» Subscribe Today!
The Power of Information
Home
The Ledger - EST. 1978 - Nashville Edition
X
Skip Navigation LinksHome > Article
VOL. 43 | NO. 38 | Friday, September 20, 2019

Hello? Ticked Off? I have a complaint about this feature

Print | Front Page | Email this story

Its appeal is like that of a car wreck from which you can’t look away.

The difference is that instead of smashed fenders and chrome, it’s facts, the English language and basic civility that get mangled. If there’s any basic civility left these days.

The instrument of this carnage is a feature called Ticked Off in a local weekly newspaper. “Where Freedom of Speech is Alive & Well,” it proclaims, but good grammar, good manners and good sense are all too often dead as a doornail.

Readers are invited to call a telephone hotline or send emails outlining their grievances. The logo accompanying the feature is a somewhat sinister-looking fellow in a bandana and what appears to be a poncho, peering menacingly from behind a low-slung cowboy hat.

The symbols #@!!*? appear beside him. I assume this is supposed to set the tone for submissions.

In any event, what follows is a litany of outrages including the national debt, barking dogs, “illegal aliens,’’ water bill fees, athletes who kneel during the national anthem, discrimination against “straight, white, conservative males,” Democrats, socialists and communists, welfare and crime, traffic roundabouts (“No one knows when it’s time to go!”), “the self-entitled, rotund, lazy white guy” in front of someone at a drive-thru window, baggy saggy pants and on and on.

And on.

An occasional positive comment does appear, including a recent thank you to the Election Commission for making it possible for someone in the hospital to vote.

But those interludes are rare. And the comments are all anonymous, affording the ability to vent not just against society in general or the government, but against specific businesses for perceived slights without being held personally responsible.

The problem isn’t just that Ticked Off respondents can hide their identities while spewing their pettiness. They also get to spread their ignorance without paying a price. Two recent cases in point:

In one, under the heading “Waste, waste, waste,” someone complained about the Nashville Humane Association taking in 80 to 90 cats and dogs from Puerto Rico.

“I’m ticked off that the Metro government is having to pay for the upkeep of cats and dogs being brought from Puerto Rico. It is just another example of waste in government, and someone in the organization doesn’t know what is going on.”

Well, the someone who doesn’t know what is going on is the person who lodged that complaint.

“All of their travel arrangements and care were funded by Wings of Rescue and The Sato Project (nonprofits),” Laura Chavarria, executive director of Nashville Humane, told me. “We are a private organization and do not get any government funding. It is costing the taxpayers $0.”

The second misguided missile was launched at former Vice President Joe Biden.

“Recently there has been alot of talk about the city of Baltimore and the disastrous mess happening there,” the contributor states. “My question is why was nothing done during the 8 years when Obama and Biden were the president and vice president? Biden is from the state of Maryland. They should have cleaned the mess up or at least made a beginning during the 8 years they were in office.”

Noting that Biden is now running for president, the contributor continues: “How does he expect to run this county when he cannot even clean up or run his own state?”

Setting aside the simple civics lesson that presidents and vice presidents aren’t responsible for the upkeep of specific cities, there’s this:

Joe Biden is not from Maryland. He was born in Pennsylvania and moved with his family at age 10 to Delaware, his home state for the past 60-plus years.

This sort of thing reminds me of the Emily Litella character from the old “Saturday Night Live” Weekend Update segments, portrayed by Gilda Radner. Emily was perpetually aggrieved over controversial topics she’d misheard.

She’d take aim against such notions as the “deaf penalty,” “violins on television,” “firing the handicapped” or “making Puerto Rico a steak.” Eventually advised by an onscreen anchor of her mistake, she’d then respond, “Never mind.”

Which is pretty much my attitude about Ticked Off.

Joe Rogers is a former writer for The Tennessean and editor for The New York Times. He is retired and living in Nashville.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter & RSS:
Sign-Up For Our FREE email edition
Get the news first with our free weekly email
Name
Email  
TNLedger.com Knoxville Editon
RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 0 0 0
MORTGAGES 0 0 0
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 0 0 0
BUILDING PERMITS 0 0 0
BANKRUPTCIES 0 0 0
BUSINESS LICENSES 0 0 0
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0