Love Letters

Responses from Viewers

Well, the responses to Chief Wahoo: A Modest Proposal have been almost disappointing in their overwhelming positiveness. Not even a single death threat! Oh, there've been the occasional humorless responses like "will it help them win a series? No - so why change!", but apart from my Ohioan wife's pronouncement that it was utter blasphemy, so far there haven't been any angry letters.

I did, however, receive this letter (anonymously, of course):

Clever but pretty stupid....not really funny either

Humor is in the mind of the beholder, of course, but what strikes me is the first half of this erudite missive. If you look up clever and stupid in the dictionary, it becomes obvious that this guy is making about as much sense as if he had said "Wet but pretty dry". The punctuation isn't the best, but extra marks for spelling everything correctly and knowing how to use the shift key!   Grade: C+

Hooray, more letters!

let't call the team the cleveland white boys and show a toothless white boy

Toothless? No idea what that's about. The writer of this letter indicated on the complaint form that he expected to be offended before actually viewing the presentation. When people expect to take offense, they'll generally find something to get upset about, even if they have to deliberately ignore context and intent. Poor punctuation and capitalization, an obvious typographical error, and an unclear message. Grade: F

Actually Native Americans really don't object to the name Cleveland Indians but it is the buffoon like image of Chief Wahoo. Gosh wasn't there something like this when Sambo's, er I mean Denny's had their little issue? Just change the image back to the old Mohawk style and all would be right with the world. It is obvious you are a white boy through and through because you make light of the issue.

The writer seems to start off rationally, but he makes a couple of fallacious arguments and devolves into ad hominem rather than sticking to arguing facts. The first sentence is a sweeping generalization, unsupported and demonstrably untrue; I have read numerous newspaper articles detailing the objections of some Native Americans regarding the use of the very name "Indians", as well as to other sports teams (including high school and collegiate teams) which use Native American names and/or images, caricatures or not. As to being a "white boy" because I make light of the issue, I'll definitely have to forward this comment to a Native American friend of mine to whom I showed the Proposal before putting it on the Web; she thought it was hilarious. (Then again, she thinks the Chief Wahoo issue is a ridiculous thing for AIM to spend so much energy on when there are far more important issues within the Native American community which need attention.) Once again, the writer indicated that he expected to be offended by it, so it's not surprising that he found what he was expecting. Good spelling and capitalization, but the punctuation and rational argument skills could use some work. Grade: B-

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