In "West-Siders Gone Wild" (9/23/2011), a writer named Fed Up described a discussion on his west-side neighborhood's listserv. The subject was a five-second military flyover at a Badger football game - an event that apparently had the liberal neighbors up in arms, railing at the U.S. Army and threatening to boycott UW games. To hear Fed Up tell it, the discussion was politically correct to the point of absurdity. Even a humble plea for tolerance from a neighborhood soldier fell on deaf ears.
I asked readers to give Fed Up some advice, and wouldn't you know it - our friends on the east side had a few ideas.
Dear Tell All: I live on the east side, and like Fed Up I am constantly amazed by the inanity of many discussions on our neighborhood listserv. Unlike Fed Up, I have learned to laugh at the kerfuffles over such seemingly minor issues as the use of recycled tires as playground fill.
I consider myself a little to the left of the political center, but when I first moved to the neighborhood these digital histrionics really drove me nuts. Now, I see them as a form of free entertainment to share with my wife as we stroll around our wonderful neighborhood in the evenings. I would advise Fed Up to step back and look at all the great things their neighborhood has going on. I think that their mental health will be better for it.
Laughing At You, Not With You
Dear Fed Up: Buy about 100 American flags and stick them all over your yard, then rent a Humvee for a week or so and park it in your driveway. Invite the local National Guard unit over to tailgate before a Badgers game. When the neighbors complain, just tell them you are exercising your FREEDOM!
East-Sider Who's With Ya
Dear Tell All: My best advice to Fed Up is to unsubscribe from the silly neighborhood listserv. Fed Up probably won't be missing much, even after the stupid goes away.
Failing that, try skimming incoming email headers to assess whether an email is worth reading. Simple advice, I know, but apparently advice that needs repeating.