Monday, January 30, 2006

Red Letter Day

A letter arrived today for the Indálico from a reader who considers the paper (the sister paper to The New Entertainer) to be right-wing. Hooting, it was, about Jesus Carreño (a very funny and, admittedly rather pig-headed republican writer). He calls Zapatero ‘el risas’, the smiling one. The letter-writer was incensed.
This month, so far, two other letters are on my desk for inclusion which accuse me, I suppose, of the same thing. Being right-wing that is. One deals with an editorial I ran in January about the Catalonian ‘estatut’, a translation of a very funny piece from Angel Medina, while the other letter throbs with indecent rage about Peter Gooch’s regular political articles.
Peter Gooch, in fact, gets more ‘fan-mail’ (in the form of comments from John Q. Public) than the rest of us put together. About three quarters of them are favourable. The other most assuredly aren’t. His articles are certainly anti-government and anti Zapatero, but this doesn’t make them rabidly right-wing – just ‘sensible’.
Both papers operate on a ‘as long as its well-written’ basis and we have never taken the Partido Popular shilling (supposing they were to offer it).
Some of our writers are leftist, some are rightist. It makes no odds.
At least we get letters, for which I am grateful. Generally, I try not to answer them in print, leaving the letter-writer with ‘the last word’. After all, the letter is commenting on an article. The writer of that article has already said his piece…
Like classified adverts, letters are a proof that there is a reaction from the street. People evidently read our newspapers, and they use them to communicate between one another, through those two services, small adverts and (usually) indignant letters to the editor. Me!
A newspaper or magazine with no letters or private adverts is, at the very least, a bit lightweight, don’t you think?
To make a paper interesting, to generate some reaction from the readers, one needs to sometimes climb over the top with fixed bayonets. It’s more of a trick that a reality. Otherwise, editors would choose cereal-packet journalism.
Come to think of it, some of them do.

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