Satirists should be judged by readers, not courts

Your Dec. 1 article "Texas court to rule: Can fiction be libel?" is troubling.

While there's merit to the argument that a publication should consider the context and implications of what it publishes, the reader makes the sole determination on how they interpret it.

It's not the government's place to make sure that all literature/journalism is written at a fifth-grade reading level so that everyone "gets" the joke. If a reader misunderstands a satirical piece, it's not the government's place to step in and punish the writer.
G. M. Best

Dear Texas Supreme Court,

Satire is a crime and it should be outlawed. Please make it retroactive, and label many of the founders of the US Constitution as criminals against the crown of England. Poor King George was constantly humiliated by the hate-filled lampooning of colonists intent solely upon revolting from an accepted and legitimate rule of law. I'm sure the UN, in its present collective state of mind, would totally support this action - especially France.

Furthermore, Charlie Chaplin's films must also be blacklisted for his humiliating parody of Adolf Hitler, a recognized world ruler at the time. In fact, every comedian who imitates a public figure for laughs, especially President George W. Bush, should be issued a uniform and sent to Iraq or enrolled in the Sen. Joe McCarthy School for the Maladjusted.

Lastly, George Orwell's book "1984" must be removed from our schools. Orwell's sly jabbing at socialism and communism should not be encouraged. Why, next thing you know, folks will be demanding that North Korea or Iran reject totalitarianism and repressive theocracy as accepted forms of government. I'm sure you will agree that all of these compulsory changes would make America a much better place to live!
Jeff Thieret
Harmony, Pa.

School administrators overwhelmed

In response to your editorial on the wave of paperwork washing over school administrators, I have a couple thoughts to share ("Red Tape Snares School Principals," Nov. 26). First, we say we want accountability but we don't want to pay for it. Budget cuts have hit support-staff levels in schools very hard, leaving administrators with more clerical responsibilities.

Also, special education has grown exponentially and far beyond the actual incidence of "special needs" children. We now have more special education for "special needs" families, rich and poor. We do not train administrators for such roles and we do not provide support for them. America has to decide what it wants versus what the schools need.
Michael M. Norman
Robbinsdale, Minn.

Downsize and donate

Regarding the Oct. 30 essay "My quest: to live with less": Kudos to Paul Boyer for his efforts to live with less stuff. I struggle with the same problem of too much.

I have a suggestion for those wanting to downsize their material possessions. As a librarian, I believe that libraries would love to be recipients of such donations. I encourage anyone downsizing their households to remember their local library when giving away books, videos, CDs, DVDs, audiobooks, magazines or any other materials used in libraries. Furniture or artworks are possible donation items as well. Just call and ask your local librarian.

Libraries make very small book budgets stretch, and donations can really help, even if they are duplicates. Most libraries can supply a receipt for tax purposes, and the materials will benefit local people.
David L. Ewick
Rochester, Ind.

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