Bangor Daily News

The origin of this blog.  (The Bangor Daily editors did not run this op-ed.)

Dear Editor:

I find Renee Ordway’s October 15-16 column offensive, and I want you to fire her and hire me.  You really ought to be ashamed to inflict such utterly thoughtless non-opinions on your readership.  I realize this is Maine, and we are close to Canada in our reasonableness and efforts to see every side of an issue, but when that has progressed to the point where a person cannot take a stand on or form an opinion about anything going on in the community, that person simply does not belong writing a column.

Ms. Ordway is clearly a very nice lady, and this is precisely the problem.  Her job as a columnist is not to be nice.  It is to make definite assertions and to back them up with logic and evidence.  Not only does she fail entirely to do this, not only has her column not gotten started by the time the reader must flip to page B5, not only, in fact, has she not gotten started by the end of the column, but she has not even selected a topic not to take a stand on.

Clearly, she does not want the job.  I do.  I have definite opinions about the world, I express them forcibly, and your readership will not only read them with interest but they will form opinions in reply.  This is not a joke.  Fire her.  Or, if she has a friend of the board of directors, give her a lateral promotion to a position where she can be nice, inoffensive, and say nothing, for example by writing horoscopes.

You need someone who can write 5-600 words every week on time, put forth a clear definite opinion, respectably and strikingly.  I can do that.  I am in truth a very nice man, and I value the principle of Christian charity in myself and in others, but I am not so fearful of disagreement or debate that I will ever in my life write such a tepid, useless, “gee I don’t know what to say” column as you have let Ordway get away with this week.

Did you even read that thing before you printed it?  It is offensive to any thinking human by virtue of the very fact that no thinking human could be offended by it.  A blank space discretely labeled “this space left intentionally blank” would have been preferable, and you know it.  I am serious:  I want that job.  I will never do to you what Ordway has, out of love of the printed word as much as respect for my good name.

I mean it — you know I’ll do a better job, if only by virtue of the fact I wrote you this letter, which Ordway never could.  The only responsible thing for you to do as an editor is to send me an email indicating acceptance of the two columns enclosed, offering me the same rate you pay her (if not a higher one), and asking where to send the check.

You can bet your bottom line I’ll do better than hide in the curtains when someone asks me what I do, too.  Call the thing This Man’s View, if that’s acceptable to you.  I wish Ordway well, but she does not belong in that job.

Sincerely,

Conrad Cook

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