It’s easy to regard Bob Greene as a jerk (“Bobwatch,” January 27). His cynical tearjerking, so obviously calculated to tear-jerk that it doesn’t; his terrible-looking hairpiece, obviously the first he ever owned and Greene too cheap to buy a good one; the way he writes the same column over and over again.

It’s easy to judge people on the basis of surface things, and appearances. That’s what racism is all about–shorthand judgments that don’t go below the surface.

For the fact remains, that if Greene were judged on the basis of his accomplishments instead of on the basis of ephemera, we would have to regard him (grudgingly) as one of our very small pantheon of local heroes.

For Bob Greene has done more for abused children than all of the rest of our columnists put together, including–for all we know–your sniping little Ed Gold. He has time and time again engaged noble causes, his lance raised, his helmet almost toppling off his slippery hairpiece, his chain mail weighing him down on his clumsy pony as it staggered in the mud.

And for those of us who believe that there are no ugly children and that all children are beautiful, it’s enough.

There, I’ve said it and I’m glad. Now can I go back to disliking him?

Neil Elliott