Scott Ostler recently made a slightly snide comment about letter writers who allegedly are would-be columnists.
No, no, Mr. Ostler, you've got it all wrong. Most letter writers value their independent, amateur status in the best tradition of the London Times of yesteryear, where the letters were featured on the front page. The paid columns were sandwiched in toward the rear along with the whiskey, hernia and snuff ads. You could look it up.