One of the hopes for small-town living is that, among the residents of such a place, one will commonly find plain speaking and humility. Perhaps there are places like this, but sadly small towns, by themselves, are not enough to overcome unworthy pride. On the contrary, within such places, sometimes a tiny faction – confusing several square miles for the known universe – will slowly lose its perspective.
Consider a letter (identified as written by a Whitewater city councilman) to the editor of the local college newspaper, taking umbrage at the newspaper for failing to show what the letter-writer considered the proper regard for another resident.
Below, I’ve posted the letter, and thereafter words fitting in reply (a reply far better than anything I might ever say).
The Letter to the Editor:
One Response to “Premier Bank CEO talks Commercial merger” [click for screenshot]
Lynn Binnie on October 17th, 2017 10:28 pm
“Kachel” is undoubtedly the best known surname in Whitewater. The family has donated millions to the university, their name appears in a number of places on the campus, and DLK is the largest landlord in the community. Consequently it’s shocking to see the name spelled Catchall in this article. Not to mention that the former President of Commercial Bank spells his name Jon rather than John.
The Gospel of Mark, 12:38-39, 41-44
 As he taught, he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces,  and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets!
 He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums.  A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny.  Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury.  For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
See also The Perimeter Fence and Newnan, Georgia & Whitewater, Wisconsin.
Yeah, he earned his brownie point with that letter. Effing hysterical. I get the tie in from yesterday. It’s true in a lot of ways, Whitewater is run like a southern town.
Indeed: that was the tie-in.
A few people in Whitewater will find this post “shocking” (sorry I had to!!) but many more will agree with its sentiments. The letter to the editor is sad if you think about it. I guess it’s supposed to criticize the school paper but it reveals more about the writer’s viewpoint. This gets at the difference between status “best known surname”, “millions”, “largest landlord” or good deeds for their own sake. (The addition of “undoubtedly” to drive home the groveling is pathetically funny.) In this critique of pride/arrogance you wisely avoid using your own words. It was better to let tradition do the talking. It’s so much more formidable this way.
I’ll reply, in part, as I did elsewhere today: I’d say that proofreading suggestions to a college newspaper could have been more straightforward, simply focusing on names misspelled, w/o references to notoriety or wealth. It does no good, and some harm, for others to write about a local family (whatever family) as though they were giants. There are, thankfully, no giants in this city, and we are much better off that way. Those Americans pining for an aristocracy of sorts (however absurd that is in a small American town) are free to spend their time watching British television.
still committed to balance in the force, i see. really can’t imagine how messed up it would be if city council picked 17 giant portraits. maybe same few people three times each.
The same few people a few times each is still a risk. Balance in the Force? Whitewater could use Obi-Wan, Luke, or Rey. We have, instead, only each other; that will have to do.
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