Lack of skill or lack of material?

Dear Editor,

At the risk of sounding puritanical, allow me to criticize The Northerner’s recent publishing of the article, “Sex guide gives thorough details,” purportedly “reported” by Aleta Shaffner in the Feb. 9 edition.

The ethical issues of placing an article with no artistic merit in the Arts ‘ Entertainment section of the paper is a battle that I’m not even going to begin to take up. The idea of peddling a sex manual in a university paper is also seriously disturbing. However, what troubles me the most is the lack of English 101-level writing in a section dealing with literature. For me, the writing doesn’t have to be complex to make a good article, maybe just a short, easy-to-read piece about a novel on the bestseller list. A reporter could even review a book on tape, just to make it easier for those writer/reviewer types who simply can’t find the time to sit down and read a novel without a bare-chested Greek on the cover or brightly-colored illustrations affixed to the pages within.

Well, what the readers got on Feb. 9 is an article extolling the virtues of a 740-page sex manual that seemed to be written by someone who scanned through the massive tome looking for diagrams. Aside from the graphic sex-talk, I encountered language that even our beloved president’s most ardent speechwriters wouldn’t touch, including the utterly incomprehensible description, “With an assuage-like connotation…”

So, the question remains, why is schlock like this printed? Is there absolutely nothing else to print? Or perhaps the obvious defects in these reviews are overlooked if the topics are sufficiently racy enough to draw in readers. At any rate, if all that matters to the paper is drawing in a reading public, then I recommend a new front page story every week, perhaps something along the lines of a full-page ad for D