Thursday, April 20, 2006

Proofreading Is Importnat Important

One of my jobs is proofing memos and letters that come out of our office for spelling and grammar. Obviously they don’t have someone doing that in this congressional office.

The letter Rep. Jo Ann Emerson sent to one of her constituents read like any other a 20-year-old legislative correspondent might prepare for a member of Congress: Thank you for writing, your concerns are important to me, blah, blah, blah. Then came the kicker: “I think you’re an asshole.”

As the Associated Press reports, Emerson, a Republican from Missouri, says she has no idea how the insult made its way into her letter to a Centerville, Mo., resident named Bill Jones. “We cannot determine whether the addition to the letter was made by someone within the office or by someone with access to the office, but it is on my letterhead and the responsibility for it lies with me,” Emerson says. “A valuable lesson has been learned, and new procedures will be adopted as a result.”

Here’s a “new procedure” Emerson might consider: Read what you sign before you sign it. As the AP notes, Emerson not only signed the letter to Jones but added a handwritten postscript as well: “PS — please forgive the delay in responding.” [Salon]

Actually, I think stream-of-conscious letter-writing would be good for our representatives in Congress. They’d probably feel a whole lot better telling their constituents exactly how they feel instead of all this namby-pamby “I truly value your input” bazz-fazz. Of course, they’d probably never get re-elected, which would not be such a bad thing, either.