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Notes to the Shredder 

Actually, they're mostly pretty positive. Huh.

A word from the executive editor: New Times has a policy of running letters that fit each of three criteria: They’re sent to the editor (hence: letter to the editor), they have a full name attached, and they have a city of residence included. The Shredder, our cantankerous phantasm that tosses out 800 or so words each week on whatever needs to be shoved up under the community’s nose—like a person sniffing some leftovers from the back of the fridge, then holding them out and saying, “Ugh, smell this!”—generates a lot of response, almost none of which conforms to those three standards.

But here, at the bright dawn of a new year, I decided to let some of those thoughts from the previous year see the light. Presented, for your edification, is a selection of some of the  shorter, less-incriminating missives sent to everyone’s favorite least-favorite columnist to love to hate in 2014. Names (when they were included, anyway) have been withheld to protect, well, everyone.


—Ryan Miller, executive editor

 “Congratulations, Shredder. Thank you for again standing up for what’s right and banging your drum. The world needs more folks like you. Unfortunately, I am not one of them, and so you will have to do it for me. Otherwise, I might lose my job and (again) embarrass my family and friends.”—Dec. 4

“Thank you for ‘Notes of Hick’ this week—very good! Thank you for all your thoughts on caring about animals.”—Dec. 1

“Special thanks to Shredder for taking to task the SOB who lit the steer on fire. A more apt use of the term ‘shitbag’ I’ve never heard.”—Nov. 28

“Bad ass piece! Thank you!”—Nov. 21

“Dear, Mere Shredder, Great column today, had me in stitches all over again—just more so! Love your wit, amply nuanced sentences, keen-eyed observation, and astute commentary interspersed with random public floggings of the unwary ... as you should, as you must! Good job! Have a great hollow wiener, mustard up that courage to bite the bun, unafraid whatever may follow down yonder. Life without your columns of rancid humor just wouldn’t be worth living—you’re simply the best!”—Oct. 30

“I just wanted to let you know how much my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed your piece. We are practically rolling on the floor. Bravo! Keep up the great work!”—Oct. 20

“Once again, you’ve hit it out of the ball park, to use the baseball cliché, with your ‘Going to extremes’ column in the Oct 16 issue of New Times. Thanks, Shredder, for saying what I wish I could say, what needs to be said, and doing it with wit and humor. You rock, Shredder.”—Oct. 18“Chinatown: Good job … .”—Oct. 6

“Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms., he/she, (wink-wink): Just read your piece in the latest issue and couldn’t help but notice that all this militarism has been happening just months after most federal agencies purchased massive quantities of ammunition—even those who really have no use for it. Seems to fit ... hm-m-m-m ... .” —Sept. 13

“I see that you are joining the ‘appalled, offended, and outraged’ camp in Caren Ray’s corner over the Hobo Party. Quick, get the smelling salts before Kathie Matsuyama or you get a case of the vapors or faints dead away! Haven’t either of you ever dressed up as kids at Halloween as hobos? Or your kids? Lighten up. Talk about a tempest in teapot. Is this the best you can do? How about some outrage over getting rid of Proposition 13 to feed the tax hungry beast that is Sacramento? Now that’s appalling.”—Sept. 8

“Thanks. I’m reminded of that old William Powell film My Man Godfrey, where the socialite (Carole Lombard) takes part in a scavenger hunt and brings home a homeless man as a prize. What’s next in the insensitive contest? A bum roundup?”—Sept. 4

“Ah, that Teufel … : Well, an ‘el diablo’ by any other name remains an ‘el diablo’ still. … It’s a good thing we all learned ‘Scientific German’ in high school, right? My compliments to the Shredder … .”—Aug. 28

“Are you hearing any horror stories of people like me trying to get going with the damn Charter new and older digital boxes, the hassle and delays and faulty reused boxes?”—Aug. 26

“Thank you for supporting the DeGroot Home for sick children. Your message of ‘just leave them alone and let them help the children and do their job’ seemed so simple to me, but nothing is simple when government money is involved/used! We want our taxes to be used wisely, but this doesn’t make sense.”—Aug. 21

“Thank you! I don’t know who you are ... but thank you. I appreciate it.”—Aug. 6

“I try never to miss your weekly article, but have never contacted you before. The only radio programs I listen to play classical music. However, I am very disturbed about KCPR’s current situation and would like to know if they are A.M. or F.M. and where they are located on the dial. I intend to play them 24/7 as a protest against censorship of the media. Thank you for your help and keep on writing!”—Aug. 1

“Your use of ad hominem attacks are not one of the foundations of forming a logical argument, and detract from any sound logical argument you may be attempting to make. This is just my opinion here ... you being a New Times weekly editorial author and all, your standards should be higher than the average commenter on a message board. It is unseemly and unprofessional at best, and frightened and churlish at worst, when the New Times allows an editorial author to use the power of the New Times to attack three local political activists. Yours for better sparring through logical arguments.”—July 25

“Totally disagree with this. Why don’t you go back to New Times’ roots and investigate the government like you used to. I suspected this with your articles over the last five years. I was born in this county and am now 40. Used to read your magazine religiously when I was going to Poly. You are now in bed with the politicians, and Mr. Moss’ mission is lost. Time to resign, Mr. Editor, you have steered this ship into the abyss. Guess it’s time to read Cal Coast news tabloid. They don’t get everything right, but at least they haven’t sold out.”—July 24

“You know you pissed off the big dog. The mentally ill pet hoarder will enlist all his animal friends to take you out. Fear not.”—July 24

“Joining Shredder. It’s that simple.”—July 22

“Your column was pitch black this week?! I know it’s not like you to redact your whole column, so? I’m going to look to the online edition to see if there’s anything there. My boyfriend (yes, I said boyfriend) suggested it means you don’t have an opinion on this week’s news. I suggested it meant someone at the printers is on either Covello’s or Dow’s side, depending on whose side you took.”—June 3

“This week’s column, ‘Seriously,’ is one of the best I’ve ever seen. You really nailed it … .”—May 16

“You’re rude: You may be exhausted—why not go on a 10-year vacation to recover? But you’re also very rude and stupid. Why do you think it’s OK to make fun of common people who say stuff in public? Are you that superior and above it all?”—May 8

“Well put. My favorite Shredder column yet.”—May 4

“I wanted to write to tell you how much I enjoy your column. I usually start laughing by the second sentence, then find myself in uncontrollable fits (of laughter) by the end of the second paragraph all the way to the end. Your column is one of the first things I go to when I open my New Times. Just thought you’d want to know that there are people out there who appreciate your humor. I’m sure you get lots of hate mail on the other end. I might not always agree with your point of view, but love your style.”—April 15

“I loved your commentary this week and analogy. It was hysterical but true!”—March 27

“Thanks for hanging the underwear again! The run away sports culture is a great topic. Cheers and keep shredding!”—March 13

“Keep it up. You are on the right track. And don’t be too hasty in raising the white flag on the Greek culture or the athletic culture. I see it every weekend in my neighborhood. You have the picture right. Keep at it.”—March 6

“Poo poo on your woot woot: I couldn’t agree with you more! Why spend all that money on making a few blocks look pretty when you walk by empty stores! We need to encourage and help local small businesses to flourish in our beautiful city of San Luis Obispo—instead we have buildings that are empty, homeless problems, and way, way too many bars! I have nothing against a good bar, but come on. We need to do the same thing with letting too many chains in the downtown core as they did for the entire city and drive-thru restaurants: JUST SAY NO! Time for new elected officials all around. Who’s with me?”—Jan. 31


Send the executive editor your thoughts on the Shredder—or anything. Email

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