An Apology from the Editor, by Charlie Nadler

Dear loyal readers,

I normally reserve this space for a brief and charming personal anecdote which beautifully illustrates the issue’s reoccurring theme while simultaneously giving you a fleeting glimpse into my wildly exotic and privileged lifestyle. Today, however, there’s another matter which needs to be addressed before you read the following pages. In the previous issue, we presented you with a feature titled “Imagining Robert F. Kennedy at 86.” Based on the numerous calls and letters I have received and the general displeasure we’ve seen across the media, it has become apparent that an apology may be in order. And so, here it goes: I’m sorry.

In retrospect, I see now that it may have been in poor taste to publish computer-generated images of RFK as a withering, decrepit 86-year-old man. Or, if we were going to go in this direction, perhaps one or two images would have been more appropriate than the 32 page spread we decided to go with. One can never be certain of such things until one has the luxury of hindsight. Many critics made specific mention of our old RFK’s severe baldness, his morbid obesity, the constant expression of bewilderment-meets-terror on his face, the saliva dripping from his lips into his mashed potatoes, and the myriad of liver spots which ravaged his jaundiced skin as especially “tacky,” “distasteful” and “bizarre.” Again — these were computer-generated images, so the computers will really have to take the majority of the responsibility here — but I apologize if anyone was offended by these realistic details. We were merely trying to portray the man as he truly might appear today, were he still alive and in terrible condition.

I would also like to apologize for any discomfort that was caused by the interactive feature we decided to include in the online version of the “Imagining Robert F. Kennedy at 86” story. Looking back, I now recognize that leading off the web story with a page for “Old RFK Face Bending” might have been somewhat distracting to some of our readers. We saw it as an exciting opportunity to engage our audience while also giving them a unique chance to create hilarious works of art, but not everyone saw the value in this. To these naysayers, I offer a gentle reminder that the digital frontier continues to be a medium with which we, your providers of content, continue to experiment with and explore through honest trial and error.

Finally, I suppose I should clear up any confusion there may have been about the last 15 pages of last issue’s RFK coverage, entitled “Imagining Robert F. Kennedy at 186.” As we had been studying and contemplating our 86-year-old RFK, we began to grow fond of him. “What’s next for old RFK?” we wondered. We were certainly not going to leave it open-ended, with no epilogue, if you will. So, we brainstormed. Might he at some point be given cutting-edge medicine by secret government scientists that allow him to live far past the life expectancy of normal humans? And might the abuse of such secret, volatile drugs have the unforeseen effect of causing RFK to physically mutate into the tree-dwelling, dog-nosed predator-of-the-night you encountered in those 15 pages? We couldn’t say for certain, but we couldn’t rule it out either, and we felt we needed to explore the possibility. For this, I will not apologize.

I look forward to your letters, and if you have not yet had the chance to play with our old RFK Face Bender, please give it a try. You can find it on the homepage of our website.

Charlie Nadler lives and works in Chicago. His work has appeared in McSweeney’s, Gizmodo, Yankee Pot Roastand various other places. He plays in a band called Blane Fonda and he can be found on the internet here.

The Humor Section features a piece of original humor writing each week. To submit to it, send an email to Becca O’Neal.

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