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The Wrong Place and the Wrong Guy

by Dear Jon
June 14, 2002

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Sort 147_Dear Jon-The Wrong Place and the Wrong Guy ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON:

Dear Jon,

How come we never hear about Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia any more? Seems like ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union those former Soviet States have been awful quiet, too quiet if you know what I mean...What if they're actually the Axis of Evil? And what about Georgia? I've always wondered why the Soviet Union named one of its states after a United State. Pretty suspicious to me...And of course they picked a state that held the Olympics! Where's the former Soviet Republic of Utah? Guess the Soviets just couldn't keep it toghter until 2002!

Suspicious of former Soviet States

Dear Soviet,

Your letter has given me an idea for a new Partial Observer Forum: “Cold War Paranoiacs With No Place to Go.” You could form a Tom Clancy book club, and defend the Cuban embargo, and become an official site for the “Put Reagan on Rushmore” movement.


Dear Jon,
Does spanking a child constitute child abuse? How about kicking? If a child told me his father kicked him, what should I do? This child was spanked twice and kicked for being sad that he couldn't go somewhere.
-Concerned Individual

Dear Concerned,

The last thing you should do is waste your time and half-a-week waiting for a response from a satirist on deadline. I expect that most of my readers are joining me right now in a queezy-sick feeling, but what the heck, here is my take on issues like this.

1. For a sensitive ear, don’t take an issue like this to a comedian. Take it to the clergy but keep everything anonymous and hypothetical.

2. As soon as you go to a social worker, school teacher, lawyer or police officer for “advice” on an issue like this, you become a witness in an investigation which, thanks to public hysteria, is predicated on a presumption of guilt one normally associates with a lynch-mob. The only way to raise this issue safely is by keeping it strictly hypothetical, which I pray to God this letter is. Hypothetical questions are “What if?” questions.

3. You think you gave me what I need to give you decent advice? You have not even started. I don’t know how old the child is, and I don’t know under what circumstances these things were said. A “sad child” might be a five year-old kicked in the shins by his drunk step-dad, which is what everyone is assuming having read your letter. But it would be irresponsible of me to tell you what to do based on the words I read. For all I know, the child is a whining fifteen year-old given two swats and a swift but gentle boot in the seat of the pants as a motivation to shape-up the attitude. Zero tolerance policies and other absurdities spawned in the law by lynch-mob hysterics (also called "public outrage")might not make any distinction, but you and I know the difference, right?

4. To expand on number one a little bit: Dude, if you’re pretty sure that abuse happened, don’t write letters to internet humorists or “advice columnists.” Either call the police, or perhaps your local public child advocacy service has a hotline. The internet is not the right place for a sensitive, nuanced discussion of ANYTHING. If I were sensitive and nuanced, I would be syndicated in a newspaper.

5. If you really, really needed Dear Jon to tell you that Dear Jon is the last person you need in this situation, then thank God you wrote.

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