Thursday, April 05, 2007

Letters to the Editor

Here's something I do more and more these days.

1. Open my newspaper
2. Turn to the letters page
3. Find a prominent letter - one that advances the kind of opinion that will probably help you get laid - if made loudly enough in the right pub.
3. Read the opening sentence, then the conclusion.
4. Work out which element of the argument will be skipped over very quickly because it's absolutely crucial, and it completely undermines the author's argument.
5. Find that sentence - and underline it.

Today, just as a random example, I went here and read Professor Joe Sim's argument on the penal system. Nothing to disagree with there, initially. But you know there is going to be something along the lines of....
"But such language does not chime with the populist rhetoric articulated by politicians, the media and the judiciary. Furthermore, pragmatic expediency dominates the current debate on law and order which then allows politicians, in particular, to ignore the research which indicates that the public, and victims of crime, may be less retributive if the nuances in sentencing are explained to them." (My italics).
And who does the explaining? Perhaps Prof Sim will have a follow-up letter published tomorrow? One thing for certain though. It won't be anyone whose name rhymes with Wowessor Boe Dim.

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