Letters to the editor in newspapers

I read two newspapers every day - highly selected articles, that is - one of which is the Volkskrant (VK). For readers from abroad: this is a moderately left-wing quality newspaper. I always look forward to the column by Sylvia Witteman and the cartoons by Peter de Wit and Jos Collignon. The other newspaper, to which my wife subscribes, provides a counter-balance when I'm annoyed by 'left-wing political correctness', as some will call it, in the VK. There are many language errors in the newspapers these days, even in quality newspapers. I know, because this has been researched, that many older men are annoyed by this, which also applies to me. In that respect, I am a grumpy old man, as beautifully portrayed by Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in their film Grumpy old men. Well, education isn't what it used to be. Currently, about 25% of young people seem to be 'low literate', which means that they can hardly read an article in the newspaper or a letter. So that promises something for the future.

Jack Lemmon en Walter Matthau as grumpy old men in the movie of the same name

But what is worse, the gossip, the untruths that are spread in the newspaper. And I don't mean the deliberate lying and cheating, which is nowadays called 'spreading disinformation', but the nonsense in  articles about, for example, health, skin cancer, tanning beds and especially about beauty and cosmetics. Because De Groot is easily annoyed by ignorance and I have an opinion about everything, I have  sent a letter to the newspaper every now and then to denounce and correct the errors and falsehoods in the articles that spread nonsense .

I like to spice the letters with humor and if necessary - and I'm good at that - with the necessary cynicism. I have found some of these letters to the newspapers and am showing them below without further comment. Some are old, newspaper yellows quickly and I've had to do some cutting and pasting here and there, so I apologize for it being a bit messy. By the way: this has nothing to do with science, of course, I'm showing them here in the hope of amusing you a bit. 

However: I have not translated my letters into English. The reason is that they contain so many sayings, cynicisms, phrases, special expressions and little (word) jokes that the letters cannot be translated in another language without loosing much of their humor. Google translate couldn't make much of it, that was crystal clear. My apologies!


From: Brabants Dagblad, June 14, 1995

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