Dear Editor:

Not even members of my own (patriarchal) family seem to care as much as Michael Miner [Hot Type, January 6] and a couple of his readers about what–for them–has become a compelling and eternal question: Who is this Dennis Byrne, who writes those op-ed columns for the Sun-Times?

Hell, I often don’t know myself, so why should anyone else know? Or care? Still, the discussion is gratifying, if not amusing, because it means that at least a few of the people I’ve successfully offended still bother to tune in. Thanks for reading.

But while I’ve managed to stay out of the discussion for years, I finally have to say something after someone pointed out that Gary Sugar (Letters, Jan. 20) brought my late father into the conversation. If Dad were still alive, he would have ably defended himself from Sugar’s slander that he was a north shore suburban liberal–a characterization that Dad would have found uproarious.

Dad, a craftsman at the old Chicago Screw Co. (ya, that’s right) and a yarn salesman, pretty much held on to his conservative, working-class values he picked up in the old neighborhood near LaSalle and North. But whether he was a north shore liberal or a “southwest suburban reactionary” (the sledgehammer stereotype that Sugar employed) is immaterial to Sugar’s premise: That I have become a “raving right-wing lunatic” of late because of my father’s “recent” death.

Sugar apparently knows something I don’t, because my Dad died in 1984 (at least that’s when we stuck him in the ground), well before my supposed slide into lunacy, and two years before I even started writing a column.

Sugar wildly misstates what I have said in my columns, but never mind; that’s to be expected from someone who makes up goofy facts to serve his psychobabblings. Or maybe Sugar will next insist that my Dad’s really alive, and palling around somewhere with Elvis.

Dennis Byrne

Chicago Sun-Times