Mad as you wanna be 

Memorable–and mostly angry–quotes from your Letters to the Editor

Everyone’s a critic

“It’s one thing when a theatrical director is harshly criticized by someone with the credentials to offer an objective and thoughtful review. It’s another when that person appears to be so bereft of any knowledge of dramatic literature as to make meaningful insight impossible.”

Printed: June 13, 1991

Letter v. letter

“While Glen Hirschberg’s review of Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever (‘Spike Gets Sloppy,’ whenever the hell it ran) wreaked of compartmentalized snobbery, Chip Stearn’s pedantic letter in response left the whole matter utterly whitewashed.”

Printed: August 8, 1991

click to enlarge Missoula Independent news

Wait for the response

“Please don’t let the Independent degenerate into the type of irrational whining feminist politically correct publication that papers of its ilk have proclivities for.”

Printed: April 16, 1993, with a response from reporter Andrea Barnett: “Geek. Nerd. Fool. Jerk…”

Against type

“Your type-casting of the homeless as Vietnam vets in ‘Street Talk’ reveals both misinformation and thoughtless insensitivity. But that’s okay, Eric! You and I have hung around each other long enough now that you surely know I’m a drug-crazed, gun-totin’, baby-killin’ ready-to-explode-any-second, combat-hardened Vietnam vet.”

Printed: July 9, 1993

Big “but”

“I would like to pass along sincere kudos for the coverage last week of computer technology and art and society … but—and this is a John Candy-meets-Roseanne Barr sized but—your coverage of the natural world threatens to undermine your credibility.”

Printed: August 27, 1993

We’ve slurred worse

“I read in your column a few weeks ago that, ‘Even the most Neanderthal will use these [recycling containers] if they are available.’ This is a politically incorrect slur on the Neanderthal gene that some of us still wear.”

Printed: November 26, 1993

Small example

“We discussed it as a prime example of how irresponsible journalism perpetuates serious social problems.”

Printed: October 13, 1994, referring to an offensive calendar entry that totaled 14 words

Smack talk

“I’m happy to see the Independent correctly reporting that this summer’s softball game (appropriately, the final game of the season) between the Missoulian Mauve Sox and Missoula Independent Muckrakers will be a rout.”

Printed: May 13, 1994, from Mike McInally, Mauve Sox manager and then-associate editor at the Missoulian.

Trick question

“Just how thick was the PR packet sent to you by those racists in Superior?”

Printed: August 1, 1996

Super heroes

“The Lesbian Avengers is a direct action group focused on issues vital to lesbian survival and visibility. We are not an anonymous organization. We do not have a dress code. We do recruit. Our actions are bold and informative, and our goals are serious, yet the article makes reference to our apparel more than once and represents us as some guy’s fantasy-girl cartoon character. Get a clue! And some facts, Zach.”

Printed: September 19, 1996

Inside baseball

“I don’t particularly mind being the target of a cheap shot, I just want the cheap shot to have a nodding acquaintance with the truth, and this one did not.”

Printed: November 21, 1996, from Missoulian associate editor Mike McInally

Smoked out

“If you are going to print big, sexy ads that encourage kids to smoke cigarettes, Missoula would be better off without you. The Independent isn’t that special.”

Printed: March 20, 1997

Vegetarian, perhaps

“Let me be the first (maybe) to express my personal outrage at the new comic strip, ‘Red Meat,’ after reading the second installment of it. It caused me to peruse your staff listings to see how many women are working for your publication.”

Printed: June 12, 1997


“I’ve often heard your newspaper called the Addependent. It’s no wonder when you have the audacity to print such obnoxious plugs as ‘Best Hot Springs - Developed’ and ‘Best Hot Springs – Primitive.’…In the future, save paper and your face and leave this DOO-DOO out.”

Printed: April 16, 1998

We collect stickers

“Where are my ‘This is offensive to women’ stickers when I need them? Your regrettably image-based comments warrant one.”

Printed: April 1, 1999

Thus begins the Smetanka letters

“See, and all this time I’ve been mistaking Andy Smetanka for a suburban white kid. As he laps up garlic miso soup at the Hob Nob, his soulier-than-thou attitude seems to fit him like Doc Martens on an anarchist.”

Printed: February 24, 2000

And the holes

“Mr. Picard: I would like to know what hole you crawled out of or what closet they found you in.”

Printed: March 9, 2000

click to enlarge Missoula Independent news

Important correction

“The real formula for a porn name is your fist pet’s name, plus the name of the first street you lived on. Please run a correction so that the aspiring porn stars of tomorrow do not pick the wrong names.”

Printed: March 16, 2000

The Zen of Indy

"I wonder if you could tell me how to use the newspaper in order to improve one's ability of writing, reading and speaking? For example, shall we just read it from the beginning to the end and check the vocabulary, shall we read it out loud or just read it in the heart? Shall we jot down some good sentences that appeared in the newspaper in our notebook whenever possible, will our brain lose the memory of news after several minutes? (If 'yes,' what should I do about it?)"

Printed: June 8, 2000

Dude ...

“It’s good to know there’s an alternative paper to pick up so I know where to go, and can find out who’s hot, who’s not, and who’s got a lot! By the way, it’s too bad about that police riot you guys had.”

Printed: September 7, 2000

“Pit”- iful

“After agonizingly sitting through one movie, then walking out of another (a first for me) that Smetanka both reviewed with four stars, I already concluded that he is without reasonable judgment or intelligence. Now he has proven to be the lowest form of infotainment sleazemeister, the tabloid journalist. He deserves worse than to be thrown into a pit full of hobo spiders.”

Printed: October 12, 2000

Never say never

“Once again the Independent has squandered a golden opportunity to rise from the social ragsheet that it is to the credible news source that it will probably never be.”

Printed: November 9, 2000

All jazzed up

“Andy Smetanka’s command of the English language is certainly impressive but exponentially more boring than he would have us believe the ‘Jazz’ series to be.”

Printed: January 25, 2001

click to enlarge Missoula Independent news

There’s a story here

“I tried to find the original Debbie Does the Independent video but as I recall, Andy Smetanka took our copy to Finland one year and he hasn’t been quite the same since.”

Printed: March 22, 2001

Baring it all

“I can count on the Indy to bring me a vision of naked, flabby hippies at least every third or fourth issue.”

Printed: August 2, 2001

For God’s sake

“Given the ideological bent of your newspaper, I (unfortunately) do not expect to see traditional, biblical values promoted, but I would ask you to consider treating God and Christian readers with respect instead of blatant blasphemy and irreverence.”

Printed: September 6, 2001

How do you mean “hellacious”?

“Nick Davis has pushed the Independent to a new pinnacle of self-lefteousness [sic] with his well-written but flawed ‘Stoking the Flames’—although I will nonpartisanly admit that Chad Harder takes hellacious photos.”

Printed: November 15, 2001

Kind of a big deal

You may not know it, but George Ochenski’s recent column has been circulating around the world on the Internet. I live in New Zealand and it arrived in my mail via a mail list I am on. The Independent now has some degree of global visibility—in New Zealand, anyway.

Printed: October 3, 2002

How gigantic?

“We have never seen him wearing eight pounds of make-up. Do you realize how gigantic his face would be if he really did wear ‘eight pounds of make-up’?”

Printed: October 24, 2002

Sounds like a date

“I used to date this guy who was so freakin’ jealous of Andy Smetanka, all he could do is talk about how much he hated his style. Ha!”

Printed: February 27, 2003

Cage talk

“It sounds to me as though you have a great natural resource in George Ochenski. If you don’t mind, we’d like to borrow him and put him to work rattling some cages in Oregon for a while.”

Printed: June 5, 2003

Whole lotta love

“I love the Indy and I love the Lord. Keep up your credibility by hiring reviewers who can comprehend that. God is in the house. Jesus has not left the building.”

Printed: March 24, 2005

Beer wars

“What, no beers from Helena’s two fine breweries? I guess you didn’t want us kicking ass on some of your yuppie or hippie brews. I mean, who drinks bong water (intentionally) or a ‘mandarin orange’ beer?”

Printed: August 25, 2005

He still loiters around

“Who is Skylar Browning and what hole did she just climb out of?”

Printed: June 22, 2006


“As a Montana resident, I am ashamed of you, and dare you to print this—though I might not notice since I use your paper to paper-train my dog.”

Printed: June 22, 2006

Gnome home

“Did you take them? Do you know some teenagers or childish college students who suddenly have an overabundance of yard statues? Please return these gnomes to their rightful place and no questions will be asked.”

Printed: July 28, 2007

Sincere Appreciation

“Again, I would like to thank John for his letter and for his unrelenting desire to keep me and the rest of the Missoula community free from shock articles about insane hookers.”

Printed: August 10, 2006

Now here’s an idea

“Instead of articles about prostitutes, the Children’s Independent will contain groundbreaking reporting on things more pertinent to our community, like bugs, skateboards and the latest in Crayola colors. We’ll replace the liberal-biased cartoons with cool games and puzzles. In addition--this is just an idea--we could put a colorful picture on the front cover, maybe of a barnyard.”

Printed: August 10, 2006

click to enlarge Missoula Independent news

We see what you did there

“Missoulians gasp at the prospect of some tacky corporate franchise setting up in the ultra-bohemian cultural center of (drum roll) Reserve Street. Seriously people, it’s not like they’re putting Starbucks on Higgins. Oh wait ...”

Printed: February 4, 2008

Pure filth

“I could not believe what you wrote in ‘Fresh Facts’ concerning yard sales. I have been to thousands of yard sales since the 1950s and have never seen dirty baby clothes. What an insult to mothers!”

Printed: September 23, 2009

Kill shot

“The ‘Got your elk yet?’ column in the Oct. 8 Indy has got to be the worst article I have read yet. It had the sound of a desperate attempt to get a high school paper in on time.”

Printed: November 4, 2009

Missoula Independent news

You betcha

“I will focus on just one of the insulting statements used against the former governor: ‘Sarah Palin is more of an entertainer than a politician.’ Correction: Sarah Palin is not a politician. She is a statesman, and a damn good one.”

Printed: September 22, 2010

Small problem

“Your paper always covers subjects in good detail, as well as making it interesting to read. The only problem I have is that, as I age, your print is difficult to read, because of its small size. Any chance your articles could be printed in a larger font?”

Printed: November 17, 2010

How do you really feel?

“Your paper is pathetic. You print silly, meaningless letters and you can’t handle those with the hard truth. I’m sure you get your news elsewhere.”

Printed: February 10, 2011


“Having seen the Cigarette Girls Burlesque troop many times and been a supporter for as long as they’ve been in existence, I was deeply disappointed in the manner in which they were portrayed. The first mistake was the unflattering picture of Miss Birdie La Rouge.”

Printed: December 22, 2011

Fairy Land

“If Garth Brooks is a gateway to great country music, then McDonald’s is a gateway to weight loss and Sunset Boulevard is a gateway to the Bob Marshall Wilderness. If anything, the front door of whoever wrote this Spotlight is a gateway to Fairy Land.”

Printed: December 22, 2011

Got milk?

“Ari LeVaux’s column appears simultaneously schizophrenic and intentionally provocative—but his apparent ignorance of any milk other than animal-derived calls for a response. Why should humans steal animals’ milk and lives when delicious, nutritious, plant-based options exist—coconut, rice, soy, and almond?”

Printed: January 5, 2012

Go Jizzlies

“Forget panty raids, bonfires and keggers like the good old days. Bring on the pistol-whipping, home invasion, jaw-fracturing and sex, sex, sex. The latter, of course, only under the conditions of forced, non-consensual and drugged. Which makes one realize that UM is looking in the wrong direction. They don’t need a new athletic director or football coach, they need a producer to promote the latest reality TV hit, ‘Jizz Nation’!”

Printed: April 19, 2012

Bureau of tourism

“Why not run a story about all the rapists in Missoula? You could do a billboard on the cover welcoming them to Missoula, just like you did for the Flathead Valley.”

Printed: May 17, 2012

Never change, dear readers

“Now that the population of Montana has exceeded the 1 million mark, how many can I, as a native Montanan with a sense of equal ‘justice,’ trap, haze, herd, harass, poison, shoot or execute to bring the number back down to our time-honored ‘under a million’ population?”

Printed: June 14, 2012

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