An Insult to Teens
In the Sept. 5 Loudoun Extra, a story was run about Dulles Town Center, the new shopping mall located just outside of Cascades. I was extremely pleased to see an article about the mall and the new businesses located there, but my pleasure turned to dismay when I started reading the article. It seemed to me that the writer lost perspective on what the article was about and mocked the teens she interviewed, emphasizing their speech and mannerisms to the point that it was difficult to take them seriously. Teenagers are a large part of society, and the neglect to treat them with respect may have a larger effect than you think, since the Loudoun Extra is largely distributed and Loudoun County has a fine school system that has managed to teach their teenage students how to read.
First, I want to address the headline of the article ("It's, Like, a Hot New Teen Hangout"). Any piece of business reporting deserves a dignified title, especially if it is supposed to be informative. I believe that the article's purpose was to tell how the Dulles Town Center has drawn the teenage market, not to mock how teenagers speak.
I would also like to address the quotes that were used in the article. Yes, many teens misuse the adjective "like," but was that really the only material from those interviews worthy of being printed? The quotes were rather repetitive, and I found it odd that such a high percentage of them contained that word misused.
Mocking teenage speech was not, I am guessing, the goal of this article. And yet it had the same derisive tone of the well-known song in "My Fair Lady"--"Why Can't the English Learn How to Speak?" The article also seemed to mock teenage ideals and mannerisms. You would not ridicule adults for their ideals or mannerisms whether you believed or practiced them or not. It is considered politically incorrect. Then why do you feel you can do just that to teens?
Yes, of course, many teenagers are not very mature, but many adults are not either. Likewise, there are some teens who are extremely mature and intelligent but get treated like any other person their age, regardless of intellect or maturity.
Perhaps this letter will serve as a reminder that the Loudoun Extra has many teenage readers, and it does not do to insult your audience, no matter how old they are.
Unfilled Road Promises
It was more than dismay that I felt last week when I learned of the traffic accident involving an ambulance crossing Route 7 to get into the hospital ["Pickup Hits Ambulance, Injuring 4," Sept. 2]. It was really anguish for these wonderful volunteers. Does anyone remember that the Lansdowne developer promised to build a flyover at that intersection? The hospital, in its presentation at Richmond to get the approval of the state for its misadventure, stated that the flyover would be built. I'm sure everyone present thought it would be in this century.
The county should give no new approvals to the Lansdowne developer until their promises are kept.
Along these lines, did not the Town of Leesburg promise to build an overpass for Sycolin Road over the bypass? Where is it? The situation at that intersection is a mess and will get worse with the opening of a new high school nearby.
Let's hold the politicians' feet to the fire and make them use their power for the community good. Both their local constituents as well as commuters will thank them.
JAMES T. BURKE