One of the notable characteristics of this magazine is that it manages to inspire an equal amount of criticism from all parts of the political spectrum (this will come as a surprise, of course, to all parts of the political spectrum). Since our subject matter is a state, and not a lifestyle or an ideology, our readers are all over the map politically, sharing only the common denominator of an address or a hankering for the place they used to call home. Texas-loving conservatives tend to think we’re too liberal, while Texas-loving liberals tend to think we’re too conservative. Either way, we never end up preaching to the choir, and our in-boxes are never empty of “you suck” e-mails from one segment of our readership or another, lambasting us for leaning too far left or right. Sometimes we’re accused of doing both at the same time.
This month should be no different. I can already hear, like the distant hoofbeats of an approaching cavalry, the letters we’ll get regarding our cover story about rocker-cum-right-wing-squawker Ted Nugent. A passel or two will likely find fault with the Nuge’s brand of defiant, gun-toting, dog-eat-dog conservatism. Another will probably take issue with his violent and obscenity-laced language (which cannot, in good conscience, be scrubbed from a story that aims to take accurate measure of the man—sorry). Animal rights supporters will find much to object to in the Tedator’s ferocious advocacy of hunting, and there may even be some hunters who wish to dissent from his ferocity. Then there will be that portion of the mail that simply bashes his guitar playing.
But in the hurly-burly pace of modern life, sometimes you just don’t have time to harangue an editor. You read a story in a magazine and feel compelled to lodge a complaint with the dimwits who produced it, but before you can get a letter off, your attention is drawn to more-pressing matters, and after a few days your hackles are down and the whole thing has slipped away and joined the list of Things You Were Going to Do. For us, nothing is more tragic than the idea of an unwritten letter to the editor. We want to know how you feel. Reader mail, especially of the irate variety, is extremely important to us, and I would hate to think of anyone not responding to this month’s cover story simply because he was too busy to write.
Therefore, I have created a template so that readers who are worked up about our decision to put the Nuge on the cover with a submachine gun can more easily express their feelings (the template also accommodates the pro-Ted readers who wish to celebrate our choice). All