News From Terre Haute, Indiana


November 9, 2013

READERS' FORUM: Nov. 10, 2013


Careful with labels, beware sarcasm

Gerry, Gerry, Gerry. In your 10/27 response to my Oct. 18 support of Ms. Elder, you have it all wrong. I have known Ms. Elder for some time and know her to be intelligent, caring, compassionate and concerned.

She is a single mother, a full-time employee and a full-time college student in control of her current circumstances and driven to achieve her career passion. I support every statement she opined in her letter! You were ignorantly incorrect to suggest that my letter “vituperated her.” But I’m certain you were using the word “vituperative” for the first time.

You labeled yourself a “redneck” and suggested you are a common man. Don’t sell yourself short, Gerry. Your letter suggests you are not just a common “redneck.” But thanks for the compliment that I am a “smart one.”

Being a lifelong Hoosier myself, we likely differ only in that I pursued the American Dream of my parents and grandparents, and became more literate and enlightened than they. I apologize if my use of the English language triggered linguistic or intellectual discomfort for you. Since I had not been acquainted with you until Oct. 27, you must know it was not intentional. My intent was to express, not to impress. Since you dusted off the Webster’s unabridged to prepare for your Oct. 27 opinion, perhaps you can revisit it to learn the word “sarcasm” and the concept “Socratic irony.”

Caution, learning will hurt the first time but feels better with practice, and it often triggers a knowing smile. It is always better to hesitate, think and have others believe you to be unenlightened than to impetuously express your thoughts and remove all doubt.

You pulled from your “dark closet” of stereotypes, biases and labels the vitriolic “smart one” to label me. No doubt, I am a proud “smart one” in many specifically defined ways. But, I really appreciate you not equating me to the more common “dumb one,” as many tend to unfairly label the self-deprecated rednecks among us.

— Jim Camp

Terre Haute

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