Letter from the editor

Since its founding almost 27 years ago, the New Hampshire Business Review has gone out of its way to publish a diverse range of opinions on a similarly varied number of subjects, from articles on the economy and government to pieces on business trends, social issues, even sports.

The opinions run the entire political spectrum. Sometimes they’re outrageous, but they are almost always thoughtful. Occasionally an article will provoke one of our readers, or a group of them, to reply through a phone call, an e-mail, a letter or an entire article. It’s something we encourage our readers to do, because that’s the point of publishing a wide range of opinions. We want our pages to be a place for readers and contributors to share their opinions and perspectives, whether we agree with them or not.

But nothing we have published in the Business Review’s history has ever sparked the kind of response we received to an article that appeared in our April 29-May 12 issue. Titled “The Hooterization of Manchester,” the article appeared on our “The Last Word” page and was written by Jack Kenny. While Kenny is a staff writer at the Business Review, the article — as are other of his pieces that have appeared on “The Last Word” page — was entirely his opinion, one that, apparently, a lot of people take issue with.

A number of people were offended by Jack’s opinion, which ostensibly was a criticism of a recent Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce event, but also tried to tie in his view about how society views the state of public dress today.

As can be seen on this issue’s “The Last Word” page (page 47), a lot of people were outraged enough by Kenny’s opinion to take pen to paper – or, at least, the 21st century version of that act – and let us know about their feelings. We are publishing a sample of the responses we received. (We received more than two dozen responses, many of them from members of the Manchester Wolves Dance Team, some of whom performed at the chamber event.)

But it wasn’t only Kenny’s words that offended some readers. The accompanying illustration did as well. Critics have rightly pointed out that the illustration had nothing to do with the reality of how the Wolves dancers were dressed or performed. In other words, the illustration shouldn’t have been used with Kenny’s article. They are correct.

The headline similarly offended some readers, particularly people associated with the chamber, of which the Business Review is an active and proud member. By wrongly singling out Manchester, it failed to focus on Kenny’s larger comment about the state of American society. The headline certainly should have reflected Kenny’s larger point.

Kenny had nothing to do with the illustration or the headline – those were both selected by the editor. Unfortunately, we think they both led some to think that Kenny’s article was similarly inappropriate. While we don’t necessarily share Kenny’s view and perceptions of the chamber event, or of the way people dress in today’s society, we do stand by his right to express his opinion — no matter how much and how vigorously some people may disagree with it. We also stand by the right of the many people who were angered by Kenny’s article to respond to it.

Categories: News