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Letters to the Editor

A ten year retrospective

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We've invited comments from our readers from the very beginning. In the early weeks, we had a voicemail called "The City Vent" where people could leave messages anonymously. That didn't last long. Over time, the comments and tone of the letters have remained steadily split between strong dislike for what we're doing to appreciation for a job well done. We don't care whether you love us or hate us, just that you keep reading and that you know you can share your own opinion should you be moved to do so. Here's a year-by-year rundown of what our readers had to say.

1997

"Hey look, I don't really care what the name of the magazine is, but taking out the Red Meat was way out of line."

"What kind of joke is this? Buy a clue and find Mongo and retrieve him."

"I read some of the complaints. As much as I think the paper is going to crap, I'm pretty impressed you were willing to put that in there. A lot of papers wouldn't do that and it shows that you do have a spark of hope. I hope you listen to the people and keep working to make the paper the best it can be."

"Congratulations on a job well done with the new City Paper." —Jay Karen

"Try something these other newspapers and reporters are not doing. Start printing the good news. Enough bad news."

"[Aaron] Allen is a refreshing addition to your paper. You should further be congratulated on having the integrity not to 'discourage' your writers from writing anything 'sensitive' about one of your advertisers. Most local media outlets don't have your courage. Welcome all of you to Charleston, and I look forward to more real journalism from the City Paper." —Jerry Curlan

"First off, I enjoy reading the new paper. Though it might be totally new (i.e. not Upwith), your coverage, ideas, and writing have hit the spot!" —Ian Mangum

"I am new to the Charleston area, so I pick up and read almost all of the papers that are available. Your style of writing and news articles are great, except for the Blotter. These stories do not belong in a paper that is available to visitors. We have enough negative news and demented people in the world." —Jerry K. Stout

"Feature stories like this (McJobs) will keep the City Paper as the leading weekly in our itty bitty market." —Olaf Antonio Fish

1998

"I enjoy the paper, even if you don't have a pro wrestling column." —Bob Lenhardt

1999

"This letter is in reference to the 'Red Meat' (I would say comic strip, but it definitely isn't funny, so I'll just say strip) that was in your Aug. 18, 1999 publication ... I just could not believe that anyone would publish anything so offensive." —Rebecca DeWitt

"I am a Christian too, Mrs. DeWitt, and Red Meat is my personal favorite in the City Paper. The specific comic you found so appalling was one of the funniest, most creative yet." —Rebecca Young

"In the City Scene is a photograph of a Southeastern School student giving a massage during the recent Natural Health Expo. Next to the photo is the bold headline: 'Give it to me hard and fast.' This headline offers a strong sexual connotation and therefore imparts the wrong impression to your readers." —Andrea Hill

"I like your paper very much. Intelligent, thought-provoking, and funny —in that cynical way I like." —Margo Digan

"Do you really think that sexist humor, articles that offend drunks, etc. are the same as making fun of the killing of animals? Do you really believe that this is mere political incorrectness? ... This is not politically incorrect as animals have no politics. This is just plain juvenile and mean. A very big blot on an otherwise fine and progressive effort of journalism." —Fran Mencken Fisher

"A few issues back, your music editor [Larry Queen] confidently stated that Astrojet was 'Charleston's best band.' Are you sure he didn't mean to say that Astrojet was 'his favorite band?'" —Yates Dew

"In response to Jr. J.M. Lee's letter, calling Michael Graham a liberal puke is an insult to liberal pukes everywhere. At least liberal pukes have the guts to stand up for something, right or wrong. Mr. Graham stands for nothing." —Fred Murray

2000

"I was in the Holy City recently and picked up a copy of your very enjoyable paper. There I saw a column by my old friend and sparring partner Michael Graham. I was glad to see that Michael has managed to keep his pencils sharp and remain gainfully employed in the highly competitive writing business. However, his political barb remain —as always —180 degrees off the mark." —Will Moredock

"Y'all continuously are on the government's ass, the police's ass, and anyone else's that doesn't adhere to your 'new wave hippiedom.'" —Edward Hall Keiper a.k.a. Kip

"I am very disappointed to see City Paper might possibly have employed Beavis and Butthead to find ways to make the paper more interesting." —Thereasa Overstolz

"I'm damn proud to have been born and raised here in Charleston, and it's sickening that every time I pick up your paper, there are derogatory statements about the City of Charleston or Charleston lawmakers or policemen who are only doing their jobs... What is the problem, did NAACP threaten to boycott your paper?" —Lori Caddin

"It seems the City Paper is having a little difficulty discriminating between 'muckraking' and 'muckspewing' journalism lately." —Doug Logan

"As far as the City Paper goes, its being proud to be a member of AAN (Association of Alternative Newsweeklies) and AWN (Alternative Weekly Network) means one thing, liberal. No more, no less. Just listen to 'alternative' rock, it's noise, just what this paper has become. No news, whale dreck. Just like how a goat 'flattened' Charleston for the sins of its past. Your paper is CRAP! A glorified ad rag, I'll be sure to keep a copy in the head to wipe with." —Dan Haskell

2001

"Since the Post and Courier is silent on most of the goings on of the gentry class in Charleston, and since the broadcast media are little more than Little Bo Peep players with nice hair, it is good that the area might now have, in the Charleston City Paper, a legitimate contender for hard news. —George Spain III

"You are out of touch with the Charleston music scene. You think that alt-rock and hip-hop rule, but you're wrong. Attend some of the aforementioned concerts and you'll see for yourself." —Seth Mason

"I would like to take exception to your characterization of Charlie Condon as a fascist. Make no mistake, I am no fan of the attorney general. I think he is a vote-grabbing, self-aggrandizing individual. But I would not call him a fascist because to me that term connotes calculated evil to exercise power over people." —Rolland G. Fitch II

"[Michael Graham] you are an idiot. ... The City Paper ought not be your outlet for b.s. that your parents can't stand to listen to when you come over to do laundry and make a sandwich. Also, you are not funny. Your attempts at humor make me feel embarrassed for you." —Noah Unger

2002

"I enjoy picking up City Paper from time to time... The irreverent and cynical tone of the paper doesn't bother me too much either —even when I am the target in your article." —Steve Dykes

"He consistently tells it like it is, so much so that I find myself shouting out things like 'Yes!' and 'Oh, you are so right!' So thanks City Paper, for giving Mr. Moredock the space, and Will, keep up the good work." —Clay Scales

"Mr. Moredock is either a generally pleasant person who, for effect, writes as an unhappy, miserable scrooge or is really an unhappy miserable scrooge. If the latter, I hope the City Paper has substantial mental health benefits or that his friends confiscate his shoe laces and keep him under close observation."—Frank C. Leister

"I wanted to thank you and your staff for your selection of candidates to endorse for this past election. Initially, your list of candidates got me mad as they were a polar opposite of my choices. I felt better when I later read your admission that NO candidates you endorsed in the past have ever won. If I remember correctly, your record is no longer intact (Leon Stavrinakis barely won), though you were close." —Duane Carrell

"I found the recent advertisement in your paper by The Reef disgusting and cruel. The picture depicting a kitten smushed into a glass (with a 'disclaimer') is at best in poor taste. Although I expect shock from the City Paper, I don't expect cruelty in a glass." —Ellen Harley

2003

"I know the City Paper is full of cynics..." —Michael Vick

"The cool local 'scene' music critic dudes at City Paper don't seem to be scrambling for extra verbiage to stuff their articles with, though. Rock on, dudes, I'm jazzed that there are still major cats out there shakin' up the whizzes!" —Melanie Merz

"I usually avoid reading Michael Graham's column for the sake of my blood pressure." —Marcella Guerriero

"Who peed in the food critic's Cheerios?" —Joe Christian

"The Charleston City Paper is my favorite town rag. However, I find the lack of positive coverage in its pages of a significant portion of Charleston's community to be a great loss... Where are your priorities people?" —L.A. Vess

"As soon as I saw the City Paper, I knew the cultural fascists of Charleston were alive and well." —Edward Meyers

2004

"I think it is great that, unlike the Post and Courier, which consistently gives a right-wing viewpoint, the Charleston City Paper presents both ends of the political spectrum." —Robert P. Stockton

"Thanks in part to your coverage the public is now aware of an issue that otherwise would have been kept quietly below the radar of most Charlestonians." —Marcella Guerriero

"I am so ecstatic to see a newspaper that will not bend to the political power!" —Susanne Grieve

"I love the City Paper! I've been reading it regularly since the old Upwith Herald days and I count on it. That's why I'm upset that you seem to be hell-bent on putting yourselves out of business ... There's a lot to be said about writing with finesse and humor without resorting to shock factor tactics such as the F-word and all its derivatives that continually pops up in the paper's content. Please keep up the good work but cut out the crap (pun intended)." —Jim Lundy

"I am a white, middle-class, English speaking, conservative, right-wing, Christian American, and Will Moredock should give me, and everyone like me, a reason not to kick his ass. Please make sure Will Moredock sees this letter." —Jeff Smythers

"Will someone please make sure Mr. Moredock gets enough fiber in his diet?" —Ken Schaub

"The City Paper is really a mixed bag, isn't it?" —Freida McDuffie

2005

"I wasn't sure if I liked the new layout/look when it first came out, but now I'm used to it and rather fancy it. Shame I can't say the same about most of your columnists." —Scott Walls

"Relax, Michael, take a deep breath ... you sound, well, almost hysterical about this one. Did you grow a uterus when we weren't looking?" —Nancy Griffith

"I'm wondering, was Will Moredock, as a child, seriously and repeatedly beaten with cigarette cartons?" —Marc Moisa

"Upon regaining the use of my vocal chords I was able to use the F-word as a noun, a verb, a preposition, and an adjective in reference to your paper ... You say, City Paper; I say, Shitty Paper." —Skye Suarez

"Your paper is leaps and bounds better than anything I have seen up here in nearly six years. It is both sophisticated and earnest, timely and in-depth. The stories show a caring for the city and its citizens. We can't wait to move back." —Robin Garrell (in Philadelphia)

"OK, that's it! I've put up with the City Paper's weird-as-shit columns for long enough ... If I were the paper's owner, I would have fired the entire editorial staff for this... Your paper is nothing but a bunch of liberal drivel, driven by an overwhelming need to be accepted by a decent society that doesn't want to read about shit-eaters. Your advertisers are fools for even giving you business, they should all demand refunds." —Dan Haskell

"In the interest of brevity ... I submit to you the letter "F" which stands for screw U." —A FanUpYours

"Will Moredock is a fine writer and generally has something thought-provoking to say. He should probably get a raise." —Penny Travis

"Damn, Michael, you've done it again. You've made it hard to hate you." —Scott Stallings

"I will not lie to you and tell that I enjoy reading the City Paper. I think it's a dreadful waste of paper. But I at least bothered to pick it off the floor of my favorite bars to read the cartoon Red Meat. Any reason why it is no longer in the paper? Any chance of it returning? Maybe if I tell you that I love the paper?" —Gregg Arnold

2006

"The City Paper is full of foul language." —Michael Griffith

"I'd hate to go to one of Scrooge Graham's parties. All he'd do is sit around whining about White Guy Victimhood. Which is really all he writes about anyhow... Ho, ho, ho." —Marvin Gump

"Michael is a young armchair warrior with some growing up to do." —Carol Jules

"When I typed in 'Moredock' and 'idiot,' there were 241 hits. Knowing this, it seems Google might have validity as a research tool after all." —Michael Ladd

"As always, I can count on the Charleston City Paper for an unbiased extensive break down of each candidate and the issues that we are voting on. I find that a lot of the times, the local news stations and other media publications tend to twist the facts in the favor of the side they are supporting... Thanks for leaving out the fluff and giving it to us how it really is." —Emily Stauber

"We cannot thank you enough for being so bold as to publish a gay edition and for the City Paper in just being 'out there' on Amendment No. 1. We thank our lucky stars for people like you and the good folks at City Paper." —Susie Prueter

"Take care and keep it knarly [sic], City Paper." —Eric Fill

"Perhaps, if Mr. Graham took Bush's dick out of his mouth for one second, I might be able to hear what it is he has to say." —Catherine Cook

"Tell me, do you pay this guy? If so, why?" —Doug MacCallum (about Moredock)

"Congratulations to the Eye. Give it some extra Visine or something for the good work." —Frank C. Leister

"I continue to enjoy your paper and find much of value in it, more so now that I've learned to ignore the sophomoric ravings of Michael Graham." —Carol Jules

"Perhaps, there is no Michael Graham (when you think about it, how could there be) he is, like Hitchcock's George Kaplan, an invention of the evil bastards at City Paper to generate letters and give me agita. Well played, dark ones, we'll meet again in the New Year..." —Wayne R. Marshall

2007

"My real point is that this article is disorganized, cluttered with senseless statements like 'You don't see that crap in the hood' and 'I miss the teeth a whole lot less than I miss those uncomfortable dentures.'" —Emily Denham

"I was appalled at the articles... and even more appalled at the graphic pictures in the back part of the paper... I immediately ripped it up and threw it in the garbage can... Your newspaper was a poor reflection on the beauty of the city of Charleston." —Traci Field

"Please retrieve your torn-up City Paper from the trash and put it in the appropriate recycling bin." —Angela81

"The black eye of your paper is Mr. Moredock. Being over the top is one thing. Mr. Moredock is off the cliff. His brand of tortured reasoning would make a liberal Berkeley professor blush. Mr. Moredock has a deep psychological problem that is only appeased by lashing out at South Carolina and everything southern." —Richard L. Wolfe

"You guys must keep Michael Graham just to make sure angry e-mails get sent. I can't even be sure he takes himself seriously ... Why don't you do your readers all a favor: pull the silver spoon out of your ass and lick it." —Daniel Daugherty

"I've read and reread Michael Graham's article, trying to make sense of it. I've got to stop wasting my time like this." —Carol Jules

"Michael Graham once again tosses off serious concerns with half-assed straw man quips." —Joe Kent

"Way to go, Michael Graham! Your take on Will Moredock is dead-on." —Scott A. Cracraft

"P.S.: Can you get Mr. Moredock on some medication that will relieve his morbid pessimism?" —Frank Leister

"Do any of your writers or readers read the Bible? Why don't you name your paper 'If it feels good, do it.'" —John Allen

"So maybe you need to live your life with a more open and loving heart just like the Baby Jesus did or stop reading Charleston City Paper. Put it down, man!" —Douglas Gleason

"A lump of coal to Moredock for letting us know every week that wisdom doesn't always come with age, and a sugarplum, if you must, to Michael Graham, for also letting us know weekly that one need not be old to be wise." —Mark Gupton

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