Red Herrings to Orange Herring Gulls to Clean, White Herring Gulls

I recently responded to an article in the June 22, 2010 Wilmington Star News (hard copy only). I wrote:

Dear Editor,

I have a message for your audience: that is, Reader Beware!

In his June twenty-second article, “Gulf Oil Leak Wouldn’t Yet Fill Up Superdome,” Associated Press writer, Gareth McGrath tosses us a red herring with distracting comparisons of the massive oil leak to similarly massive volumes such as the Mississippi River’s effluent and the space inside nine-thousand-plus living rooms under the guise of a better perspective. Quantities of spilled oil do not compare with similar quantities of airspace within architectural spaces. What is worse, is that McGrath sights a “mathematical context” (which, being math, many readers hesitate to argue against) and tells us that the problem, “isn’t that huge,” because lots of water is rushing into the gulf. The spill IS huge! The consequences are DIRE! While his Superdome comparison may be true, no true statement can make a bad argument valid. I sometimes need to remind myself to read critically. At best, McGrath’s article is not worth printing. At worst, it is drivel, not unlike the leak, itself, that is aimed to desensitize us from the bane of flora and fauna in the gulf. Instead of passing around red herrings, our time would be better spent supporting the clean up efforts in places such as East Grand Terre Island, where the white breasted, first year herring gulls have turned orange from the oil mess. Let’s make the effort go from “red herrings” to orange herrings to clean, white herrings.

Scott Dodd

June 22, 2010


Cole, C. (2010, June 6). Gulf oil spill: Birds in Barataria Bay hit hard. Los Angeles

TImes. Retrieved June 22, 2010

One thought on “Red Herrings to Orange Herring Gulls to Clean, White Herring Gulls

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