Advertisement

Letter to the editor: Brock About Town’s half apology and other thoughts


Tree of Five Seasons sculpture, Cedar Rapids — Zak Neumann/Little Village

By Chad Cooper, Cedar Rapids

No one designated me the patron saint of defending Cedar Rapids, but I have spent enough time and editorial space critiquing my hometown over the years, so I’ll change pace. Some folks run for city council. I write letters.

I feel compelled (once again) to respond to Audrey Brock’s recent half-hearted apology in LV 294 for a previously published column in LV 293, “Brock About Town: Being an adult in Cedar Rapids is weird.”

I say half-hearted apology because the “I’m sorry” column sounded less apologetic and more apoplectic in tone. In that spirit, I figured I would directly respond to specific excerpts:

“I feel it’s important to clarify that this is a humor column, and its contents should certainly not be taken as genuine.”

A disingenuous column — just what the world needs.

“In other columns published this year, I have repeatedly made light of alcoholism and openly called for teenagers to drown themselves in order to avoid spreading COVID. Those were, y’know, jokes, and I’m sure some people found them to be in poor taste, but I find it interesting that people are much more offended by the (admittedly not original) observation that a lot of high school friends have the same dye job they did when we were 16.”

There’s more than a tad share of condescension there in walking the offended through how we shouldn’t be mad; we should just be ashamed that we missed the satire and got offended in the first place. I think David Foster Wallace once wrote about the trappings of this approach:

“Anyone with the heretical gall to ask an ironist what he actually stands for ends up looking like an hysteric or a prig. And herein lies the oppressiveness of institutionalized irony, the too-successful rebel: the ability to interdict the question without attending to its subject is, when exercised, tyranny. It is the new junta, using the very tool that exposed its enemy to insulate itself.”

Now, I’m aware citing DFW will likely land me in another stereotypical lump, but I’ll take the risk. And while this attempt at satire wasn’t too far right on the tyrannical spectrum, one has to ask: if everything you say or write has to include a wink, where is the substance? Also, if we’re all being transparent and honest here, the swipes at CR weren’t just satirical folly; there was sincere animus veiled in all those witty (and not-so-witty) jabs, doubling down on the longstanding perception of CR as being hopelessly and inevitably behind Iowa City in all things cultural and sartorial.

“Anyway, that little crack I made about Mexican food had the happy side effect of getting me a whole bunch of restaurant recommendations, which I am only too happy to take.”

Yes! Sincerely, enjoy the fine establishments we have in CR and part with some disposable income as your mea culpa. I’ve been told absolution can be found at the bottom of a margarita glass.

Of course, I could be completely wrong about all of this and drumming up undue outrage; we Cedar Rapidians are known for our persecution complex.

SIGN UP TODAY

Subscribe for daily news updates from Little Village

SUBSCRIBE


Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV » editor@littlevillagemag.com

Advertisement

stanleymuseum.uiowa.edu/events

Advertisement

Summer Programs 2020

Get 150+ local restaurants delivered to your door in the Iowa City & Cedar Rapids areas!

Don’t let other people’s opinions win.

Vote for your favorite people, places and events in the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids area! In a time when local businesses need our support more than ever, your vote will send a little love to the places that make our community special. And don’t forget to tell us why—the best comments will be published in our December Best of the CRANDIC 2021 issue! Voting ends September 30.

Read the Best of the CRANDIC issue, on stands now

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.

Regular

$10/mo or $120/year
(AUTO-RENEW)
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.

Italic

$20/mo or $240/year
(AUTO-RENEW)
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.

Bold

$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW)
LittleVillageMag.com connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.