To the editors--
It's always interesting to observe what types of prejudices are still openly acceptable in our society. In his recent account of lunch and a tax audit in the suburbs [December 8], Robbie Fulks derides "office drones, potbellied bozos with pagers on their Dockers, anhedonic single moms" (really, Robbie--"anhedonic"?), "and desperate pink-collar climbers." Such "mediocrities sipping marinara through straws" and "pager-wearing schmucks," who live and work in the cultural wastelands beyond Chicago's borders are clearly beneath Fulks's exalted level of artistic consciousness.
Here's a simpler multisyllable word, Robbie--"prejudice." The Britannica Webster dictionary defines it as "a...dislike of something without grounds, or before sufficient knowledge; an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, or a race." I wonder if Fulks, with his self-described "all-encompassing love of life," bothered to talk to even one of the people he so crudely dismissed? Or did he, as bigots of all stripes are prone to do, merely gaze on the objects of his contempt from afar?
I doubt the Reader would publish a rant by someone from, say, Naperville, that glibly rips the appearance and mannerisms of the various people one can observe on Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park or on North Halsted in Boys Town. Why then is it OK to trash strangers one sees in some suburban mall? Because they're "them" and not "us"?
I don't insist on adherence to some sterile code of political correctness, but I do expect a writer's caustic comments to flow, at the very least, from some substantive knowledge of the subject. I may not have the mastery of exegesis that Robbie Fulks feels he possesses, but I do know enough, as a writer, to edit out an irrelevant paragraph. Especially if it's a lead paragraph that adds little or nothing to the article's primary point. If Fulks writes songs the same way he wrote this article, he should quit now and get a day job.
Instead of identifying and sympathizing with Fulks's trial by bureaucracy, I read the entire piece hoping that he would eventually get his tax return shoved up his ass.