www.whyville.net Jul 4, 2003 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

Outlaw It?

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Usually, I don't respond to the Times Editor's comments, but today I feel that I have to make an exception. In one of my recent articles, (Smart Money) I discussed why spinning around to the finish line should not be acceptable. After reading the article, I realized I hadn't made my argument strong enough, and a couple of the Editor's comments really got through to me. So I've thought about this long hard, and here I am, back at the drawing board.

First and foremost, I want to apologize to Gimlet, but not to any one else whose name was smeared in my article (well, maybe Ahdieh, but that's pending). In one of her BBS posts, she expressed that she gives a fair warning about her Smart Cars strategy by why-mailing her opponents. Gimlet, I'm sure you see that you are probably the only person who does this, and not everyone is aware that you communicate like this. Therefore, I easily assumed that you fit into the same category. My bad, I know. But you also declared I "threw my weight around" -- but I read my article several times before writing this, and I never mentioned being a member of the Whyville Safety Patrol. I ask then, how does that make me "throw my weight around"?

Now, on to something that I need to address to the Editor. There was a point in my life when I wanted to be an environmental lawyer. This becomes important when we address libel. Pretend for a minute that you own a nuclear power plant and all your toxic waste needs to be dumped somewhere, and the easiest and cheapest place is in a nearby river. If this operation were to be kept in secret, it would be all right. But say that an environmental lawyer, such as myself, stumbles upon this tiny secret. Is it libel because I expose it to the public and "smear" your name?

Editor's Note: Libel is defined at dictionary.com as: "A false publication, as in writing, print, signs, or pictures, that damages a person's reputation." As I'm sure you realize, the key part is "false" -- as long as you have evidence of a crime, you're not committing libel. There's a lot more to this topic, of course, and I encourage all of our readers to do some thorough research and write for us.

And is it really cheating? Why do we have the rest of the track if it isn't? This leads me to say that Whyville is one of my favorite sites because I can take what I learn here and apply it to really life situations. Sadly, I can not apply this idea of "thinking outside the lines" in my day-to-day life. Can NASCAR racers pull a stunt like this? But let's think of something other then racing. Every year my parents do their income tax. Can they take a short cut through them and then say, "Oh, I was just thinking outside the lines"? The results would not be pretty, I will assure you.

I will admit right now, that I have considered just turning around. Why do I bother to submit a configuration if I won't get through it? It's really a waste of time. But then I realize that I am against all of this, and I will argue it until I'm too old for Whyville.



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