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Please Confuse Children 


I’m writing to ask if you’re using the same type of keyboard as I am. I’m thinking you may be missing the 8 on yours. You see, when I hold the shift key and press the 8 an “*” appears on my screen. Perhaps you could look into this. This is one of the possibilities that occurred to me while reading your otherwise high-quality publication in recent months. I truly enjoy your “take” on most topics, your attention to detail, your dedication to local causes affected by out-of-area happenings and especially your crossword puzzles.

That said, I’m increasingly disappointed in your ridiculous use of profanity. I’ve been working with children at one of our local elementary schools for the last two years, mostly with 10- to 12-year-olds, making me acutely aware of the impact of my words. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a bit of a potty-mouth, but it takes only a split second to change a four-letter word to something rated PG. As for you, as writers and editors, you have ample time and resources to find more creative adjectives instead of settling for the ever-popular and overused F-bomb.

I don’t know any of your staff personally, but I sometimes wonder if they should be writing for The Daily Show, or perhaps South Park. We already have a publication in our area for students, by students. It’s okay for them to get it out of their system. And I’m willing to agree that we all have the freedom to express ourselves, but if you choose to use those terms could you at least replace a couple letters with “”? It might not have the shock value you’re aiming for, but when we see fk or st we all know what you mean. After all, Comedy Central has to use lots of bleeps to make their shows air-worthy.

James DiGiovanna would owe the swear jar at Ernie’s big-time for his use of two major ones in his latest movie review (“Filmland,” April 30). I hope he’ll do a bit better if he chooses to review Monsters vs. Aliens or Hannah Montana. (Still not sure after reading whether he hated the movie or hated himself for liking the movie ... there is a difference between, as well as a place for, entertainment for its own sake and socially- and politically-correct, award-worthy and thought-provoking filmmaking.)

I know as well as you that the children out there aren’t waiting for Wednesday night or Thursday morning for the first available copy of the latest edition like many of us. It’s probably about as important to them as the next topic of “The Prairie Home Companion.” However, even with all of the amazing technological toys at their fingertips, there could come a time when our kids will pick up a copy of the Journal to see what’s going on, or to check the movie reviews and schedule.

Your paper, as well as other publications and media outlets, have painted a bleak picture for the future of the print industry. At this time I hope that you will put forth the utmost effort to expand your audience, or at least avoid alienating your current readership.

Just to recap, that’s Shift + 8 = *.

Mark R. Letlow, Arcata

Sweet Spot: The image of middle school students hunched over a Journal, bewildered about what those asterisks could possibly stand for, is irresistible. Mark Letlow wins a Bon Boniere sundae for sending our favorite letter of the week.

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