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Why Publish Letters from “Idiots”?

Now and then there’s a story or item that brings a nearly violent response from a small subset of readers. Even though they are usually represent a very small minority of my readers, I’ll often publish such letters. Why?

It is often a waste of time, which is why I try not to answer moronic complaints directly. I do try to choose interesting letters, or particularly outrageous or relevant ones, to answer in True or on the various pages on this site. But there’s a wider reason. Part of it is a matter of principle, but that’s not enough of a reason. Part of it is that when a contentious debate comes up, I get a lot of people passing the issues and page URLs around, which helps increase the subscription numbers. That’s nice, but that’s not really enough of a reason either.

The main reason is readers love it.

True is successful because I point at people doing dumb things — so we can all laugh at their silliness. It’s rather basic, but good, entertainment. So when my own readers do dumb things, why not just shine the light of reason on them and be entertained by them, too? Indeed, when I asked readers if that’s fair they not only said yes, they essentially insisted on it.

Some readers think I get upset at such “attacks”. Nope. Some think I’m “defensive”. Nope. Some think I ought to just ignore idiotic ranting. Well, that I do — you should see the letters I don’t publish! But when people insist on acting stupid and sending their stupidity in as a letter to the editor, then heck yeah I’m going to use it as part of the entertainment offerings of True!

Some of the most outrageous examples of this genre are here.

Readers complaining that a story is “too serious to be funny” are a special case, by the way. See related pages:

Related Pages

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