Ban Birthday Shout Outs?

There are not enough people writing letters any more. Let alone letters to the editor. So, I first must applaud Ruth Allen of Newburyport for writing to her local paper. Nevertheless, I’d like to counter her complaint.

She writes:

Can someone please tell me why we need to list the birthdays of local athletes in the local newspaper? We read about their accomplishments, which makes perfect sense. But being born is something every living person accomplishes.  If you want to shout out to someone for a birthday, why not shout out to the mother who gave birth? Or to both parents, who have done the job of raising the children? Or, if you feel an urgent need to shout out about birthdays anyway, why not celebrate everyone’s birthday? In this age of overly entitled athletes and “celebrities” of all stripes, the message you are sending appears to be “you are really special because you are an athlete.” Enough is enough. Please drop this unfortunate practice from The Daily News.

Personally, I like to know what famous folk share my birthday. is great for this info. Maybe this is feeding the celebrity culture. However, fans like to know when athletes or actors or singers are celebrating birthdays to send enthusiastic greetings.

Image source:  valzulu / Source / CC BY-NC-ND

Image source: valzulu / Source / CC BY-NC-ND

In fact, as @Birthdaysbest I regularly tweet #bdaywishes to celebs. One paper even put my wish in a round-up of twitter birthday greetings to a Seattle Seahawk. This was a fun way to handle an athlete’s birthday as we got to see the range of responses the day prompted.

Yet, a good compromise is the one Ruth suggests, to celebrate everyone’s birthday. Other local newspapers do. Friends or family would fete someone by adding so-and-so to the daily Happy Birthday column.

I vote let’s add to the excitement around birthdays rather than banning the shout outs entirely.


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