Hi there. My name is Scotty Iseri. Some CTA riders also call me “the Paper Hat Guy.” I made a game called “The Paper Hat Game.” There’s three rules to the paper hat game: (1) You Can’t Talk, (2) You Can’t Force Anybody to Play, and (3) You Always Win. Basically it involves bringing a Reader on the CTA, making paper hats, and getting an entire bus or train car to wear the hats.

I am writing to complain about the new format of the Reader. The old format of the Reader was the perfect medium for the Paper Hat Game. The prefolds permitted high-speed hatting in packed train cars. The size made for a hat that was large enough to stay on, but small enough to not obscure the wearer’s vision. Conversely, the new format makes for smaller hats, more difficult folds, and a less satisfying experience for all paper hat gamers. Worst of all, this new format places the Reader in the aesthetic of that easily tossed, celebrity-obsessed, virtually content-free tabloid-rag, the RedEye. The Reader has a higher standard than the RedEye, but what’s next? Full-page essays on Paris Hilton’s stay in prison? Photo essays ranking presidential candidates by haircut? Under-informed sex columnists offering advice that borders on date rape?

I understand the financial pressures facing print media so I realize there must be some bottom-line reason for the format change. Still, I can’t help but feel sad at the change. The Reader was once the paper of choice for discriminating paper hatters. This new format change requires a whole new type of paper hat.

Thanks for your time, and best of luck.

Scotty Iseri