Vail Daily columnist Richard Carnes: You still can opine
Vail, CO, Colorado
It’s certainly not as easy as it used to be, but commenting on commentaries, editorials, letters or actual news stories is still perfectly legal here in Swift Country, USA (the Daily’s Godfather).
While we can all agree that our freedom of speech may have been stifled a bit lately due to the Daily’s removal of the online comments section, let’s keep in mind that from a perspective point of view, the legal right to do so is still perfectly intact.
It’s just that now it is a tad harder for them to hear you screaming through your keyboard.
Back in the 90’s all we had, as far as local comments were concerned, were letters-to-the-editor and bar stools after 5pm from the Sundance all the way down to the Brewery in Edwards. It wasn’t until the arrival of the man named Rogers that the now infamous TIPSline came into being, and while creating a poop-storm of controversy due to phone line anonymity, allowed many locals to show their true colors, so to speak, about certain issues (i.e. we were almost immediately treated to proof that racism was alive and well in Happy Valley).
This fiber-optic concealment provided for many the opportunity (not to mention courage) to say what they really thought about a subject, and provided years of entertainment and speculation (“Who do you think said that?!”) for most of us, myself included.
In other words, it was a huge success.
Then eventually – finally – the Vail Daily brought their website into the 21st Century, and began allowing online comments for every little word they published, causing hundreds to ponder in their pithy little ways, “I am curious as to how, in a pithy and nuanced way, I can go about dismissing my fellow commentators’ thoughts without them knowing it is me…”
In other words, it became an immediate success.
Granted, it was definitely not the place to go for intelligent discourse regarding current topics, as chunks of it evolved into an online playground for ego-maniacal fools trying to convince themselves that their anonymous opinions mattered.
Sort of like my stuff each week, except of course everyone always knows it’s me.
Why did they stop it?
I don’t know, as I’ve said many times over the last dozen years, I don’t work there, but not a week transpires where I do not feel an honor of sorts for continuing to be amongst their pages.
Anyway, so here are, now back where we started, and having to write actual letters attached to actual names and having to accept actual consequences when those letters are actually published.
Provided the missing comments section is only temporary, It’s kind of nice, actually.