Editor’s Note: If you’ve not heard of John Benton, you’re not alone. He’s a no-name “journalist” who apparently is trying to capitalize on some name dropping to achieve notoriety.
Dear Mr. Benton:
Since shuffling off this mortal coil, I’ve not been motivated to comment on any happenings in your mortal world. Since you’ve published your most recent piece under my name, ostensibly as some sort of tribute, I felt compelled to get in touch. My simple message to you, sir is STOP!
I would greatly appreciate if you ceased immediately sullying the name I spent a lifetime developing. Publishing the pabulum like the piece you wrote about Jim Tressel under my name would earn you a law suit had I still standing to execute one.
This piece is not journalism. It’s borderline slander. Where are your facts, man? My prose was artful, to be sure. It was my job to paint word pictures for an audience without access to ESPN and 2000 other cable sports channels. But I never played fast and loose with the facts. Your entire piece is speculation about the motives of a man with whom you’ve never even sat down and smoked a cigar. No amount of wordsmithing can gloss over a lack of content.
And speaking of your style, do they pay you by the word there? My “Four Horsemen” piece was fewer than 500 words. We had a term in my day for journalists who rambled on ad nauseum about nothing: novelists. While your piece was devoid of any meaningful content, I should be able to finish it without taking a nap in the middle. And “assholery?” Will Shakespeare was able to get away with coining words. I now know Will Shakespeare, and you’re not him.
Finally, use your craft, as did I, to pay tribute to that which is beautiful and good. Art is one part the craft of the artist, and nine parts the beauty of the subject. The Four Horsemen were a thing of beauty to behold. I simply supplied words that captured their artistry.
Jim Tressel may be a saint, or a sinner. I’ll know before you most likely. Your use of the gift of writing to slander this man, however, is an egregious sin against journalism and against my name. I’ll thank you to take my name off of this and not use it to promote your brand of character assassination.