Letters to the EditorNews

Flagpole Is Too Negative

I read a copy of your May 12 edition of Flagpole. I have enjoyed your paper for years, as it is informative and discusses many events and issues occurring in Athens. I understand and appreciate the approach your paper takes to provide information on a wide range of topics affecting our community. The fact that I may or may not agree with each author’s perspective on various articles is somewhat irrelevant, as individuals may differ in their opinions and neither be wrong.

Unfortunately, the recent issues of the paper to me have become too negative and are not a reflection of our community. Almost without exception, articles are about someone being wronged. Much of the “wrong” is contrived. And by that, I mean everyone has felt belittled; most individuals experience instances where they are treated unfairly, but most people don’t dwell on it. In fact, reading your paper brought back bad memories in my life. I have been told I was not physically attractive. An educator once laughed and ridiculed my attempt to answer a question in class. Just today, the grocery clerk was rude, a driver on Broad Street cut me off, and a guy walking down the street was seen making an obscene gesture. Most of these examples were people of a different race and gender as compared to my own. They are, to me, minor issues; however, I could write an article and embellish how these individuals made me feel bad, how their actions may be racially motivated or they view my gender in a negative manner, or they simply may think they are better than me. However, an article on my negative experiences serves little purpose. The reality is life has negatives, and we must try to overcome negative experiences by acknowledging their existence, but not focusing on them. Forgive, stay calm and take a more positive approach; if not, we bring ourselves and those around us down, just like your paper is doing. If not careful, this negative reporting will cause many to identify themselves as victims, rather than successes. Finding fault in everything is easy, but serves very little positive purpose 

Your magazine reaches many in the Athens community, as well as those who come to Athens to enjoy our unique community. In some ways, your paper is a reflection of what people think about our town. It is a little embarrassing for out-of-town friends to read your paper. Your focus is no longer informational, but rather appears to be attempting to find real or imagined wrongs in all aspects of life at the expense of honorable people living today and in the past. 

Let’s keep reality in perspective. Write a little about the positives, and perhaps your paper will become even more relevant.