Saturday, August 21, 2004

As a self-professed Person That Writes Things, I am constantly behind the keyboard, hacking away things that are as far away from the next Great Expectations or Tale of Two Cities as possible. Still, you can find me writing the occasional short screenplay, the odd movie review, and the frequent complaint letter to the local newspaper.

Take my latest published "work," for example.

Vancouver Sun editorials, Thursday, August 19th, 2004,

Re: Canadian prankster not funny: Games organizers, Aug. 18

The prankster's actions are a huge black mark against Canadian sports and an embarrassment to Canadians. The fact that this story made the front page only encourages people like Ron Benshimon. Sadly, he is getting the publicity he wants.

The only good thing is that it was probably one of the more benign ways to point out security holes at the Summer Games, and was preferable to an actual security threat.

-Vince Yim, Surrey.

I have a pretty good track record when it comes to getting stuff published in the Vancouver Sun, at least 70% of the letters I e-mailed got published. My very first piece was published back in 1995, when they were asking for opinions about the then-controversial cartoon show, Beavis and Butt-Head. At the time, I felt it was juvenile and puerile (although the film, Beavis and Butt-Head Do America is a work of comic genius). Anywho, the gist of my letter was that as much as I find it distasteful, it's still up to the parents (or whoever) to decide what their kids should be watching.

It was a pretty cool experience, having the Vancouver Sun photographer come over to my parents house to take my photo. They published it too. But, the caption at the bottom of my photo indicated that I wanted the show pulled off the air. Ah, the magic of editing.

These days, I keep all the letters I send to the Vancouver Sun really short and sweet (yet cynical and sarcastic, if possible) as to avoid major edits. Still, that doesn't keep that from happening. In one when I was writing to talk about the American stance on BC's film and lumber industry, I used the phrase "400 pound gorilla," but the editors converted it to metric.

As to the letters that don't get published? Vancouver Sun's rival publication, the Vancouver Province, once ran a front page headline saying words to the effect of ""Victim" comes forth with her story" (the word "victim" was put in quotation marks in the headline). This was around the time when there was a sexual harassment case between an SFU student and a swim coach (the coach was the alleged harasser and was dismissed from his job but evidence later revealed that the alleged victim was the actual harasser).

My response to the Vancouver Province was that regardless of the outcome, it should be up to the public to decide, as opposed to what essentially was a headline from a supermarket tabloid (plus, I also put the word "newspaper" in quotation marks). Needless to say, they didn't publish it.

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