A letter to the editor, Steve Mensing

Dear Steve,

Thanks for the plug for our show, Laugh Tracks, at Spoken Space Theatre. FYI, it’s entirely inaccurate. The sketches we have planned are not the ones you list. I won’t be linking to it, but you know what you wrote (using the name Diane Goldstein).

While we do appreciate the publicity, I’m sorry to report that we won’t be reciprocating. We don’t have any bits scheduled about your blog.

We do plan to make fun of the county commissioners, Jim Sides in particular. However, this is not personal. I’ve known Mr. Sides most of my life. I like him and respect him and consider him to be a friend. I simply have different opinions about public policy and would like to see the county government shift its priorities.

Your blog gets personal. It seems to focus primarily on city vs. county politics, saying that the people in the county are good and the people in the city are bad.

While politics is a part of the Laugh Tracks show, it’s only a part. It’s something we’re interested in, but we’re interested in a lot of other things that provide material for comedy also. Our primary focus is to create fun and laughter.

You and I have different points of view, and I consider you to be my friend.

One thing I know about people. They don’t look the same, walk the same, talk the same — or think the same.

Here’s a bit about my view, and how it got shaped by my experiences. I grew up in Salisbury, taught school for 24 years (in the county), raised my children here, own a business here, pay taxes here, own property here. So I care deeply about this geographical area and its future.

Your experiences are completely different, and you have a completely different point of view.

That said, I don’t see that it benefits anybody for the county government and city government to oppose each other. And I don’t understand why anybody would want to take sides. The city is part of the county, only divided by an artificial line on a map. People live, work, shop, eat, and die all over, without regard to the government entities presiding over that piece of street or sidewalk or structure. The political arguments are fun, but they are really a whole lot of hoopla about a division that doesn’t really exist. It’s all just a place where people live — a tiny speck on a map.

I know, firsthand, that you are a good person. And you’re a good writer.

salisburyYour website, however, leaves people with the distorted impression that Salisbury is a town full of crime, corruption, and decay. Websites are accessible. Potential residents, businesses, and industry may see your website. Parents with children, considering moving here, have probably seen your website. Much of the material is distorted, and it does a lot of harm to the people who live in this area.

I don’t know why you do this. I know you are not from here, originally, and that you may have been treated badly by people in Salisbury.

There is a certain amount of snobbery in this town, as there is in every other town. My mother used to tell me how hard it was when she moved here, as a teenager, in the 1930’s. Her parents were immigrants who spoke with a foreign accent. My wife experienced this. My father experienced this. As a minority, I’ve experienced this separateness.

And I’ve participated in the hometown snobbery myself. It’s a “hey, I was born here” mentality. My family doesn’t go back generations, but it goes back further than people who moved here in recent years, like you. It’s like everybody picks on the new kid in class, and it goes on and on and on.

It’s silly.

So I want to be responsible for whatever I did to you that has you be this bitter. And I’d like to apologize. You live here, and you have the right to be welcomed as a part of the community without having to get attention by lashing out against it.

You’ve done a great job with your website. It gets a lot of traffic. I’ve read it with much interest myself. You’ve worked hard on it. Yet, it clings to a rigid, nasty, anti-city agenda. It’s an old, silly feud that started long before you and I made our lives here. You didn’t invent it. Why not give up embracing it and consider a more productive pursuit? Why not deal with the real city, rather than the evil one you’ve imagined? It’s just a place where people live, just like any other place. They build homes and buildings and streets. That’s it. And you live in it! Why not make your website something great that contributes to these people? You’re one of them. You could devote your considerable talents to that and be known for that!


3 Replies to “A letter to the editor, Steve Mensing”

  1. Sam,

    I just had to tell you I really enjoyed reading this and couldn’t agree more. While our society at large continues to become more divided along political lines to the benefit of a few, we as a community do not have to follow suit. A house divided against itself can not stand.

    Thank you for a thoughtful and well reasoned appeal to logic and good manners.

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