, Gloucester, MA


June 8, 2013

Letter: Poor sarcasm has no place on committee

To the editor:

I am writing in response to the Times’ June 5 story headlined, “Parody email lands school official in hot water.”

Parodies, satires, sarcasm, and irony rarely work in print. Some succeed when heard because the voice tones add to the message, but that is an inadequate and immature way to express displeasure for all but the most talented writers.

The most generous interpretation I can make of what Mr. Garberg wrote is that it was ill-considered. Serious questions and issues need to be addressed properly and that opens the possibility of long discussions.

Verbally slapping someone is the response of a schoolyard bully, and is not an appropriate response from someone on the School Committee unless he wanted to avoid a discussion.

Since Mr. Garberg doesn’t seem to respect his position on the committee or the intrinsic obligations of a public official then perhaps we should consider relieving him of this onerous burden for him as soon as possible.

His commentary requires far more than the “Oops, my bad” typical non-apology. His action speaks of a deep disregard for parents and their values if they don’t agree with him.

Frankly, I want members on the School Committee and the City Council who can handle confrontations respectfully, address the issues, and work at finding solutions that benefit our whole community. In a city of almost 30,000 there are about 31,000 opinions, since some change their views. Is it too much to ask that these two crucial groups of elected individuals take our concerns seriously, no matter how badly we express them? If it is, do we need the committee and City Council at all?

I have no children, yet I fight for all students to have the best opportunities to learn, to explore their worlds, and to develop the skills to face what they will confront in the future.

Not a single person on this planet knows what will happen in just five years, but using sarcasm is not likely to be a wildly successful tool. Perhaps Mr. Garberg can generate a reply that is free of parody, satire, sarcasm, and irony. Given his evident talent, how will we know?



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