Thursday, June 28, 2007

Give a monkey a pen..

...and he's still a monkey.


The last time I wrote about someone's letter to the editor, it was from the guy that wrote a letter announcing to his family, friends, and the entire world that, contrary to rumors circulating throughout the island, he hadn't committed suicide. I made fun of his letter, calling it "The Greatest Letter to the Editor EVER" or something like that.

A few hours after posting it I got a phone call from the writer. He pointed out that I was being insensitive and that the rumor had caused a lot of pain for people in his family.

Not wanting to be "that guy," I apologized, agreed with him that he was right, and took it down.

So, with that said, and the expectation that I'll piss someone off, let's continue making fun of people's letters to the editors:

In today's paper there is an entry from one of the CNMI's prolific writers, Gonzalo Santos. I think this guy writes at least one every other week and spends most of his letters talking to his imaginary friend. In today's article he keeps referring to himself in the third person. Can you smell what the Rock is cookin'?

This gets me to thinking. Back when I was doing grassroots organizing in Florida, we had a set of rules for writing letters. They were basically: keep it short, keep it to one subject, and if possible, make it funny or eye opening in some way.

Those rules don't exist in the CNMI. Out here, a letter isn't necessarily judged on its content; it is judged on its length. (The same ideology holds true for the House and Senate. Instead of ranking lawmakers on the quality of their votes cast, they are judged by the number of bills they introduce.)

Writers also go off on tangents. I don't remember who wrote it, but a few months ago there was a letter attacking the government, or CUC, or the midget pirates, I don't really remember, but in the last paragraph the writer completely shifted gears and wrote a reminder to kids not to do drugs. Um, WTF, mate?

Writers also tend to make grand, baseless statements. Why just the other day, one of the other most prolific letter to the editor writers in the CNMI, Ambrose Bennett, was comparing himself to Abraham Lincoln. Pardon my French, but are you fucking kidding me?!

I admit that I'm not the greatest writer; the last time I took an English class I was 17 and in my Senior Year of High School. So feel free to flame me.

But here are Angelo's Rules for writing a great Letter to the Editor in the CNMI:

1. Make it long as hell. The longer the better. Think you're done writing? Add a few more paragraphs. People won't understand you unless you drag it out forever and ever and ever.

2. Create an imaginary friend for you to talk to in your letters. It can be a Taotaomona, a Pokemon, or even the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It doesn't really matter, but people will appreciate that you converse with your imaginary friend when you write your letters.

3. Veer off topic. Staying on topic will only confuse your readers and embolden your enemies. A good opening sentence might be something like, "The recent string of Poker robberies has got me and Pikachu thinking about trying out a new lasagna recipe..."

4. Never, and I mean NEVER, make a point.

5. Blame everything on the government and ask them to comply with ridiculous demands, preferably having nothing to do with the problem. For example, you could accuse the Governor of doing nothing to increase the number of chromosomes in the human genome and then demand that the Legislature pass a law changing the color of the sky.

6. Don't sign your name to letters and make up a name for the city in which you live. Holani Smith and Nudibranch, KY have already been used, so you need to come up with your own names.

7. Endlessly remind people that you've been saying this for years.

I think that's enough for now. If I think of any more I'll add them. I invite you, my readers, both of you, to add your own.

And then just to head off the flames...this post is meant to be SARCASTIC. Trolls will be dealt with added sarcasm.


Saipan Writer said...


Thought I'd add these to help you out, just in case you might have forgotten.

Please make sure you forgit how to spel things, becouze that just makes it so much more intersting.

And never use English the way correcting might sound.

Please be sure to show off your vocabulary with some of those unusual words like solon and overspeeding. (Two of my faves in the usual reporting, but they occasionally also show up in the letters now.)

And also, be sure to misquote, misunderstand or just outright change what somebody else has said, done or written. That always livens things up.

Jeff said...

Those Gonzalo Santos letters are bizarre even by Saipan standards.

When I was editor of a weekly in NJ, some guy named Bill Samer, I'd call him the In Samer, would, on a relatively coherent day, write three pages on "people movers," for squirrels and get mad I wouldn't print them.

BoReGo said...

Mrs. Freedman always said, when writing, think of a woman's skirt: it should be short enough to be interesting and long enough to cover the subject. Or was that Mr. Freedman? Oops, now I know why there is no more Mr. and Mrs. Freedman. -signed Chinchule' Papago:)

Bruce A. Bateman said...

Hi Angelo, I missed the meeting the other evening but finally took the bull by the horns and started my own blog. And speaking of bull...

Come on over to to read what's going on as the Saipan Saipanuvian Speaks pontifically on many subjects. Some of which may even be mildly entertaining.

There is no content moderation so you can say whatever comes into your mind.

Please pass the word around and please link to the Saipan Saipanuvian Speaks blog. I will, in turn link to your blog (once I figure out how in the hell to do so).


Mona said...


marianas life said...

how about the mayoralty race during election season!!!???

saipanmiddleroad said...

letters to the editor:

additional rule:

If you're a government or attached agency officials and you were misquoted by misguided reporters or writers like those who "c_nt" write ethically, better push those lead pencils and write your explanation, making it look like you are defending your camp.