a place for zinesters - writers and readers
Letters to the editor pages seem, nowadays, to be as anachronistic as the newspapers in which they first appeared. I think it has become a suspicious activity to actually write in to a publication or program instead of just spewing your nugget of love or rage into comment threads. There’s a level of commitment in submitting a letter for publication that isn’t present with an instantaneously and automatically published comment.
I think it should not be so deviant to commit to incoherent ideas. The problem with big, coherent, important writing is that it is worth something. Or rather, the problem is that not being worth something is seen as suspicious or bad. Valuelessness is not badness. Even when I succeed in my efforts to not be a prejudiced dickhead, it is still possible (likely, or even certain) that I am being irrelevant, senseless, apocryphal, inelegant.
Sometimes the content is irrelevant. Sometimes the point of writing a letter is for somebody to read your letter. The degree to which it is sensible and/or comprehensible is less important than the fact that it is there and that it is visible.
Sometimes the high value placed upon meaningful, coherent content invalidates a person’s need to be heard, because the value of the person’s presence is reduced to their ability to sound acceptable, ‘nice,’ and ‘relatable.’
Newspapers don’t pay for letters to the editor. If I know that I won’t receive payment for my work, but I still write, this frees me from the need to be strictly coherent, or valid, or sensible, or valuable. Things are free only when nobody can be persuaded to pay for them, and I think this makes those things priceless.
I’ve been thinking about these things for a long time, and I know I’m not the only person to have thought them. I’m going to begin this zine, LTLE. The first L stands for ‘Letters.’ The T stands for ‘To the.’ The E stands for ‘Editor.’ The second L stands for ‘LTLE.’
I’m the editor. I want to compile letters to the editor. The letters can be about anything - current news, old news, personal rants & loves, responses to past letters, or they can be about no discernible topic. The point is that their incoherence, worthlessness or extreme specificity will present no obstacle to their publication.
I don’t claim that this project is worthwhile, and I don’t know if it will add anything of value to the world, whatever that means. I’m committing to it anyway, though - printing everything out and distributing it as if it matters.