Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Dear Washington Post...

I had a letter to the Washington Post published yesterday, defending football referees from the hysteria of coaches and temporarily deranged parents. I had two separate editors contact me to check that I was the real author of the letter, and a third to ask me if I was okay with the edited version. I asked them kindly to split the final sentence into two, as I had in the original version, and received a one sentence reply: It shall be done. It’s reassuring to know there are still thorough, conscientious sub-editors around in the age of quick-fire Twitter garbage.

The gap between the original article I was responding to and the printing of my letter was a good old-fashioned 12 days. I took the time to craft a considered response, and the paper took the time to weigh up whether or not it was worth publishing. In pre-internet times, anyone wishing to disagree with me would have had to make the same effort. But now, thanks to the internet, we have that worldwide forum for the witless, the ‘Comments’ box, which allows a revered organ such as the Post to boast the following on its website:

“I find most ref’s to be self-grandiose – egotistical – self proclaimed infallible social rejects. Most can’t take any criticism on or off the field (in the game or in their personal lives). They think they can do no wrong and burst into fits of outrage and indignation when their authority is questioned. Thank god for the sports that have instant replay – look at the NFL and how Ref’s have gone from GOD’S to HUMAN. Nope don’t see too many shouting matches at the big league level anymore, DO YAH?”

That’s from Post registered user kparc, a slouching 58-year-old male from Leesburg, Virginia, who intellectually smites referees the world over with this searing psychological assessment. Kparc has now had his say, and millions of self-proclaimed infallible social rejects (come on, you know who you are) should cower and note how he brilliantly used BLOCK CAPS to get his point across and win the argument. That kparc has not yet worked out after 58 years how to write plurals without a possessive apostrophe should in no way detract from his credibility as a social commentator. Thank the GOD’S for the DEMOCRACY of the web, EH?