Last week I had an e-mail exchange with a gentleman reader on the subject of the Bradley News Weekly's editorial and subsequent staff writer J. Michael Leonard's attack on JC Bowman and his 14 year old daughter Jennifer. He supported the Weekly because he said anyone writing for a mature newspaper like The People News is fair game for personal attack even an eighth grader. He said the rule was, "if you can't stand the heat then get out of the kitchen" and that because she has chosen to write she looses the protection normally granted a child.
For someone who still believes in old fashioned chivalry, it was surprising to find there are people out there who don't share what I had previously thought was a universally held belief of protecting and nurturing children no matter what. Because of this earth moving revelation, I found it time to reevaluate years of stuffy moral upbringing for what is sometimes called the enlightened modern approach.
The gentleman, who I believe was sincere in his reasoning suggested that if you insult someone in print, then you can expect to be insulted back, even if you are a child... which on the face of it sounds sensible. Despite the fact that I don't recall Jennifer Bowman ever insulting or even being disrespectful in her column to anyone from our community, there may be logic to what is being suggested. Because freedom of speech in the press is expressly protected under the First Amendment of the US Constitution, Mr. Leonard seems to feel at liberty to say whatever he likes without consequence. I also support freedom of speech so I am enthusiast to give "J" and the Weekly's approach a try. I still refuse to degrade and abuse a child - sorry I can't bring myself to do it - but I am willing to conduct a little experiment to gauge if enlightened degradation is the way to go.
No better place to learn than from the master himself - J Michael Leonard - who, while insulting Jennifer twice, or was it three times, recommended her dad not get so upset and said he "needed to chill dude" in his Weekly column. So, if Mr. Leonard is so obviously an advocate of the "if you can't stand the heat then get out the kitchen" approach to his writing and has an uncanny ability to be cool with personal insults, I thought it may be appropriate to let the master himself demonstrate the self control needed to become my guinea pig.
My lily white mind is unable to conjure enough heinous insults to put Mr. Leonard's enlightened writing to an honest test so I will require the help of our readers. I need the dirt on this self professed freedom of speech advocate and I know that some of you guys are itching to spill the beans. The idea is to test Leonard's ability to withstand insults before he flies into an uncontrollable rage.
The Weekly doesn't authenticate the dirt it prints so for this experiment The People News will suspend this usually strict requirement and allow respondents to remain totally anonymous in the name of science. Also, because the Weekly has little regard for the truth, I encourage our readers to let their imagination run riot... remember we want to find out if Leonard is a hypocrite or practices what he advocates.
No part of is life is off limits, you can say whatever you like about him... his sexual exploits in the school showers, his life long battle with bed-wetting, his liking for micro-waving furry animals, in fact any little recollections you have. If you have never met him, he won't mind if you make something up (in the name of freedom of speech of course.) In fact, for the experiment to be a real success it is imperative you do your best to put this guy through the wringer... as a serious journalist he would want it that way.
Please, because your anecdotes may be viewed by minors, refrain from mentioning bestiality or using profanity and unless they choose to become part of the experiment we should not involve his friends and relatives un-necessarily. We will call this special feature "The J. Michael Leonard Experiment," a kind of Bradley County reality show in print. The People News will run it for as long as you have stories to tell or the U S Supreme Court orders us to stop. Also if you have a compromising picture of him please send a copy to The People News at the address or e-mail on page 2. Remember, this represents a wonderful opportunity to become part of an important social experiment and to scientifically elevate a truly unusual man to the heights he deserves.