Spend more than a few minutes on Facebook, and you're sure to see an open letter of complaint posted by one of your friends: "Dear person sitting next to me, Stop smacking your gum." "Dear Spirit Airlines: I F---ING HATE YOU." You get the idea. These open letters are written as fantasies—"the cutting insult, the outraged rebuke, the detailed catalogue of wrongs that we are all mulling over in our heads much of the time"—but really, all they do is make us appear powerless, writes Adam Kirsch in the New Republic.
Think about it: The person or entity to whom you're complaining will, most likely, never actually see the complaint. "This is a form of complaint that accomplishes nothing, that is designed to avoid genuine conflict, which might come about if we actually got up and spoke the words we confide to the keyboard," Kirsch writes. What if we actually did something powerful, rather than passive-aggressive? "What if all those unsent letters were turned into e-mails? It would be an angrier world, but perhaps a more well-adjusted one." Click for his full column.