A Letter

Dear Mr. McGuirk,

I’ve started this letter to you several times. Each time, I erase the polite salutations and explanations of why I’m writing to you, the explications of my background and my opinions, because while there are circumstances which warrant addressing people with whom I disagree with respect and dignity, I see no such need for courtesy here.

I don’t just disagree with you, sir. I am sickened by you. I am ashamed to share membership in the family of mammals with you, you miserable, selfish, sanctimonious prick.

How dare you? How DARE you? I can see from your own background that you fancy yourself a journalist. Have you ever known a foreign correspondent? Counted one amongst your family and your friends? I wonder what that family member, that friend, would say to your callous, uninformed, savage commentary about a person who does what you can’t bring yourself to do: go out and get you information about the world. You may not care about the world. But Jill Carroll did, enough to bring you back tales of the war you cheer from your fat chair in your cozy living room. She cared, and for that, you give her … this? Are you mad? Are you suffering from some disease? Did someone, at some point, against your will, remove your soul? Your life is information. So is hers. That’s what she was doing there, you smug, complacent jackass. She was telling stories to people like you. You weren’t even required to enjoy them or approve. She didn’t even know you’d be listening. She spoke anyway, hoping somebody was. That’s what people like her do, you bologna pony. You absolute ass. You may be unable to conceive of an unselfish act in the middle of a world that is actively melting down, but thank God for the sake of all our souls there are still people out there who can. You don’t have to bow down to that. This is a free fucking country, after all. But you should at least be expected to refrain from making crass, sexually suggestive, demeaning comments about her following the day she was released from being kidnapped. You should, at the very least, be condemned from the tops of tall builldings. Decent people should spit on you in public. People should turn away when you approach.

Mr. McGuirk, to your remarks about her attire. Have you ever spent time in another culture? Ever tried to get someone different from you to trust you, to believe that you, a stranger and outsider, deserve to hear their stories, are sincerely trying to understand? It helps, you selfish asshole, if you at least make the most cosmetic of attempts to show that you respect their culture, their way of life. I don’t expect you to understand respect yourself, but surely at some point in your illustrious career the concept has crossed your desk. Since you obviously missed this lesson in journalism school let me give you a remedial session: if you’re interviewing a concert pianist, try to make sure you can pick a piano out of a lineup. If you intend to tell the stories of ordinary Iraqis in the middle of a war, it helps to move among them freely, to speak their language, to understand their customs. You would know that if you ever left your couch.

Hmm. I cannot appeal to you as a journalist. Let me try to speak to you as a person who must love at least one other person in the world. I can only imagine, having spent scant amounts of time reporting from overseas, how Jill Carroll and her family must have suffered. Do you have children, sir? Would you think on them, please, and imagine giving their names and photographs to the State Department, their identifying characteristics, their last known addresses, the identities of their associates, conversing with their employers to find out if they’re alive or dead? And then imagine turning on the radio, to hear someone such as yourself, making jokes. Imagine the person you most love in your life, imagine him or her in peril, imagine your laughter echoing in those ears. This may be a joke to you, sir. Jill Carroll is real. The danger she was in was real. Yet you laugh.

I can’t say I’m entirely surprised, having watched people of your political stripes on one hand cheer a war and on the other make jokes of those who fight it and inform you of the fighting. I’m not surprised. I’m sickened, sickened by you, sir. I’m sickened that you thought you had the right to so much as open your mouth about Jill Caroll. You should apologize for your comments, and then you should resign. From the human race, is what I’d prefer, since being in the same gene pool with you makes me nauseous, but at the very least, from any occupation which places you in the position to open your fat fucking mouth.

Thank you for reading this letter, not in the least because I’m sure it must have taxed your literacy skills considerably. I look forward to your statement of apology to Ms. Carroll, her family, and anybody and everybody who might have been listening to the radio, including but not limited to the entire planet, the Internet, and areas of known fucking space.

No love,