JENKINS: Responding to local readers' comments

(The following e-mails are real. They have been edited for length, coherence and sanity.)

Dear Sir,

I hope your article ("An open letter from the new Entertainment Czar") was an attempt at tongue-in-cheek humor. You might consider clarifying for those of us who do not know whether Perez Hilton's opinions align with your own.

— Sandra

Dear Sandra,

I confess that the column you mention was, in fact, my attempt at tongue-in-cheek humor, otherwise known as satire. It's hard for me to say whether or not Mr. Hilton's opinions align with my own because he does not actually hold the title of Entertainment Czar. That would be Oprah Winfrey.

— Best wishes, Rob

Dear Mr. Jenkins,

While soiling every elected public servant with your broad brush of disdain ("A special legislative edition of The Devil's Dictionary"), you tell us democracy is a fraud and there are no statesmen left. You could have tried finding just one example to lift up as the kind of leader you believe we need. And, if that effort proved fruitless, you could heed the charge of Mahatma Gandhi to "be the change you want to see in the world."

— Maurice

Dear Maurice,

Your letter reminds me of an episode involving my high school basketball coach (who was also, coincidentally, named Mahatma).

After one particularly poor effort, he was berating us in the locker room. The nicest phrase he used was — and I'm paraphrasing — "you guys stink." One of my teammates piped up and said, "Coach, you should be more positive."

Whereupon Coach exploded, "OK, I'm POSITIVE you guys stink."

— Best wishes, Rob

Hey Rob,

You might want to check your facts before you get so full of yourself about your son's public high school and YOU look ignorant and have no defense. You state in your editorial ("Parental and systemic ignorance are no defense") that your son's high school is the only one in Gwinnett County that has invited Mr. J. Tom Morgan to speak to students during the day. In reality, Greater Atlanta Christian (GAC) was the FIRST Gwinnett County school to host Mr. Morgan. As usual, the private schools lead the county — not that you would know, since your children would have to be accepted, and I don't see that happening.

— Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for setting the record straight, and kudos to Greater Atlanta Christian. My point, of course, was that every teenager should hear Mr. Morgan's message. I'm glad GAC agrees.

I have to ask, though — were you, by any chance, one of the reporters who covered Sarah Palin during the last presidential election? And if not, where did you learn to substitute attacks on children for substantive discourse? Not at a Christian school, I hope.

Of course, that strategy can sometimes backfire, so I think the decision not to sign your name was the right one.

— Sincerely, Rob

Rob Jenkins is associate professor of English at Georgia Perimeter College. E-mail him at rjenkinsgdp@yahoo.com.