Please Stop

Writing Open Letters

Our regular look at a design trend that needs to end.

Open letters have been polluting our feeds for years now. They’re screeds—each one more self-serving and lame than the last, and often published on questionable websites—that are written with the intention of issuing an urgent and thoughtful sociopolitical message, typically one of rebuke, to a controlled audience (a bit like this piece you’re reading now). Instead, such pieces, with titles like “An Open Letter to Moms Who Make Bento Box Lunches,” feel more like horoscopes or one of those lengthy, meandering comments left anonymously on a YouTube video. Reading them is a kind of low-budget form of self-help, a justification of insecurities, or a means to conform. The truth is their growing ubiquity renders them ineffective, as it’s impossible to fight through the noise of inane lamentations. Letters need to go away for a while—preferably sealed in an envelope, as originally intended.

Please Stop” is a column in which we outline trends that the world could do without. 

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