DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am an attorney for whom writing was a well-honed craft for 30 years. I am now retired and enjoy commenting on stories in the newspapers.
My comments are not shoot-from-the-hip affairs. Rather, I carefully craft and refine them to make sure they are insightful, pithy and have the perfect comedic ratio. I place a premium on economy and cleverness.
So it chaps my proverbial hide when people reply to my comments in ways that not only do not enhance or improve but, by their pedestrian nature, actually detract from the feng shui of my thoughtfully crafted comment. I am tempted to respond, "If you don't have anything clever to say, don't say anything at all." What do you think?
GENTLE READER: You will forgive Miss Manners for smiling sadly at the idea that you or she can reform public discourse.
The ability to criticize others instantly and anonymously does not bring out the best in the public. So perhaps that is not the place to look for careful writing or thought.
Still, she admires your setting an example, and only quarrels with your temptation to snap back. Isn't facile public taunting what you oppose?