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100th Sort

Special collector's edition.

by Dear Jon
December 4, 2001

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100th Sort_Dear Jon-Special collector's edition. Dear Readers: This 100th Sort is a special column featuring reprises from earlier postings. For those of you who are junkies for all things "new," it also contains new "actual letters." Some of these letters are relevant to the theme, and some are not. I could have held the irrelevent ones to the 101st sort, but I figured that those hungry for my opinion deserve it when they can get it.


Dear Jon,

What is the best football movie of all time?

A Friendly Football & Film Fanatic

Dear Friendly,

"North Dallas Forty."


Dear Jon,

Michael Jordan is shooting about 40% this year. In your first 100 batches of letters, what would you say is your percentage of good advice?

The Stat Man

Dear Man,

If I thought any of my advice was bad, I wouldn't give it, right? My advice is 100% good. If you have a different opinion about that, start your own advice column.


Dear Jon:

Do I have to be angry? What have I got to be angry about?

White Male

Dear White,

Lots of people would say you don't have much of anything at all to be angry about. If you would like to soften that image at the PO, you can become a columnist. Then next year when I grouse about the lack of diversity, I won't refer to us as "Angry White Males." I will call us "Shining Happy White Males Holding Hands." Whatever. Just get the word out about the PO to friends of yours who are not White Males.


Dear Jon,

Does PO also have a crude referent, or should I even ask?

Deep Thinker

Dear Deep,

During the year-long history of this online journal, The Webmaster has included a graphic: "PO'd? Go to the Forums!" Whatever he meant by that, I will leave it up to the Webmaster to respond.

[The Webmaster responds:

Apparently you've never heard the phrase "peeved off," or "PO'd" for short. If you thought it stood for something else, I apologize.

By the way, I suppose some sort of congratulations are in order for Dear Jon's 100th Sort. Maybe by his 200th Sort he'll figure out how to use the online article submission form.


Dear Jon,

I seem to recall your wanting to know readers' "favorite Dear Jon column of the first 100 sorts". Now that you have reached 99, it would seem the time has come for making such selections. I'm not sure how we are expected to choose a column, since it would seem to involve "looking it up", which would violate Dear Jon's favorite principle. However, as a loyal reader, I do want to suggest that you -- sometime between now and January 1, 2002, reprint your predictions for the year 2001. They are contained in the column of last January 1, along with decade and millennium forecast, which are also interesing.

Looong-time Reader

Dear Time,

First of all, just because I don't have time to look anything up, does not mean that I don't expect others to look things up. But this letter comes closest to being relevant to the purposes of the 100th Sort, so I will oblige you by doing the homework myself. Now we begin a look back over the first 100 Sorts.

Dear Jon's Predictions from January 1, 2001:

"George W. Bush will become President." This happened, despite the litigation and with validation by the recounts.

"Many will lose their shirts trading in the stock market." Bingo.

"In 2001 there will be terrorism, vandalism, arson, and random murder." Can I turn in my crystal ball? It's no fun anymore.

Here is a prediction I got wrong: "In 2001, we will hear Strauss's "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" so often we will want to kick in our televisions." Nope. I guess I was the only guy on that wavelength.

"In 2001, Bush will use force in some hot spot to assert America's power." Ouch.

"In 2001, courts across the land will continue to expand the precedents that are eroding 1st Amendment freedoms of speech, assembly, and religion." Nothing like a war to accelerate that process, right Ashcroft?

Here was an interesting prediction for the "century," and it's #27 in the article: "In the next century, the worst acts of terrorism in U.S. borders will be performed by home-grown white-bigot groups, which has always been the case." This is no longer "always the case," and until the extent of the bio-terrorism and its origins are known, this prediction might actually prove false. I will not retract the prediction, however, because the same powers that are now directed at wiping out foreign terrorist cells, are also feeding the resentment of militia groups in the U.S. paranoid about the power grab at the federal level. It may be, within a few years, that the terrorists most capable of hurting Americans will be American because the foreign ones will hopefully be dead or in jail. In any event, it would not surprise me if future terrorist events claim more than the numbers killed on September 11.

On to happier things: As I have been sampling the previous sorts, I have come up with two. Rather than cutting and pasting them here, I am going to give you the sort numbers. All you have to do is go to the bottom of this page to where it says "Previous Columns by Dear Jon." Clicking here will give you the menu of all 99 previous sorts.

I think number 16 and number 40 are pretty good.

By Friday, let's see some more actual letters, and let's hear from some women. I look forward to another 100 of these.

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