How to write a bad letter to the editor

I just needed to get this off my chest.

  1. Start off by guessing that the newspaper won’t run your letter, or “daring” them to do so. Spend at least a few paragraphs discussing the newspaper’s lack of balls and the reasons behind their future decision not to publish your letter.
  2. Insult the newspaper liberally without giving any reasonings behind your blanket statements. Say the paper is stupid and that you’re smarter than them. Conclude that their declining circulation numbers are a direct result of their extreme political views and their decision to silence dissent.
  3. Make liberal use of the cut-and-paste quote. Make sure the quotes are at least 300 words long, that they’re well-known by everyone, that they’re from someone like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, John F. Kennedy or Mother Theresa. Also be sure they have no direct relevance to the point of your letter.
  4. Use quotes around words with unambiguous definitions.
  6. Never actually get to the point of your letter. Instead, repeat steps 1 to 3 for at least 3,000 words and then call it a day.
  7. Demand that the letter be printed as an opinion piece instead of a letter and that no editing be performed on it, even to fix spelling or formatting.
  8. Use thinly-veiled threats of violence to get your point across.
  9. Lace the entire letter with vulgar profanity.
  10. Use excess verbiage like “I’d like to draw you to the fact that” which hike up the word count but add nothing useful.
  11. Use metaphor without making it clear what the metaphor is supposed to represent.
  12. Add in a bunch of paragraphs of PhD thesis-ese that uses words and concepts nobody but people highly-schooled in the subject understand. Assume everyone has spent years studying the issue and does not need to be brought up to speed on the basics.
  13. Make grammatical errors so egregious the sentences lose all meaning. Those that are correct should be run-on sentences which require minutes to parse into something meaningful.
  14. Write the letter in response to someone who was responding to a letter of yours, just to correct minor irrelevant points or make ad hominem attacks instead of dealing with the actual argument.
  15. Abruptly change the subject halfway through and discuss something entirely different.
  16. Invent your own credentials. Make yourself an expert in this field and imply that nobody knows as much as you do.
  17. Invent facts to support your case. Say 99% of people do something based solely on a guess. Use paranoid conspiracy theories as the basis for your arguments.
  18. Use opinion pieces by advocacy groups as if they were objective sources of facts. Take their word for everything they say, even if it’s self-serving and unsourced. Reference it in a way that hides the fact that this is a text from an advocacy group.
  19. Use footnotes with MLA-style references, even if the paper has never used footnotes before.
  20. Say that you’re writing on behalf of a group and add 30 of your friends’ names to the end of the letter. Demand that all the names be published.
  21. After the next issue comes out, even if it’s only hours after you sent your letter, assume they will never print it and start an email campaign accusing the paper of silencing you. Immediately send another letter admonishing them for not printing your previous one as if they’re actually going to print the second and not the first.
  22. Mention that you’re sending the exact same letter to dozens of other newspapers (list them all by name).
  23. Forget to include your name or any other information on who you are or how to contact you.
  24. Send dozens of letters every week. Demand the newspaper publish them all.
  25. BONUS: If the newspaper points out that they don’t have enough space to publish all of your letters, much less your letters and those of everyone like you, suggest they start adding pages or cutting other sections of the paper to make more room for letters.

Just use these simple steps, and you’re guaranteed* to get results.

*Not guaranteed

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