As seen on oprah

I love getting feedback. and boy, did I get a lot of feedback about my article a few weeks back about the Bush military spending plan and how I supported parts of it. Some of it was positive and I really appreciate positive feedback; I don’t know anybody who doesn’t. I will admit though that I did get quite a bit of negative feedback. The negative feedback did not bother me so much as the assumptions people made about me from what I had written. I cannot publish what some people said to me, but for the most part, I got called something rhyming with “gas pole.” So, in response to the feedback I have decided to bypass my column this week for a column about giving and getting criticism.

In case you’re curious (and I know you are), my article next week will be called “Where’s the Money Really Going?” It will be printed as soon as the lawsuits filed by the Anti-Defamation League, League of Women Voters, North American Man Boy Love Association, The Boy Scouts of America, the City of Atlanta, the Vatican, the American Red Cross, and the country of Japan are settled. (Quick Reminder: satire is protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution so don’t get any ideas.)

The first rule of criticizing what somebody writes or how they do their job is not to make statements about that person personally. For example, just because I passionately disagree with George W. Bush on his handling of labor unions, that does not give me the right to call him a dumb Texan yokel who cannot figure out speed dial on a touch- tone phone. So please, whatever I might write, or anybody for that matter, lets not make judgments on the person and resort to name-calling. I already get called enough bad names: Just talk to my ex-girlfriends.

The second rule is that when and if you feel the need to respond and criticize somebody’s position, respond in the right way.

Two weeks ago, someone wrote a response to the previously mentioned Bush column. (Synonyms for xenophobic are racist, chauvinistic, and intolerant.) It is something that he apparently feels very passionate about and I respect his opinion. Too many people often just sit and complain and never do anything. So, rule two is also a life lesson: if you do not like something, do something about it, you self-righteous egocentric college students!

(See how easy it is to break rule one? I bet I had you going you there for minute. Okay, maybe thirty seconds? Ten seconds? Never mind…)

This is my first official column for the school paper and so far it’s been a blast. So, in the coming weeks, I hope that the dialogue will continue. I will continue to move forward with my writing and I hope the feedback keeps coming. Just remember that rule one is don’t make it personal, rule two is if you don’t like something written, do something about. There is no rule three because I could not think of one, even though it would have been catchier to have three rules, but you get the point. So I close with something Joseph Stalin said to the Soviet Union Troops before the Battle for Stalingrad, “Not one step backwards.”