The Lou Tintarello Files: Letters to the Editor Hoaxes
The following ÔLetters to the EditorŐ are fictional missives written by Timothy Hull to the Editorial Board of the Times-Herald Record over a period of time stretching from May 2003 to April of 2004. These letters, all published within the ÔLetters to the EditorŐ section of the New York/Hudson ValleyŐs largest daily newspaper, revolve around a large cast of dubious characters who grouse and pontificate on myriad topics, mostly related to the closing of a real-life garbage dump in Middletown, NY called the Al Turi Landfill.
The Times-Herald Record printed over thirteen of Timothy HullŐs satirical letters before questioning the validity of such bizarre and obviously falsely-written public opinions. The letters employ a complex system of arguments, points and counter-points, while weaving intricate webs of stories and facts between the sundry characters and their assertions. Topics range from waste-to-ethanol issues, the impossibility of landfill ecology, Bill Clinton, bogus government agencies, Michael Jackson, archaic tax codes and chemicals plants to Wal-Mart and the Mafia.
The fictional letters were written in the spirit of Benjamin FranklinŐs pseudonym satirical letters to the newspapers within the colonies, in order to raise questions and force dialogue using the mechanisms of humor and absurdity. Franklin developed many identities and wrote hundreds of letters to his brotherŐs newspaper as well as to his own, causing scandal and dissent as well as fostering multiple sides of an argument or illustrating the absurdity of popular claims.
HullŐs letters were written partly out of boredom wile living in Upstate, New
York, but also partly out of a desire to expose the ÔLetters to the EditorŐ
section as a patently under-utilized and oft lampooned section of the
newspapers as well as to illuminate the illusion of a peopleŐs forum that
actually can serve as a platform for unsubstantiated claims and bogus
identities. The letters were also written to highlight the disorganized and
misguided waste disposal policies of local and state government and the
essential absurdity of garbage in general. The instance of satirical fictional
letter writing to public forums can be considered a vaunted and timeless
American pursuit and the Lou Tintarello Files just one piece of a larger
Times-Herald RecordŐs eventual discovery of the Lou Tintarello Files, April 2004