Let’s turn up the heat a notch: Tribune columns and responses now proliferate.


Last week’s ROCK column has generated two combative letters from Tribune readers, and today the slightly delayed Coffey column is running. As for the latter, I appreciate the opportunity to work with publisher Steve Kozarovich. I added a disclosure, and he added an editor’s note. I like my original title better (“Hot toadstools and cold cappuccino”), but you can’t win ’em all.

Here are the relevant links.

BAYLOR: Coffey’s conduct unbecoming (January 29)

LETTERS (Malone on ROCK): Jan. 29, 2009

LETTERS (Womack on ROCK): Jan. 29, 2009

BAYLOR: ROCK ‘n’ role playing (January 22)

I’m delighted that my columns are generating such responses, which can only enhance the local debate and promote public discussion of the issues therein.

Among other diversions, Mr. Malone accuses me of “avoiding the issue being debated” before avoiding it himself and attempting to answer the question, “which culture is ROCK seeking to reclaim?” with this answer:

The culture ROCK is attempting to reclaim is one (however imperfect) in which a common sense understanding of decency is understood by both the legal class and the working class.

Note that in argumentation, an appeal to “common sense” is itself a fallacy, precisely because it is often the case that matters formerly taken for granted as uncontested evidence of common sense (slavery, the subjugation of women, infanticide) now can be seen as usually foolish and often harmful – which is why I asked the question in the first place.

Reader Womack is funnier in his rebuke, lamenting my sending him running to his dictionary, and invoking the cartoon characters of the Chicken Hawk and Foghorn Leghorn to chide members of the (presumably liberal) intelligentsia for defending what he regards as the indefensible, i.e., indecency in the form of Theatair X. Neither Malone nor Womack attempt to define what decency and indecency mean in the context of reclaiming something that also isn’t defined.

Dictionaries, please.

As for the Coffey Agonistes piece today, all I ask is that anyone planning on attending Monday’s city council meeting … please bring a video camera.

As stated previously, I plan on using the full five minutes of my non-agenda speaking time to offer a heartfelt homily on something or the other as yet undetermined. It will tug the heart, tease the brain, induce laughter in the gallery and offer the council president the irresistable opportunity to gavel me away from the podium and exact his revenge. It would be nice to have such a moment captured on film and displayed prominently on this page.

In fact, for so long as Coffey’s latest outrage goes publicly unaddressed by his trembling political peers, I suggest that as many of us as possible attend and be prepared to speak.

After all, there’s no such thing as too much information, is there?