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Letter to the Editor: Bongratz’s words are self-serving

On November 14, 2012

This past week in the paper there was a columnist who wrote an article. This writer has written several times for the paper this semester and she should never be allowed to do so again. The articles written by Paulette Bongratz have been laced with undertones of sanctimony, whiny self-indulgence and narcissism all aimed at furthering some ivory-tower agenda.

Her only purpose in writing seems to be isolating herself from the rest of the community by condescendingly putting us down for not enjoying what she enjoys and for not feeling the way she feels. Her prose is filled with irrational self-interest along with intense and undue judgment of her peers. She’s promulgating an agenda of intolerance and elitism while miring herself and those who read her id-driven words in misinformation and assumptions. She extrapolates generalities from episodic observations and tries to manipulate them into fact.

In one article she criticized the University of Toledo population for not attending the opera while likewise criticizing the people who were there because they didn’t dress up to her level of expectations. Maybe most of us in college can’t afford to buy a classy enough suit or a sumptuous enough gown to attend the opera; why attend at all if we’re going to be insulted unless we dance to her tune?

By the way, what show did she see; she never actually mentions the name of the show, instead focusing on how the older patrons fawned over how pretty she looked. If you’re going to plug the opera, at least plug the opera.

In her most recent article she criticizes the UT body for not being as prideful as OSU’s. She even goes so far as to say that if she were a professor, she would give students the day off for going to the games.

First off, this isn’t OSU; we don’t have 100 years of athletic excellence behind us to give us that sense of school pride. Most people at UT are here because it offers an affordable education. Secondly, universities are academic institutions; they are not sports clubs! That a student should be excused from class for athletic attendance is both absurd and insulting. I don’t pay tuition to be a sports fan; I can do that for free from my home or for slightly more at a sports bar. I’m here to get an education and to learn and develop myself intellectually and socially.

She has effectively distanced herself from the majority of the student body and faculty, placing herself in a class above the rest. It’s a shame that someone with seemingly such potential would waste it on useless endeavors such as personal glory and vanity. After several weeks of her articles, I’m left wondering why she is still on the IC staff.

I’ve been a student here for several years and I enjoy reading the IC, especially this year with the new format; I think it’s great. However, I find Bongratz’ columns to be an affront to everything the IC stands for — collegiality, cooperation, discourse and friendly advice.

I think it would be prudent to reconsider either her position within the paper or perhaps a strong edit of her material. Just because she wrote a column once doesn’t mean she needs to write a column again, especially when it affects the quality of the paper and insults the audience.

With all of that said, I should mention that I have never personally met Ms. Bongratz nor do I have any ill will towards her. I’m sure that she’s a fine person in many ways and my letter is in no way an attack on her as a person. My letter is based off of the opinions and tonality of her columns and only of her columns.

—Bradley Sommer, UT Senior

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