Readers bring their own POV to the stuff they read.
I got a long, anonymous, and generally positive letter about this column.
What I found odd was that it spent considerable verbiage defending Jerry Bledsoe's work from the "mandatory shot" I took at it, which the writer suggests may have been "mandated" by my editor.
The idea that the opinion editors at the N&R would ever pressure me in that way, or that I would accede to such pressure, shows a serious misunderstanding of our working relationship, and a serious mistrust of the institution.
I did rib Jerry for an "exhaustive (and exhausting) Rhinoceros Times series, already boasting more chapters than the Nibelungenlied and more granularity than your average beach." A shot? With a water gun, maybe.
The writer is correct that without Bledsoe's work, Wray would be remembered unfairly as a racist. That doesn't mean the series is immune to criticism, and as I wrote I'm waiting for some specifics on Wray's alleged transgressions, but the whole negative frame suggested by the letter feels wrong to me.
The letter also says I express "consternation" and naive surprise at Matlocke's remark, "Only in Greensboro," when in fact I used the remark to launch the broader arguments about race and politics that anchor the column, and that I've been making in one forum or another for a decade.
Anyway, my point is really that it's interesting to see how people read things through the lenses they bring with them.
It explains a lot.
(The letter was addressed to me and copied to David Wray, Jerry Bledsoe, The Rhino editor, Greensboro City Council, Mitch Johnson, Mayor Holliday, Lorraine Ahearn, and "others," so maybe it will turn up somewhere soon.)
PS My limitations as a writer, and the constraints of the limited space I have in the paper, may also be factors in failures to communicate.
UPDATE: An as-yet-unposted letter to the editor in this morning's N&R is quite similar in format and content to the one I received, right down to the complaint about slagging Bledsoe. Hmm. Keep an eye out for a third letter...