Helping others see the light |

Helping others see the light

Richard Carnes

In a never-ending struggle to properly inform readers, I have taken it upon myself to provide invaluable insight into the commentary psyches (not psychos) behind the keyboard so often seen on this page.Out of respect for privacy, and of course knowing that none of you would ever stereotype a writer based upon a single sentence or phrase, this series of interviews will be in a Tipsline fashion (aka anonymous), leaving ample room for your open minds to determine the interviewee:I’d like to thank you for taking time from your busy schedule for today’s interview.”No problem. I was in the neighborhood.”Jumping right into it, a few “minds” have been inquiring lately as to why you write a weekly column. Your response?”Because they asked me to.”Who did?”The folks that run the paper. Duh.”OK. Can I assume it’s safe to say you don’t do it for the money?”Never assume, but yes, you are very, very safe.”The purpose of your columns – this question seems to come up quite a bit. Is it to a) entertain b) inform c) promote discussion d) share cute family stories e) share sometimes tragic local stories f) raise constructive hell or g) simply annoy others?”I before E except after C.”Come again.”All of the above, with the weekly subject determining which of those categories is most appropriate. The world’s not just black and white, you know.”Was that a racist remark?”Of course not, but I’m sure a few would twist it so.”Republican or Democrat?”Yes.”That doesn’t answer the question.”Man, you’re quick.”Conservative or liberal?”On a conservative scale from 1 to 10, Cacioppo would put me at a minus-1, while Menconi would probably peg me at the same number on a liberal scale. You do the math.”Has anything you ever published by this newspaper been censored?”Not very often, but probably only once a week or so.”

Very funny. How about an example?”A few weeks ago I referred to Islamic terrorists – you know, those happy-go-lucky types who somehow balance tasteless photos equally with decapitation – as ‘people who wear towels upon their heads,’ only I didn’t say it quite that exact way. The editor changed it to ‘dead-enders,’ whatever that meant.”Did that bother you?”No, not really, but I did think my term was a more valid euphemism for @!*&?@(*!”Your thoughts on Kerry, Kobe and Kacioppo as to who stands a chance of winning anything anytime soon.”No, yes and no, but not necessarily in that order.”OK, some readers apparently have trouble discerning if there is ever an actual point buried deep in your satirical sarcasm. They have even gone so far as to use words like ad hominem, solipsistic, vituperation and vapid.”They did?”Yes. I do believe the phrase “heinously inane” or “inanely heinous” was also used.”No kidding?”No kidding.”Well, I believe some readers also apparently have trouble with simple English.”Your point?”Let’s just say I believe there are a few folks around here who insist upon using big words and big, long letters as a means to, how shall I put this gently, ‘overcompensate’ for other, less conspicuous, shortcomings.”Aren’t you afraid that response might offend some of those very same people?”Only if they understand it.”So, you’re admitting it takes pretty thick skin to write a weekly column.”I have seven layers just like Shrek and everyone else. Besides, there’s much more to it than that.”Care to elaborate?”Sure. Some people spend so much time complaining about how others live their lives that they forget to live their own. I enjoy opining about hypocrisies while attempting to help people put perspectives on the good and bad things that happen in this world. Life is far too short to waste so much precious time on singular subjects like elections, war, terrorism, religious fanaticism, bigotry, Bair Ranch, Berry Creek, Middle Creek, Vassar Meadows, season pass prices and Happy Valley locations of dog poop. I am proof positive that it takes very little talent to express an opinion on a newspaper commentary page. However, a good dose of self-security also seems to help.”Of which you have plenty?”Time will tell.”Well, there you have it, readers. Another anonymous interviewee next week, unless something more interesting develops, like say, a change in the weather.Richard Carnes of Edwards can be reached at

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