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Letter From The Editor



Why is everybody so damn grumpy? Where is all this anger coming from? I see it every day, mostly in comments following political stories I read on the Internet. You're either a stupid, socialist libtard who worships President Obummer and wants to turn the country over to Muslims and Mexicans or you're a lying, wingnut, racist know-nothing who worships the rich and wants to help Mitt Robot-ney destroy America's working class.

As the recently departed Rodney King famously said: "Can't we all just get along?"

Apparently not. It's an epidemic. Read the comments after any political story on Huffington Post or Mediaite or CNN or any other national website. It's depressing, the amount of hate and anger that's out there in the land of the free and the home of the brave. You can get that anger localized by reading comments on The Commercial Appeal's website and, to a somewhat lesser degree — since we fiercely moderate (block) jerks — on memphisflyer.com.

I think it has a lot to do with the fact that most commenters are anonymous. It's much easier to be an ass if you're writing under the pseudonym L'il Freenut than it is when you're using your real name.

And a lot of the anger manifests itself in knee-jerk cynicism, where news of every civic development brings a chorus of haters and naysayers. Last week, we got word that a $30 million federal grant was awarded to Memphis to spruce up Main Street and build a walking/cycling path across the Harahan Bridge to West Memphis. Surely, that's good news, right? Nah. People will get mugged on the bridge, or they'll jump off, commenters said. And besides, why would anyone want to ride to Arkansas? There's nothing over there to see. Wah, wah, wah.

The news about Bass Pro's plans for the Pyramid was also greeted with the usual chorus of negativism. It's a bait shop for mullet-headed rednecks, they said. Nobody will come. The logo on the side of our most "iconic" building is an embarrassment.

Really? Advertising Age magazine just named Bass Pro as one of America's "10 Hottest Brands," along with iPad and Droid. The Springfield, Missouri, Bass Pro is the most visited tourist attraction in the state — ahead of the St. Louis Arch. And what's more embarrassing — having a giant retail/hotel/restaurant downtown or having to say to visitors when they ask what's in that big pyramid: "Uh, pigeons?"

Bruce VanWyngarden

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