.)
And, finally, "Every time you shoot your mouth off in your columns I think of the Clinton era. ... All we hear from you is farmers and their problems. (You're) a crybaby cheerleader pumping out garbage in newspaper articles..."
The writer then finishes with a flourish, er, I mean flush: "You make me sick. Your newspaper articles should only be used in the good old-fashioned outhouses. Stick it where the sun doesn't ..."
(Mom: Don't worry, our indoor plumbing still works. Oh, please FedEx the Marlin pump.)
Guebert is a syndicated columnist from Delavan, Ill.