The Lost Art of Letters to the Editor

letters Justin Adams

Before people used Twitter and Snapchat to complain about parking and before people got into flame wars on Facebook and the YouTube comments section, there was the letter to the editor. Yes, back before social media, the local newspaper’s letters to the editor section was the ideal public forum to air one’s grievances and/or beef with their professors/parking/administration/etc.

Here are some of the best letters to the editor submitted during the 80’s.

This guy, who gets really defensive about the Rolling Stones.

Editor:

Randall Edward’s attitude towards the Rolling Stones and their music is quite clear. I mean, in a completely objective sense, they are God, and by definition, can do no wrong. And for his blasphemy, he must necessarily go straight to hell. So please, please, don’t allow him to lead any of the innocent children astray by the vile sacrilege of another of his Stones reviews. Souls are at stake.

Stuart A. McDonald

Or there’s this response to a previous letter to the editor that asked the Chronicle to avoid “sexual topics.”

Editor:

Regarding the four random run-of-the-mill conservatives and their suggestion of avoiding sexual topics for one week, we say this: “Avoid the Chronicle for one week!” What to do instead? Just “cheeriodle.”

Robert Volker and Randy Schoeck

Does anyone know what “cheeriodle” means?

This guy really needed a Twitter:

Editor:

2:15 P.M. is a god-awful time to teach the Hemingway course. Change it to 8:50 A.M. or 9:55 A.M. We mean it.

Andrew Stone

This guy just wants a pen-pal:

Editor:

I am a prisoner on death row at the Arizona State Prison and I was wondering if you would do me a favor. I have been here for quite a while and I don’t have any family or friends on the outside to write to. So what I was wondering is if you could put an ad in your campus newspaper for me for correspondence… I desire correspondence with either male or female college students to form some kind of friendly relationship and exchange past experiences and ideas. I will answer all letters and exchange pictures. If interested, write to:

Jim Jeffers, Box B-38604, Florence Arizona, 85232

But he’s also got a definite “Nigerian prince swindler” vibe so be careful.

How about a BYU fan who took to the pages of the Chronicle to talk some smack:

Editor:

As a BYU student I say my prayers every night. And in those prayers I always express thanks to the University athletic program – especially for coach Wayne Howard. Never before in sports has one man been so detrimental to a squad. I have seen Utah play three times this season (USU, CSU, UNM); and it is my opinion that if you don’t take a pocket radio along to listen to the BYU game, you had better take your pillow and your pajamas.

Or there’s the Chairman of the Department Music publicly shaming some student thieves.

Editor:

I am writing in the perhaps vain hope that the person who chose to create a rather poor impression of the University in the eyes of the Manheim Steamroller (Fresh Aire) might read this and that he might be troubled by some sense of guilt and shame. I refer to the theft of the items on display in Kingsbury Hall lobby on Friday afternoon prior to the group’s first concert.

This reader, who thinks campus police need to examine their priorities.

Editor:

Yet another succesful investigation by Shepherd’s folly. Good work boys. How you can bust a 19-year old for pot and coke in only six months is beyond me. Now if you could only catch that deadbeat who stole my leftover jello in the cafeteria last week.

Brian Kelm

When you’ve just had it with people’s poor parking jobs.

Editor:

This letter is to point out certain chuckleheads within the University community that there are lines painted on the asphalt of the parking lots, and parking between them makes much better use of the space available.

Erik Cressman

TIL – Apparently people used to call eachother “chuckleheads.”

Another person throwing shade at the person who stole their stuff (detecting a theme here).

Editor:

Kleptomaniac, thief, nutcase, lunatic – whatever or whoever you are please return the seven pairs of stinky, sweaty, tattered old ballet shoes that were that were in the black backpack you stole from the ballet building on Tuesday night. Not only does each pair cost $40 but I need them for a show I am performing in, in four days. Unless you can fit into a size 4 point-shoe or can find some other kinky use for them, they will be of no use to you, or anyone else…

L. Stein

Or there’s this guy, who’s convinced that an ad run by LDSSA contained a subliminal message encouraging students to be sexually active.

Editor:

Although most of your articles and advertisements are generally quite inoffensive and sometimes informative, I am compelled to register a strong negative response to the LDSSA ad published on page 4 of your February 12 issue. The ad announces a winter formal which I take to mean “dance” at the Hotel Utah. The line drawing contains what I suspect is a subliminal message! I detect the word “nude” in the rendering of the upper-left heart if the ad is turned on its side and you close one eye.

Here is the ad in question:

dsc_0296

Either this guy was crazy, or his letter was meant to be sarcastic and/or satirical.

When you’re a Writing 1010 professor:

Editor:

After eight years of teaching at this University, I am finally taking a stand against unbelievable mediocrity. I want to warn all students who in the future may register for any of my courses. If you do not know the differences among “their, there, they’re” and “to, too, two” do not register for my class. A grammatical error may cost you your grade.

Patty Reagan

And the inevitable snarky student response:

Editor:

It’s to much! Their is no reason for Patty Reagon too penalize her students for there minor grammatical mistakes. Their doing they’re best two learn real good.

Mark Draper