Eric D. Snider

Another Letter to the Editor

Snide Remarks #59

"Another Letter to the Editor"

by Eric D. Snider

Published in The Daily Universe on December 7, 1998

EDITORS' NOTE: We sigh wearily at even having to do this, but let us point out that this column is a PARODY of letters to the editor. The ideas herein are expressed for satiric purposes, and NOT because the author necessarily feels that way.)

Dear Editor:

I was shocked and appalled to pick up The Daily Universe today and discover that all the R-rated movies were omitted from the movie listings. I dare you to show me any quote from any general authority in which we are specifically told not to see R-rated movies. Wasn't it part of Satan's plan to force us all to be a certain way and take away our free agency? And by not printing R-rated movie listings, and by telling us we're not allowed to read any other newspapers, and by denying us access to the Internet to check for ourselves, isn't The Daily Universe instituting Satan's plan? It makes me feel mad, yet at the same time, very angry.

I am sick, not to mention tired, of people ripping on President Clinton. The man is our president! He deserves respect. The article printed in your paper last week in which it was implied that he may have had some kind of sexual relationship with a woman not his wife was totally uncalled for, and completely unfounded. Where on earth did you find apostate sources who would say such a false, not to mention untrue, kind of thing?! I expect more from the Lord's university, as well as the Lord's student-produced newspaper produced in the Lord's Wilkinson Center. I do not have time to look up a scripture to quote here, but rest assured that I could.

And as long as I've got your attention, let me mention that as I walked across campus the other day, I noticed that the statue of the family outside the Smith Family Living Center (or "S-F-L-C," as it is often disrespectfully called by some apostate people) is highly offensive (and, I might add, liable to offend people). While BYU has well over seven students who are from the remote island nation of Concuman, not a single one of the three people in this statue family is of that nationality. How can the sculptor ignore the diversity we have at BYU and insist on making all three members of the family of the same race? It's the kind of ignorance you read about in certain passages of scripture, which I mention merely to remind you that I have read the scriptures. Such ignorance amazes me, but more importantly, it also surprises me. I expected more from the Lord's sculptor. I won't stand for it, nor will I take this lying down. I suppose I'll have to sit.

Speaking of sitting, what's up with the apostate people who insist on sitting down at sporting events, who then get mad at the rest of us for standing up in front of them and cheering? Last week, right after reading my scriptures, I attended the BYU men's kickball game, and whenever the team captain would roll the ball, me and my friends would all stand up and jump around and scream like morons for a few minutes. Then we would sit down for approximately two seconds, at which point we would jump up again. And the elderly gentleman behind us, who I believe was apostate, who was confined to a wheelchair and had to use a respirator, had the nerve to ask us to sit down and be quiet, which he did via a hand-written note, because he was too weak to talk. What, does he think he owns the place? I couldn't believe his rudeness, nor will I forgive him for it, nor should I even HAVE to forgive him. I dare you to show me even ONE place in the scriptures, which I read frequently, where we are told to forgive others. I was disappointed to see such rudeness coming from the Lord's elderly person.

And while we're discussing sports, let me mention another problem: apostate people who get mad at you for booing our football team when they do poorly. As a tithing-payer (tithing is mentioned several times in the scriptures; I should know, for I have read them), I feel I own most, if not all, of the stadium. So why shouldn't I be allowed to turn on my own team if I want to? I suppose next you'll say that when my wife accidentally burns dinner, I shouldn't boo her, too? It makes me shake my head and sigh the way people can be so blind. Many of these blind people are also unseeing.

I recently saw President Bateman walking across campus wearing socks that were not blue. I was so surprised, I almost dropped my scriptures. I cannot believe this man can one minute encourage us to wear blue to the football games, and the next minute walk around wearing something that is not blue. I call for his immediate impeachment, unless this is not possible, in which case I call for a McDonald's combo meal #4.

Another thing that shocked and appalled me was your apostate "humor" columnist's so-called "humor column" from eight or nine "weeks" ago, in which he made fun of a thing I like. Now, I've always found "him" to be funny before, but this time he went too far, and now I've decided he's not funny, and in fact he never was. How dare he make fun of a thing I like! To do such a thing is unconscionable (I looked that word up just now; it means "bad"), not to mention blasphemous, sacrilegious, unholy, profane, unconscionable, and bad. If you're going to keep printing such trashy garbage, I am going to stop buying your free paper. I expect that sort of thing from Howard Stern or Satan, but not from the Lord's humor columnist. My sense of humor was blown off in a boat explosion several years ago, and that's why I don't find anything funny, but so what? Show me one place where any general authority has ever said anything funny, or any place in the scriptures where we are told to be cheerful. There are lots of places, aren't there? And that's exactly my point.

I thought it was in extremely poor taste to run a "theater review" in which your "reviewer" said something negative. How can anything be bad? What kind of weird world do YOU live in?

I was further dismayed and horrified to read an "article" in last Tuesday's Daily Universe with the "headline," "Divorced Utah Democrat -- in that order." Why are you spotlighting "people" who have been divorced? Do you want the rest of the world to follow in their perverted "footsteps"? Is that the kind of agenda you're pushing now "?" You sicken me to the point that my stomach has turned itself inside out and is working its way up my esophagus.

Another thing that sickened me, and also made me feel sick, was when I was "driving" the other day on campus, while I was reading my scriptures. This apostate girl next to me cut me off, so I honked my horn politely and politely screamed an obscenity at her, politely. Then this girl had the nerve to make an obscene gesture at me! How would her bishop -- who I assume signed her ecclesiastical endorsement, although it would not surprise me if a low-class individual like this girl actually forged his signature, after killing him with her bare hands -- feel about this? I weep for the future of this great nation if this is the sort of $*&@!% the young people are doing. I was shocked, appalled, saddened, disgusted, mortified, humiliated, outraged, indignant, pompous, self-righteous, Pharisaical, nit-picky, hypocritical, unconscionable, bad, and embarrassed to call myself a BYU student. I was a lot of things. I'm still some of them now.

Stumble It!

Notes:

If you don't read the letters to the editor in The Daily Universe, this column might not make much sense to you. Nearly everything in here has a direct parallel to something that was printed within the previous few months on the opinion page.

I wrote a similar column, of course, a year earlier, and it was quite successful. It was also my personal favorite, and I wanted to do another one. This time around, instead of focusing on general types of things people say in their letters (although there are a few elements like that), I focused on SPECIFIC things people had written about recently.I won't bore you with a complete list, but I will mention some of the parallels:

• Someone actually wrote in about the R-rated movie thing, defying anyone to show him a quote from an LDS general authority in which members of the church were counseled not to watch R-rated movies. Four or five readers promptly sent in the quotes he requested, including one from former LDS Church President Ezra Taft Benson. (That answers the guy's question, of course, though it does not settle the matter by any means. I refer you to Orson Scott Card's excellent essay on the subject of Mormons and R-rated movies.

• The phrase "Lord's university" is used frequently to refer to BYU. I don't particularly object to the idea of BYU being the Lord's university; what I object to is how people always throw that phrase into their letters to lend more credence to their opinions. The last straw was when someone said we should all be more courteous in our driving because, after all, "this is the Lord's university." People often mention the scriptures in a similar way.

• Someone was upset at how some campus buildings' abbreviations are often turned into acronyms. The Harris Fine Arts Center -- HFAC -- is usually pronounced "H-Fac," and the Smith Family Living Center -- SFLC -- is pronounced "Syphilis." That's the one, in particular, that bothered the letter-writer: calling a building named after an LDS Church leader by the name of a venereal disease. (I'd like to think the church leader in question, Joseph F. Smith, would find it amusing that his building is nicknamed "the Syphilis," but he probably wouldn't.)

• A mural depicting many people going to BYU, or something like that, was unveiled in the student food court. Immediately, people were upset that there wasn't enough ethnic diversity depicted among the students in the mural -- this despite the fact that most of the people in the painting have their backs to the viewer, making it impossible to tell WHAT race they are, let alone conclude that they're all Caucasian. Naturally, everyone got weaselly and promised to "fix" the mural.

• The debate between people who like to sit and watch games and people who like to jump around like morons has raged forever. New this semester was the debate about wearing blue: Seems BYU President Merrill J. Bateman was featured in a huge ad campaign encouraging students to wear blue -- yet in the ads, he is wearing a RED TIE with his blue suit. So what? Well, red is the color of BYU's childish arch-rival University of Utah, which also happens to be President Bateman's alma mater. A lot of people read waaaaay too much into President Bateman's red tie.

• Another new sports debate was whether it's OK to boo the BYU football team when it does poorly. Some say of course it's OK to express disappointment in them; others say we should never be rude to our own team. Still others, like me, say who gives a crud?

• The reference to the "humor columnist" should be fairly self-explanatory. The use of quotation marks to indicate skepticism; the idea of "I usually like your column, but not this week..."; jumping to the conclusion that I'm a bad person because the reader didn't like something I said -- these are all specific tactics that have been used in letters I've received. Note the use of the word "unconscionable": It's from the letter I got from Lee Bartlett in response to my most recent general conference column. Note also the word "apostate" scattered all over the column. Maybe you'll recall Michael S. Roberts' claim that I was apostate, mainly because he didn't like the aforementioned general conference column.

• A Daily Universe article about a noteworthy local politician bore the headline "Gay Utah Democrat -- in that order." You can imagine the fuss from all the people who prefer to think that gays (and Democrats, for that matter) don't even exist.

• And finally, a professor's wife wrote in all worked up into a dither because she had honked at a student who was about to walk out in front of her car, and the student had flipped her off. She had a fairly valid point, but she spoiled it by resorting to the "I wonder what her bishop would think?" tactic, which immediately destroyed any support she might have gotten from the readers because it is self-righeous.

The word "Concuman," mentioned as being a "remote island nation," is an inside joke that probably only I understood. In my Spanish class a few months before this was printed, we had a test in which the verb "consuman," which means something, was accidentally typed "concuman," which doesn't mean anything. For some reason, I really got a kick out of the nonsense Spanish word.

This item has 6 comments

  1. John Doe says:

    Best article ever.

  2. A Petit Caucajeuner says:

    "?"

    Genius.

  3. bucketofsquid says:

    As a self professed self-righteous jerk, I must say that I am seriously not offended by this column. Indeed it so failed to offend me that I laughed out loud in the family history center. This is bad because there was this one scripture that said "wailing and gnashing of teeth", so obviously only apostates laugh.

  4. Clumpy says:

    I love the little touches - the word "driving" in quotes, the repetition of "The Lord's [x]" leading to "The Lord's elderly person," and the self-righteousness and anger of the students who doesn't read enough to get mad about something really important. The Daily Universe editorials are a shameless hotbed of sublime, self-assured aimless stupidity.

  5. Marco says:

    I remembering reading this column in class at BYU. I laughed so hard the professor interrupted class and asked if I would stop long enough to let him continue lecturing. Good memories.

  6. Chrissy says:

    This column has long been one of my favorites, and I occasionally share the link with those new to BYU or Utah county who don't yet understand how easily and amusingly offended students and residents often are. I recently also read the column to my grandparents, who live in Provo. My grandma laughed through the entire column, while my grandpa was quite offended. I felt the point was made. Love this column.

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