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May 25, 2022

Columnists and Readers Need to Stop the Back-and-Forth Bickering

Dear Editor,
There is something that has become very annoying and I have a
feeling I am not the only reader that feels this way.
Dear Editor,

There is something that has become very annoying and I have a feeling I am not the only reader that feels this way.

Quite often, your columnist will write in regards to an issue which will trigger a response from readers. I think this is pretty much “par for the course” when it comes the relationship between columnist and the readers – at least as long as I have been reading any newspaper. Then, more times than not the columnist will feel compelled to basically argue, debate, rebuke or whatever description is the most fitting at the time. This might cause another response from the same reader or different reader(s) to which the columnist can’t help themselves but to respond again. I have actually seen this go on for not only several days but weeks at a time. I have even noticed the different columnists doing this with each other in regards to an article written by one of them with an opinion different from the other one.

The annoying part of this (If it is not obvious already) is that I for one and I am sure many others do not find it enjoyable or entertaining to read articles in which, rather than a new subject matter or opinion being written, it is this back-and-forth bickering and the columnist not letting go of some statement or opinion the reader gave.

I can understand a brief statement referring to something someone wrote or maybe a quick correction to a misinterpretation, but sometimes most or all of the column is someone defending themselves or trying to prove a point that was originally raised and written about several days earlier.

Ironically, the columnist will then offer words of advice to the readers and insult them in the process. If they don’t write it in their column, they sometimes write a letter to the editor that is printed and they use that as their vehicle to get the last word to the readers who they should be thankful are actually reading their columns which many times are mediocre at best.

I don’t know any of these columnists, so I don’t have any personal opinion one way or the other about them as human beings. I am sure for the most part they are every bit as decent and up on the local issues as the next guy. Matter of fact, they may be outstanding human beings and maybe even recognized in some regard as good writers.

However, can they please just write an article each week, let the customers of the newspaper respond and then move as quickly as they can to the next topic they would like to write about? This would be much less annoying, more enjoyable, and much less painful than having readers like myself compare it with two children in the back of the car on a long road trip arguing back and forth about who is right about a subject that is probably not even worth the first response anyway. I am not sure if it is worse that they are going back and forth with a reader who is a total stranger, or it is someone they have a history with and are using the paper as their method of getting under their skin.

Either way it is annoying. I know how tempting it is to “lash back” at sometimes uniformed readers, but if you really put your mind to it, I think you can do it.

Jim Cortese, Gilroy

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