Allan Takes Aim Blog

Letters to the editor (replacement blog)

Posted on: 7 June 2013

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Letters to the editor

Have you ever written a letter to the editor? As a male ex letter to the editor writer, let me warn other males they should beware of taking it up as a hobby because writing letters to the editor can become even more seductive than your wife or the woman of your dreams.

Apart from being seductive, and depending on much you hope your efforts are successful, letter writing can also become obsessive with some letter writers becoming so consumed by writing them that occasionally their day passes in a daze. What they don’t know is, that if successful in getting them published could start them on the road of serious consequences.

Not that I wish to make men feel uncomfortable but, like an Afghanistan road planted with IEDs, the road of serious consequences has IEDs marked divorce, psychiatrist, murder, moneylenders, suicide and, nearest mental facility.

Although you might never trip any of the latter you’ll find out how expensive your hobby can become if you want to be taken seriously. For this to happen, you must keep up with the news from around the world. Unfortunately, the internet today, the main source of overseas news, can be expensive. Of course if you’re interest is confined to your own locality your main news source is likely to be either your local newspaper, local radio and TV stations.

And beware of addiction to a particular subject, politics for example, a fate that befalls some letter writers. A short digression: Politics is an addiction which is why so many politicians seem to think voters are there to serve them, not the other way round.   

Digression over I can only add that food is not often featured on the letter pages despite it reaching epidemic levels with various TV programmes and glossy magazines with inserts designed to appeal to the glutton in us. This seems odd in an affluent society like Australia when so many newspapers run features about churches and other organisations setting up programmes to help society’s neediest keep the wolf from the door.

Other subjects prominent on the letters page are education, health, planning, science and climate change. Letters about religion are of a different kettle of fish. They are more a war of words between Christians and Muslims that looks as if it will continue for some time to come. My hope: that this war keeps being fought on the letters pages and never reaches the streets. Optimistic as I am, I am braced for disappointment.

Even though there are many letters about community issues, sadly, I have to say, the underlying theme in many of these letters is not the offer of sensible alternatives but a spruik in support of a political party.

Effectively the letter writers use the letter pages as a means of gaining unpaid (?) political advertising. While you might question this statement just start reading the letter pages and you’ll soon see what I mean.

What rescues the letters pages from these writers are letters from writers who have resisted party political indoctrination and have opinions that run contrary to those of all political parties. For me, some of these people should be in parliament.

I’d like to end by stressing that the purpose of this blog is not to discourage people from writing letters to the editor but to point out to those considering the idea that the letters page can be a great vehicle for giving community the opportunity to read about ideas that, while not necessarily earth shattering in importance, nonetheless offer the sensible solutions to problems that elected politicians fail to offer.

I can but add that if you don’t like the idea of writing a letter to the editor you can always start a blog of your own.

Comment welcome.

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1 Response to "Letters to the editor (replacement blog)"

10. Make it interesting, not redundant of what other letter writers have already written. Remember, we get hundreds of letters each week. As a result, most cannot be published. If you don’t succeed the first time, try again and again!

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