The essence of the back page, as we know, is fairness. All dissidents are treated with tender care. Fulminating enemies raise no ire. In biblical fashion, the reigning philosophy is to turn the other cheek. Gandhi is our hero. The proprietor is not a fighter, he’s a lover. He loves all readers. They deserve their day in the sun.
Kevin Hendry of Calgary writes: “Writing to you is slightly embarrassing since I know that it will be as big a waste of time as reading your column. Thankfully, over the years I have not subjected myself to that very often, but I did stumble into reading your latest column and, because I do have some time to waste, I am sending you my comments on it. Forgive me if my comments appear rude and obnoxious, but if they seem that way it is because I am patterning my writing style after yours. I won’t, however, be able to reproduce your stupidity or ignorance. That will remain your own personal province.. ..
“I tried to envision what kind of pathetic individuals actually enjoy reading your column (there must be some). I think that your own hatred of America stems from your understanding that only in Canada is it possible to muster an audience for your slimy opinions. Sometime when I have more time, I may (but probably won’t) write you a more explicit and detailed account of the sickness of the liberal socialist ideology that you help propagate (not that it will help). In closing, let me thank you for allowing me to get off my chest the fact that I think you are a total idiot.”
K. Zarnof writes from Toronto: “Typical wimp-English-speaking lemmings. No Frenchies on hand, yet their agenda bilingual! Reform should wipe out these zombies.”
Jane Gadoutsis writes: “I am really surprised that you don’t see the point about Bill Clinton. The point seems to me to be that if the story is true about his infidelity, Mr. Clinton is a liar and a sneak. He is disloyal to his wife and to his lover. Politicians should be honest and have a higher regard for their fellow man, or women in this case, than he has shown. Maybe you think he is cute or macho. I don’t. And why do
you refer to his lover as a bimbette? I guess that must make him a bimbo. You, too!”
Frank E. Heard of St. Catharines, Ont., writes: “Well, what else is new? As usual, another scurrilous, insulting diatribe on the royals. Since you detest them so much, why bother putting your poison pen to paper? Talk about gossip columnists! You are among the worst! You mention the Fleet Street hacks and their clichés. Take a look in the mirror, Foth, and see who sneers back. It’s damned easy to take shots at people who can’t respond, isn’t it? But then that’s your style, as we well know.
“We are all aware that you are a confirmed Brit-hater. Are there any of them you have ever enjoyed meeting? I doubt it. By the way, I am not a Brit or a monarchist. Just a guy who can’t stand the crap you get paid to write! For God’s sake, clean up your act!”
Karel Prokop of Coldwater, Ont., writes: “With regard to your tediously repetitive at-
tacks on Chrétien’s accentuation and syntax. I have read your articles for several years, realizing all the time that you are attempting to be a linguistic acrobat, yet sometimes have the feeling that the mine-is-better-than-yours idea shone through all of it very brightly.
“Would your French be less faulty than Chrétien’s English? Dearest sir, any language is merely a code that carries the intellectual message. It is the thought that predominates, not the exactitude of the code. You proved this time beyond any doubt that you are a prissy, nit-picking barbarian par excellence.”
Ellwood Fletcher writes from London, Ont.: “Having struggled through your numerous facetious, puerile clichés (i.e. Presto Manning, cornflakes think, cornflakes crazies and sans helmet), I gather that you feel utter contempt for all who envisage the prospect of Quebec’s independence. You consign all such indiscriminately to the following categories: ‘Rednecks, Loutheads or ignoramuses’; such dissidents as have postgraduate degrees and hold tenure on a university staff you classify as ‘misguided souls.’
“In all this verbose diatribe and your condemnation of the crazy, the ignorant and the misguided, you fail to show us the light. In brief, what, from the depths of your great wisdom, is the solution to this problem?”
J. R. Reid writes from Medicine Hat, Alta.: “Academe has nothing to worry about as long as there are journalists to excoriate their dissertations with few facts and little logic, but plenty of tervocation and ad z hominem argument, not to § mention liberal use of the £ certaintive be. I’m no more § a fan of Comflakesthink (I prefer the Orwellian spelling) than you are, but I think even U of C cowademics deserve better in the national press than they got from you.
“PS: Logic went the way of Grammar & Rhetoric years ago and is now considered trivial.”
Bob Checkwith of Garden Hill, Man., writes: “Are we serious, Fotheringham? You are the master of Canadian meanness. If you have any doubt, read any number of your articles. Your character put-downs are legendary. I consider you to be one of the leaders of the great Canadian disease: let’s see how negative we can be.
“Perhaps you could uncover some positive articles you’ve written about Canada and Canadians. I enjoy your considerable talent and wit; however, I find your constant dissatisfaction and meanness difficult to take. Can you find something good about us. Well, I guess that wouldn’t sell magazines, eh?”
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