Wackrow says he’s not the proofreader

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To the Editor,

Each Friday, while my wife is leafing through that week’s Hungry Horse News, I facetiously ask her whether my name is mentioned anywhere. (It has been many years since I have done anything of note in the community that would warrant my name being in the HHN.)

Then, to my surprise, she told me that Larry Wilson wrote, “And thanks, Richard” at the close of his Oct. 3 column “A Message to the Proofreader.”

The fact is, I rarely read Larry’s column. I couldn’t care less, for example, about details of his personal life ? such as the increasing body weight of one of his of his protégés, or what he did at parties he attended. So I don’t know which “proofreading” Richard he was writing about.

In any case, this vague mention of the name Richard did prompt me to read the column in question ? which raised two issues of serious concern:

First, Larry writes of readers who expect him to adequately explain what he’s writing about, “I think if those things are not obvious, the reader has more deficiencies than I do.” I don’t recall being told in journalism class that it was the reader’s responsibility to decipher what a columnist has written.

And worse, I don’t know of another newspaper in the country that would tolerate a reporter, editor or columnist maligning readers as Larry did. It affects the credibility of the newspaper. But hey, if you’re the legendary author of a newspaper column that garners a whopping “dozen or so comments” per year, ...

Second, and more disturbing, is Larry’s writing, “It doesn’t help when someone tells me the syntax here is awful. I don’t even know what syntax is ?or care.” Larry goes on to tout baseball legend Dizzy Dean’s abysmal grammar, concluding, “My goal is to learn ‘em about the North Fork.”

As someone who pays school taxes in Flathead County, I find this lack of regard for proper English particularly frightening coming from a man who serves on the District 6 School Board in Columbia Falls. Let’s just hope that students in the Columbia Falls school system aren’t reading Larry’s columns.

Richard E. Wackrow

Polebridge

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