Remind me to never write about the Dixie Chicks again.
You can't tell by the accompanying mug shot, but my skin is a little thicker today. It had to be, out of necessity, because of the e-mail barrage in response to last week's column. (To recap: I criticized radio stations for banning songs by the all-female trio, arguably country music's hottest act.)
The response was phenomenal, unlike anything I've encountered. Below is a sampling of reader e-mails, presented in “con/pro” sets of two, and my retorts.
JUST WONDERING: “Do you truly believe the Socialist drivel you write?”
If you take out the words “Socialist drivel,” I'll answer that question. Yes, I truly believe what I write.
UNIFORMITY: “Great article. My sentiments exactly. The United States is becoming `The Self-Righteous Nation.' Why does everyone have to have the same opinion, or else?”
Great question. My sentiments exactly.
PURE VENOM: “Admit it, your hatred of America is only exceeded by your hatred of Toledo. You are truly a bitter man.”
I would admit it if it were true.
GRAVE CONCERN: “You will be fried for your column, no doubt. But you can go to your grave knowing you did the right thing.... Between now and then, you also will be able to look at yourself in the mirror.”
Will you please make sure, when the time comes, that my casket isn't lined with tar and feathers?
RAPID-FIRE INSULTS: “I get shivers up my spine when I read your left-wing, whining, anti-American columns. Only in America could a talentless, clueless, shabby imitation of an objective reporter air his views.”
First of all, I'm impressed that you could squeeze so many adjectives into two sentences. Secondly, I contend my stance is more in the spirit of America than yours.
THUMBS-UP: “Great column on the Chicks and the nasty McCarthyism that's sweeping our land and endangering our freedoms, and imperiling the children. ... You have a real talent for critical thought and writing.”
Did you read the same column as the person who weighed in with preceding comments? If so, thank you.
CLARIFICATION: “If an American citizen expresses their opinion, then that is a right that we all share. But if two people who share the opinion take action, then they are a mob?”
No. You know a “mob” when you see it - and I've never seen one of the two-person variety.
STATE OF SOCIETY: “It's scary being a part of this society. There is an air of hostility about `free speech' that shuts the mouths of those who fear the consequences to themselves and their loved ones. Is America on the edge of disappearing?”
I often wonder the same thing.
SAY WHAT?: “You are so anti-American, I don't know why The Blade gives you space in the paper for your hogwash.”
I find your “more patriotic than thou” attitude toward me perplexing because, I assume, we've never met. (See below for one “hogwash” theory.)
MUTUAL RESPECT: “Thanks for trying to confront the truth of things regardless of what is deemed popular. Even when we don't agree with you, we appreciate your thoughtfulness and willing to question!”
Thanks for being so respectful, even when we disagree.
Note: To read last week's column and/or to read samples of the feedback that arrived via e-mail, click on the link(s) below.