As the father of 8- and 5-year-old daughters, I take offense with the Press Herald’s irresponsibility and failure to proofread Bill Nemitz’s choice in vocabulary for his Oct. 26 column, “Poliquin smart? Yes. But there’s a jerk factor.”

The decision to allow the word “jerk” in the column and put it on the front page of the Maine/New England section of the Maine Sunday Telegram is irresponsible and, frankly, in poor taste.

We who read the newspaper with some regularity are all familiar with Mr. Nemitz’s viewpoints and opinions, as well as his desire to criticize anything or anyone who is outside his political and social leanings. That’s fine. Mr. Nemitz is consistent in his message, and we will give him points for that.

However, when my 5-year-old daughter sees the newspaper on the coffee table on Sunday morning and then asks me, “Dad, what does the word ‘jerk’ mean?,” enough is enough. If Mr. Nemitz would like to come over to our home and give his definition of the word to my daughter, I invite him to do so.

Bottom line, both the newspaper as well as Mr. Nemitz should be a bit more careful, not in their viewpoints but rather in their choice of wording for the titles of their columns and editorials.

Lastly, I did use it as a teaching moment for my daughter. After using words like “obnoxious,” “insensitive” and “foolish” to give the word meaning, she asked me why someone would call another person that. I smiled and told her, “Sweetheart, we need to find a good word for that person.”

John D. Duffy


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