Condon too preachy
Marlene Condon, your sometime essayist and letter writer has assumed the responsibility of educating the community on how to live responsibly with nature with her book Nature-Friendly Garden. Without a doubt, she has made a fine contribution to the understanding and knowledge of her readers.
Unfortunately, in her other published pieces, she approaches her readers by hectoring (i.e. scolding) and by implying (i.e. suggesting) that those who read her columns and letters are insufficiently learned to understand what she says without the alternative definitions she so frequently provides.
Her letters are replete with shoulds and musts and scolds. In her most recent letter to the editor [August 23: "Jaquith points in the right mirror"], the two examples following are typical: "As long as people make choices that are self indulgent, lavishing their money unsparingly upon themselves...." and "live reasonably instead of extravagantly (i.e. wastefully)..."
I don't believe a positive outcome can be achieved in this manner. Why not simply state the facts as she sees them and leave the obvious message to the understanding of the reader? In that same effort, if she opts for more than one definition, why not use it as well, separated from the first definition by a comma?
Adults don't wanted to be treated as ignorant and irresponsible children. Perhaps that's not Condon's intent, but if that's true, then she shouldn't write as if it were.