Here at The Simon, we have a little saying: "Nobody writes a letter when they like an article." This isn't entirely true, but generally when the floodgates open, it's because one of our writers has touched a nerve. And not in a good way.
No column at The Simon has consistently generated more mail than Matt Hutaff's Canon Fodder. On a few occassions, his pieces had so much response, we had to forward them all to him and make him choose which ones to publish. These articles generated (literally) hundreds and hundreds of emails. It was exhausting just cleaning them out.
No matter how angry Matt made people, though, you could always sense a certain tone inherent in the responses. Matt's readers appreciated his courage and bravado -- they recognized that what he was writing took balls. And while they often wanted to nail him on his facts or challenge his thinking, it was never without an element of genuine respect. The guy had his own perspective and was willing to stand up for it. And that's something that's rare, exciting and very much needed.
Matt's columns were never predictable. They covered topics that were obscure and topics that were in the mainstream. Canon Fodder, despite its lightning rod status, never saught attention. It was always what was simply on his mind or some unheralded issue that needed more attention. This was one of Matt's greatest skills: Finding fresh issues to write about, and writing about them with freshness.
Tomorrow is the final Canon Fodder, although Matt says he will be back to contribute. But in all honesty, it leaves a hole in the heart of The Simon. We are immensely proud of Canon Fodder -- it's irreplaceable.