I am sorry I ever called the last meeting. Expecting to engage the Mercury's editor and publisher in an earnest discussion of ways I might change this paper for the better, I was instead forced to endure a half-hour of unfounded criticism and misguided ultimatums. It was made abundantly clear that no one was interested in my insights and concerns. I was informed, in no uncertain terms, that I was not to call further meetings. I was bluntly accused of using my column as a front for "personal attacks" and the "thinly veiled contempt" I held for my "colleagues." I was treated very shabbily, with a severity and disrespect grossly ill-befitting someone of my standing. This sham of a "meeting," this appalling display of mismanagement, closed with the crass (and possibly illegal) suggestion that if, at any point in the future, I felt compelled to express any more such "negativity," I should immediately begin searching for a more accomodating place of employment.

Let me just say a few things here.

Perhaps I have recently voiced certain sentiments that, while completely, utterly true, have bruised the tiny, fevered egos in and around this office. But do others care how painful it might be for me to suppress these opinions? Granted, I am a simple Art Director, and as such not intimately familiar with the lofty, ineffable workings of the Editorial mind. Perhaps since I am not one of their ranks, I am not supremely qualified to cast judgement. But for Christ's sake, one need not be a veteran pilot to observe that someone has just plowed a jumbo jet into a hillside! For better or worse, I am not blind! I have been taught to read! My God! Am I mistaken and alone in my conviction that the written word should illuminate, not obscure?! Can we not agree on the fundamental idea that WORDS MEAN THINGS?!!

Why must this burden of "thoughtfulness" always fall upon my shoulders? Has anyone considered that I might be offended when the Mercury reads like a high school newspaper run by Tourette's-stricken ESL students? I cannot recall ever being invited to scrawl, "THIS MAKES NO SENSE! TRY AGAIN!" in tall red letters atop a film review before sending it back for a complete revision! This "consideration" they propose strikes me as a remarkably peculiar and one-sided affair.

How sad it is that a simple attempt to speak my convictions is so unwelcome, so threatening. It is a shame, my friends, but not a surprise. And though I will soon be forced to publicly embrace those whom I loathe in an obscene parody of office camaraderie, though I am trapped among idiots bereft of the brains that God so magnanimously lavished on the common spaniel, I can at least assure you that I, and this column, shall persevere.