When the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle shrunk the Sunday comics to microscopic size, it made Edward P Curtis, Jr. hopping mad. He fired off a sharp rebuke to the offending paper, but they didn’t print it. So he sent a copy to rival City! newspaper. They did.
Why shouldn’t he be mad? Is there a newsprint shortage? Will tiny funnies house the homeless? Feed the hungry? Support the troops? No, no, no and no. It will help the shareholders, saving a fraction of a cent per hundred papers.
Truth be told, we were all furious that horrible Sunday morning when we saw what the misers had done. We all wanted to give them a piece of our mind, but we were afraid to. This type of letter is tricky.
Deep down in our heart of hearts, we all know that the funnies aren’t too important. Maybe our letter of protest will hit on a heavy news day. The Opinion page will be stuffed with gut-wrenching letters about genocide, AIDS, earthquakes, stock market meltdown….and smack dead center will be our silly little letter sniveling about the funnies.
It can be done, but you can’t be clumsy. You must saturate your letter with humor, self-deprecation, and mock outrage. That way, if it appears alongside weighty stories, it is the editor who looks like a dork, not you.
Mr. Curtis has brilliantly met the challenge. Thank you, sir, for you did what we all wanted to do, but didn’t have the guts.
Unfortunately, Mr. Curtis’ letter reached the D&C too late. They had already published a letter of protest from a less experienced writer, who fell headlong into the above trap.
Dear Ms. Editor:
How truly tragic that a feature which brings all of us so much joy each week, the Sunday funnies, has been reduced in size. It’s now so hard to see the detail in drawings that I so cherish. Of course, we all must cut costs, but surely not at the expense of the uplifting Sunday funnies! I am not angry, and I can forgive, for I feel you do not know what you do. But please, please, oh please, Ms. Editor, reconsider and restore our beloved Sunday funnies.
The letter was printed on a day of heavy news. They sandwiched it between a letter from Osama Bin Laden and another from a tsunami survivor. That night, the embarrassed author left town, and hasn‘t been heard from since.