After reading the article below, I decided to write to Richard Beks, Publisher of The Hamilton Spectator...
Dear Richard Beks,
I just read your opinion piece and to say that I’m disgusted is an understatement. Seldom do I read something that makes me feel physically ill; something so repugnant that makes my skin crawl and blood boil. I honestly can’t believe you published this atrocity.
Of course, I’m talking about the unsuitable use of the word 'merely'.
“The former Hamilton teacher who in 2008 got 18 months gaol for merely touching an U16 girl’s breast and genitals in a private home in Brisbane some years earlier is a case in point.”
The Cambridge Dictionary defines merely as an adverb, meaning: not large/important; used to emphasise that something is not large, important, or effective when compared to something else.
Are you saying that the molestation of an innocent young girl by her vile paedophile teacher was small and unimportant? As a lover of words, I find this erroneous use of the word merely highly offensive.
Here are three examples of how to appropriately use merely in a sentence…
- Jane’s teacher gave her guidance; he merely wanted to educate her.
- The teacher's role was merely to make sure Jane completed her schoolwork.
- Jane merely trusted her teacher implicitly.
Now, here are three examples of unsuitable use…
- Jane’s teacher merely groomed her to satisfy his own nefarious desires.
- Jane's teacher merely used his position of power to sexually abuse her.
- After using heroin to block out the tragic memories of her childhood, Jane merely committed suicide at age 17.
Anyway, I hope this helps. We all make mistakes. I’m sure the Hamilton Spectator isn’t merely a deplorable tabloid rag whose publisher is merely a reprehensible paedophile sympathiser.
A couple of days later, ABC Ballarat's published this...
Richard's official apology came days later...
I had some more questions...
Dear Richard Beks,
Thanks so much for apologising for recklessly abusing the English language. 'Merely' was indeed a poor word choice.
Just a couple of other things...
In your original article, when talking about an elderly paedophile priest, you say:
“Sheahan got a nine-month suspended sentence as well. Not sure to what purpose. At 83 years of age, living in a nursing home and needing a walking frame to get about he’s obviously not going to re-offend.”
Excellent point. Obviously the sweet old priest won't reoffend. I mean, as if any justice system would ever jail an elderly paedo...
You also mention that:
“Child abuse, of course, is the crime of the moment with the ABC and SBS forever baying for blood - and courts often responding with confusing regard to the damage caused.”
You're right, child molestation is totes on trend. It must be the hipster of crimes, especially if those pesky, left-wing, child-protecting communists at the ABC and SBS are constantly reporting it, brah.
Oh, one last little thing.
You said. ..
“I’m not nominating him for a medal, however, something like this for the middle-age bachelor has the hallmarks of misguided curiosity.” And that, “This was closer to a case of appalling manners than major crime.”
When I was little, I used to love slurping McDonald's chocolate thick shakes. The louder the better. On several occasions, my mum would say I had 'appalling manners'. This scenario alone leads me to believe that digitally raping a young girl is perhaps more severe than loudly ingesting a delicious lactose-based beverage. One time, I threw my thick shake at one of the cars on my street. Mum wasn't happy when she found out, but I argued that my transgression was merely a case of 'misguided curiosity'. Again, words I probably wouldn't choose to describe a middle-aged bachelor fingering an underage girl.
Anyway, thanks again for apologising for your gross misuse of the word 'merely'. Like I said, we all make mistakes. The important thing is that we learn from them. With that in mind, I sincerely hope that you, and the vile sex predators you were so lenient on, don't reoffend.
Even more merely,
P.S. I probably should've sent this to you as a PDF file... get it?
P.P.S. I genuinely hope you don't think I'm part of the "Vicious coordinated campaign of online vilification" that you mentioned in your heartfelt apology. To show you I'm not, I sent you an album I thought you'd like as a peace offering: Rolf Harris Sings for Survival, which in hindsight is incredibly ironic. Enjoy!