Stop the Satire
Please consider not publishing any more satire such as the Parmelee Post ["Jay Peak Makes Snow From Shredded Financial Documents," December 2; "Demolition Derby to Be Held in City Market Parking Lot," November 26; "Droves of Vermont Turkeys Immigrate to Canada," November 18; "UVM Lab Directs Resources Into Cloning Bernie Sanders," November 11, etc. every Friday on the Live Culture blog].
At a time when your brand is soaring as a trustworthy source of Vermont news, satiric pieces corrode that reputation's value, cheapening readers' perception of the real reporting by introducing the possibility that whatever would-be news they're seeing might be just an arch joke. Your journalists deserve better, as does the trust of your expanding community.
Then there's the whole "fake news" thing. It's become clear that intentionally false news websites (promoted via social media and making on-site ad money when the sites successfully lure people in) played an unprecedented role in spreading partisan lies about presidential candidates in our recent election. To be blunt, an alarming number of people appear to be unable to distinguish a lie dressed up as journalism from the real thing.
Satire on Seven Days inadvertently plays to that phenomenon, presenting a type of fake news that you'd think a reasonable person would be able to tell apart from real journalism, but suddenly it's become less certain that people are that media literate. If you have even the slightest sense of civic responsibility, that should give you pause.
I understand the temptation to reach out to people who seek out and appreciate satire — I'm one of 'em. For the good of your journalists, of your reputation and of democracy itself, I'm begging you to stop.
Editor's note: We'd like to think that our readers can tell the difference between Andy Borowitz-style satire and actual news, and, indeed, it appears that only a few have been fooled. Nevertheless, we have made a few changes to ensure that people get the joke — including placing a big "humor" tag next to the Parmelee Post headline. We hope you and all of our readers will agree that, more than ever, we need all the laughs we can get. Because a lot of the real news is pretty damn depressing.
Abortion Shouldn't Be Routine
Near the end of ["In the Trump Era, Does Vermont Need More Abortion Options?" November 30], the hope is voiced that by bringing abortion into hospitals and doctors' offices, its stigma would be reduced and it would send the message that abortion is no different from other medical procedures.
But abortion will always be different from other medical procedures. And it will always have a philosophical component. This is because abortion is the only medical procedure that involves two individuals, and a successful outcome of the procedure must always result in the death of one of them.
It breaks my heart every time I think about it.
Pence on Planned Parenthood
[Re "In the Trump Era, Does Vermont Need More Abortion Options?" November 30]: Postelection, it seems as though many are unsure what a Donald Trump presidency will bring. However, based on vice president-elect Mike Pence's legislative history, it is clear what stance he will take regarding Planned Parenthood and women's access to safe and legal abortion.
Under Pence, Indiana has experienced the closure of several Planned Parenthood clinics, one of which was a sole provider of HIV testing, resulting in an epidemic. Pence has even said that he wants to see a monumental abortion decision overturned, stating: "I long for the day that Roe v. Wade is sent to the ash heap of history."
Due to the possibility of a federal attack on Planned Parenthood, I think it is extremely important for Vermont to increase accessibility to abortion services while also decreasing stigma for women who seek the medical procedure. Vermont is one of only six states that has expanded the number of health care providers who can provide surgical or medical abortion. Still, only 58 of 1,273 abortions in 2012 occurred in hospitals or doctors' offices.
I believe that more abortion training of medical professionals, specifically in hospitals and doctors' offices, is an important first step Vermont can take in increasing access and acceptance of the procedure. Even in a majority pro-choice state, it's safe to say the stigma related to abortion is still very prevalent, and it's important that women seeking it feel like they have the option to receive the procedure in an environment that feels safe, private and nonjudgmental.
Type Size Matters
I love Seven Days. But when I picked it up today, I noticed that it was hard to read. Lo and behold, there was a letter to the editor talking about the same thing [Feedback: "Larger Type, Please," November 23]. I just want to ditto the previous letter — I'm sorry increasing the size of the font will mean losing something else, but for me it's a question of reading the paper or not.
Note: I used to hold the paper right up to my face but have had cataracts removed recently, and my sight was adjusted so I could read without glasses. I can't hold the paper close to my face, though, and find that a magnifying glass helps a bit.
Thanks for Jen Sorensen's poli-cartoon "Not Helping" in the November 16 edition of Seven Days. I assume it's not sarcasm. I sent your comments to our local news editor due to the weight of all the pre- and postelectoral comments that seem to be initiated by fear and speculation. We need to let the freedoms that have been duly established take their course and give the "balance of powers" so painfully penned into our Constitution a chance to work for all of us. The solution for our ills isn't just found in politics alone; it lies deep within the soul of each of us. Thanks, again, for the realism that we should be about.