Paul Greenberg
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Dear Distant Reader,

It was wholly a pleasure to get your letter taking serious issue with a not-so-serious letter to the editor that appeared here in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette some months ago.

Please accept my congratulations on being the latest and, I dare hope, the last in a long, long line of readers to be outraged by Connie Meskimen’s letter to us, which traced global warming to that insidious threat, daylight savings time. Well, sure, the more daylight you save, the warmer it’s going to get. Any idiot can see that, but perhaps only an idiot.

Not even a cynical newspaperman was prepared to believe this country had so many sober-sided pedants, or that every single one of them has access to e-mail. But missives like yours keep dribbling in. Now that the Internet has given letters to the editor an indefinite electronic shelf life, there’s no telling when such outraged letters will stop — or if they’ll stop.

My theory is that somewhere there’s a National Association of the Humorless that passes around spoofs assuming that they’re not. Because just when we think we’ve heard from every terribly earnest critic in the country expressing medium-high dudgeon at the Meskimen Global Warming Theorem, another sucker rises to the bait. You’re only the latest.

You were getting warm when you described Connie Meskimen’s letter as “absolutely ludicrous,” but then you went ahead and replied in all seriousness anyway. Your opening salvo, a combination of condescension and fulmination, was a classic example of earnest idiocy:

“I am not prone to writing to out-of-state newspapers but I received via e-mail a Letter to the Editor from one of your readers, Connie M. Meskimen, which was printed in your paper on April 16, 2007. Sometimes statements are made which are so absolutely ludicrous as to demand a response. Ms. Meskimen’s letter was one such instance.”

And sometimes there are statements made that are so absolutely ludicrous as to demand no response at all — other than an appreciative smile.

Oh, and you’ve got Mister Meskimen’s sex wrong, too. She’s a he — an attorney who, when not at his day job, has a talent for composing put-ons. He can make the most outlandish positions sound utterly sincere. (If he ever gets tired of lawyering, he might consider becoming a syndicated columnist.)

Not content with exposing Connie Meskimen’s letter as the fraud it was wholly intended to be, your partisan sensitivities also seem to have been hooked solid by the talented Mr. Meskimen, whom you insist on calling a her:

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Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.