An Open Letter to Open Letter Writers

Dear Writer,

Wow, that’s a really passive aggressive medium you’ve found, there. So. You didn’t have the guts to confront someone in person, but you just had to get people to agree with you that that person did something that’s all sorts of wrong. And just getting your friends (wait, do you have any?) to agree with you wasn’t enough. You needed the validation of hoardes of faceless cyberpeople who will “like” any people-bashing “article.” Bring out the virtual pitchforks!

Or maybe it wasn’t confrontation you were afraid of. Maybe you were afraid that if you struck up a conversation with the person, you might learn something about them that makes what they did seem a little more understandable. Maybe you even knew you’d learn something about them that would give you some empathy.

Or maybe the wrongdoer was a celebrity, and you’re making yourself feel better about not having the social clout to get into the same room with them. “I’m not popular enough to come to your party, Schmiley? Well, here’s what’s wrong with YOU.”

Or maybe, as in the case of this letter, there are too many possible recipients, so you’re trying to reach them all with one virus. In that case, maybe you could reword your lecture as a “here’s what I would do if I were in such-and-such a situation,” and not bring the offender into your story at all. But that wouldn’t be controversial enough for people to make the all important click, and you might not get your virtually famous fifteen minutes. And so you write a letter like this, and great minds say, “Yeah!” and then forget about your offender and move on to the next menace to society.

And then what will you have? 740 “likes,” 800 angry responses, and then society changing to exactly the way you like it. Except for that last part. So should I take my own advice and click “move to trash” instead of “publish?” Probably so, but what if this is the one? The one that makes me famous, I mean changes the world for the better?

One More Opinionated Blogger

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