Gerber: Rant away on variety of topics

Gerber: Rant away on variety of topics

April 8th, 2012 in Opinion Columns

Sometimes, the Rants generate their own rants.

The Rants, which we run on Sundays in this section, are loved by many. But from time to time, people ask why we do not require ranters to identify themselves, especially since we print the names of letter writers and only allow anonymous comments online on opinion pieces, not on news stories.

So why do we allow Ranters to remain anonymous?

In simplest terms, the Rants are not meant to be deep and analytical - although they are often meaningful. They're just meant to be a quick quip or an emotional outburst of 25 words or less.

They're sometimes the first thing that pops into a person's head when he or she reads a news story - and that can often be the cleanest and most concise way to say what you truly feel.

Perhaps Twitter has trained us to be fast and shallow?

The rants are zingers or insightful observations. They range from snide and snotty to facetious and funny. Some are downright pompous. They might make you laugh out loud or roll your eyes.

What grabs people is that they are current and seem to strike a chord.

In an election year, many Rants are about presidential politics, and we've been getting rants from as many Obama backers as Obama haters. The GOP nominees also are garnering a lot of Rants, both positive and negative.

And, of course, Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield is a prime target of Ranters. His decision to move the Bessie Smith Strut lit up this week's Rant inbox.

Other things that inspire people to rant: traffic problems (especially congested intersections) and whatever's in the news. Lately, for example, names like Rush Limbaugh and Peyton Manning have popped up in Rant submissions.

Unlike online comments, we weed through all the Rants, and there are many that never make it into print.

On the heels of the questions about the anonymous nature of the Rants, I received two unsolicited comments in favor of them. One reader told me she reads them every Sunday; another said she reads the Sunday paper in this order: Rants, coupons, everything else. Never stop running the Rants, she said.

So rant away - even if you want to rant about this column.