Reader Mail

Still Crazy

Paul Davis Democrats? From Davis to Manilow. Plus other signs of having lost it. Also: AP wired. Ben's son. Ben's president. And much more.

8.22.05

Send to Kindle

HOW MANILOW CAN YOU GO?
Re: Patrick Hynes's That Old Feeling Again:

Great piece by Patrick Hynes. However, it was not Barry Manilow who sang/had the hit with "I Go Crazy" in the 1970s. It was Paul Davis.
-- Michael Palmer

In reference to Patrick Hynes's "That Old Feeling Again," I am sure you've heard it thousands of times by now, but it seems that Patrick Hynes has mixed his seventies standard bearers. Paul Davis, not Barry Manilow, performed the plaintive ballad "I Go Crazy."

I'm afraid I must admit to being the only red-blooded man on the planet who will admit to enjoying Manilow's music (There! I've said it. I feel better now), but I suspect that Paul Davis would take offense at being confused with the lightweight, but unexplainably wildly successful, Barry Manilow.

We seventies fossils know that, though Barry may find himself facing that old feeling again, it's Paul Davis who allowed us to momentarily escape the incessant disco beat and, "deep down inside," go crazy.
-- David Atchison
Satsuma, Alabama

Re: Patrick Hynes's attribution of the song "I Go Crazy." Props to Paul Davis for this marvelous anthem for my marriage of 27 years.

But the point of the article is right on. Liberals are doomed to disappointment because once the media give the residents of the land of make believe any exposure they are fact checked and Lexis/Nexis searched into oblivion. Light dispels darkness is still true today.
-- Harry Case
Gainesville, Georgia

Enjoyed the article "That Old Feeling Again" by Patrick Hynes -- can't get that tune out of my head!
-- Joy Venosa
Menlo Park, California

Paul Young sang I go crazy, not Manilow.
-- Dale Jennings

I wonder if any of the columnists, reporters, bloggers, et al. who are following this charade have bothered to check out the bona fides of the San Francisco PR firm which is stage-managing the anti-war, anti-Bush newsmaker?

From past experience (checking out a Huffington campaign against Detroit) as an automotive writer, I found that PR agency is singularly devoted to far left causes.

So who's "follow(ing) the money" these days re Sheehan, et al.? Is it coming from MoveOn? DNC? Wacko Hollywood lefties?

P.S. MY son, an Ivy League Phi Bete, just returned from 2 years overseas with the Marines. So much for the elite not being involved.
-- unsigned

In my capacity as a Board-Certified Nitpicking Pedant, I write to inform you that in his piece entitled "That Old Feeling," Mr. Hynes wrote the following, "So now it's the Cindy Sheehan show that's got you wrapped around the axel (emphasis added)." The intended word was, of course "axle" that on which wheels are mounted. The word "axel," un-capitalized, is a type of jump in figure skating, either a single or double axel. When capitalized, it is a masculine name.

Pedantic nitpick now delivered, I also thought the entire piece was right on target.
-- W. B. Heffernan, Jr.

The Bush Haters may hear Barry Manilow sing "I Go Crazy," but when I look at their histrionics I hear Napoleon XIV's "They're Coming To Take Me Away."

They're coming to take me away, ha-haaa.
They're coming to take me away, ho-ho, hee-hee, ha-haaa.
To the funny farm, where life is beautiful all the time and I'll be happy
to see those nice young men in their clean white coats and they're coming
to take me away, ha-haaa!!!

-- Kitty Myers
Painted Post, New York

That was really funny!
-- Doug Santo
Pasadena, California

...Great piece Pat. I'm sending it to my liberal in-laws.
-- Andy from Manchester, NH.

Cindy baby is fortunate that she is on the road leading into W's Texas, rather than a road leading into Cape Cod. Chappaquiddick bring back any memories? "Way deep down inside," I guess. In an Olds.
-- Martin N. Tirrell
Lisbon, New Hampshire

Loved the piece! But wasn't "I Go Crazy" a Paul Davis hit? Really thought it was a great article.
-- Phillip Trapp
Texarkana, Texas

Patrick Hynes replies: Paul Davis did indeed write "I Go Crazy" and carry the song to #7 on the charts in 1977. Barry Manilow also recorded the song in 1978 and again in 1997. I apologize for the mixup.

ORDEALS OF FATHERHOOD
Re: Ben Stein's Tommy Turns 18:

"Tommy Turns 18" is a breath of fresh air!
-- Janet

I just love Ben Stein. I will be 78 years old tomorrow, and for many of those years I have followed Ben's wit and wisdom. How he loves his son, Tommy, and the birthday letter was a charmer! Would that we had more of his common sense and humor. Thanks for his contributions.
-- Norine Graham
San Diego, California

Ben Stein's letter to his 18-year-old son reminds of a conversation I had the other day. I asked my mother-in-law what she would say to her grandson were he to enlist in the military. This staunch Catholic, pro-Bush Republican replied, "As long as enough people volunteer, I would prefer my family stay out of harm's way." Some noble cause.
-- unsigned

Thanks for publishing Ben Stein's letter to his son. As a father and a retired military chaplain I was struck by the poignant third point -- "think of all those who gave up their lives so you could be a free man." What a contrast to the strident shrieking of Mrs. Sheehan and her leftist fellow travelers.
-- Thomas E. Troxell
Sun City West, Arizona

AROUND THE MEDIA FILTER
Re: Lawrence Henry's Editors Ponder:

This was such a good article on so many levels. I live in Tampa, and what's really ridiculous is that Tampa is home to Centcom. If Goudreau can't find out what's going on in Iraq from here, where can she find it out? Geez, go out to the base -- it's not that far from the Tribune!

The press is doing a great disservice to the American people covering this war with a Vietnam mentality. This is a war we must win, but for those who don't believe that (the press being one subset of that group) no good news is good news.

I'm not sure how long it will take for the entrenched mentality of "America sucks" to be wrested from the press, but we don't have the time to wait. Thus, blogs have kept me updated and encouraged and hoping. Blogs, Rush Limbaugh, and websites like The American Spectator, National Review Online, realclearpolitics.com, frontpagemag.com to name just a few. All hail the new media!
-- Deborah Durkee
Tampa, Florida

Lawrence Henry's article confirmed my long-held opinion. About ten or twelve years ago my wife and I attended the Conservative PAC meeting in Washington, D.C., which was easy enough as we live in a Washington suburb, though I remember a lot of snow and ice on the streets at the time.

This was the "pre-internet" and "pre-blog" era. When I arrived home the first evening , I used my Compuserve account to check the AP wire stories from the event. I was happy to see they were "fair and balanced."

For some reason, early the next morning, I again checked the AP wire. WOW! What a difference a few hours made! Each story that I checked had been rewritten to demonstrate a different, anti-conservative slant. Most had an embedded sneer. From that incident that I captured overnight, I realized that the New York AP office was the news czar for the USA. Nothing lasted on the wire more than a few hours without adjustment to the bias of the New York AP main office. I quit reading newspapers then and always noticed with channel surfing that most network news ranked the stories of the day in the same order. It was no doubt the AP ranking that biased every nights' news.

We haven't turned on the TV news at our house for a year or more. Last night we watched John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara in John Ford's The Quiet Man, so we still get some use out of the TV as a DVD player. I check the radio from time to time and Spectator online and a batch of news blogs to learn the news with fewer propaganda interruptions from the New York AP office. Don't get me wrong, I still know the news feeds are biased, just as this Lawrence Henry article details -- without the online news and blogging fact checkers, I would still be wholly under the AP thumb.
-- Jim McMurry

I think the basic problem is that most Americans want their "news" in 30 second bites so they don't get bored and have to THINK for themselves. Sad really.
-- Elaine Kyle
Cut & Shoot, Texas

Mr. Henry has it right about the newspaper editors, even those with excellent facilities at their disposal (the telephone?). The local paper has nothing worth reading except Hagar the Horrible. Most of their articles come from the AP. Those generated locally clearly show bias to the left. So, what do I do when I want to know what is really happening in the world? I go to the Internet. The Spectator, Townhall, Opinion Journal, etc., are sources I have come to depend on after carefully cross checking what they tell me. Bloggers, with caution. Please continue your good work.
-- Paul Bunker
La Moille, Illinois

I've just read a piece you transmitted about "pondering." You know what? I don't believe it. I don't believe any of the crap I get about bad journalism in Iraq. Why would journalists in Iraq lie; neglect a story; make things up? The establishment press, especially its foreign correspondent corps, is composed of the cream of the crop. I've read the blogs. Do you think I can believe these people? Oh sure, the younger generation might subscribe to the blogs, but are they critical? Truly critical of what they read? Who they read? Why the story is published? These are questions I don't usually ask myself if I'm reading a piece with an AP bug. The AP bug stands for years of integrity. Are there some bad apples in establishment journalism. I dare say there are. Now ... what can you say about the bloggers? Do you know? Who are they? Are they young people rebelling now against the establishment media as the kids on college campuses rebelled against established government in the 1960s. Wake up people. Do the leg work before you pass on this crap. Be sure. It's just so easy to dismiss people we don't know and pretend we're so smart but how smart are we? Sometime it sounds like a kid telling his mommy he doesn't want to eat his spinach.

Am I showing my age?
John R. Lancellotti

Lawrence Henry replies:
Kathryn Seelye's New York Times story made very clear that AP's editors, at least, have forgotten what "legwork" is. As for the blogs mentioned, not by me, but by the returning soldier from our church, he meant military blogs, those actually written by soldiers over there. They've done legwork aplenty.

GETTING IT -- AND NOT
Re: John Connly Walsh's My Iraqi Friend:

I have heard similar stories from others that are in Iraq, now. What can WE do?

I am getting once again more upset over the way our elected leadership has executed the war. We need to go in and hit, and hit the terrorists HARD, destroy their nests and dens like the vermin they are. We are making progress, but at the same time, innocent Iraqi citizens are being victimized worse than before. There is a longstanding culture of distrust that is being exploited; once more the very people that they rely upon for help are the very ones preying upon them.

May G-d help us all.
-- Sandra Dent

Count me as a reader who is puzzled by TAS's continued use of Mr. Walsh as a contributor. I fail too see where he adds anything to the readership's understanding of the direction of the Iraq war.

The stories he tells are interesting, but they aren't any different from the river of similar information that we already receive from the rest of the cynical media. Specifically, they are anecdotes of experiences of Westerners and Iraqis around Baghdad. Yeah, we know that Baghdad isn't the favored, comfortable place it once was, and that a lot of Sunnis there don't appreciate the fact that they've lost their relative comforts. So?

TAS could stand out from the rest of the pack by enlisting contributors who roam the country. It's probably impossible. And it actually might be the case the Mr. Walsh analysis is spot on, and that the more favorable reports from servicemen stationed there are nothing but a pack of lies by starry-eyed cheerleaders. But as long as TAS only presents articles that mimic the standard gruel from mainstream journalism, I guess we'll never know. Anyway, you're part of the pack, now, in my eyes.
-- P.J. Pluth

SELECTIVE THINKING
Re: Dan Robbins's letter (under "Surrenderer of the Week") in Reader Mail's Heroes and Hellraisers and "TAS Subscriber's" Bullish on Iraq:

When I read the kind of tripe espoused from people like Dan Robbins I don't know if I want to laugh at their stupidity or cry that so many idiots live among us.

The illogic of his opening sentence ("At what percentage of Americans opposed to the Iraqi war will it take for you and the rest of The American Spectator to admit that we screwed up and need to get out?") simply amazes me.

First, we did not screw up. In any war you have a front and Iraq is that front. I guess Dan would rather it be New York or Washington, D.C. In that case by now it would have spilled into Virginia and Dan would be whining about why he isn't being protected or he'd have moved by now.

We've killed more than 50,000 terrorist in Afghanistan and Iraq. That's a ratio of over 25 to 1 and that's quite impressive. Their cells are being hunted down, their organization disrupted, their funding is being cut off, and we are actually getting, albeit limited, cooperation from the likes of Pakistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

But since Dan thinks percentages mean so much then maybe he can explain why we don't have public school choice (over 70% of Americans approve), private accounts for OUR Social Security money (consistently polls close to 60%), no illegal immigration (very high poll numbers want the border closed), an end to race based affirmative action (close to 70% agree even among minorities), etc.

Oh, wait, I know the answer. Because those are things Dan probably is against and thus high poll numbers mean nothing.
-- Greg Barnard
Franklin, Tennessee

DON'T FORGET HER MAJESTY'S FORCES
Re: Jay D. Homnick's Engaging in Disengagement:

Jay D. Homnick (August 19) describes the Israeli forces engaged in the evacuation of the Gaza settlements as acting with "a gentleness and dignity that is not generally associated with the military uniform -- unless it is American or Israeli."

One would like to think that Mr. Homnick would extend his sentiments to those British servicemen and women currently serving at great risk in southern Iraq, and to those families of all nationalities, Brit, Irish, South African, Zimbabwean and Fijian, who have lost loved ones in that theatre.
-- Martin Kelly
Glasgow, Scotland

LET IT ROLL, BABY
Re: Mark Gauvreau Judge's Redemption Song:

And you're barely scratching the surface. Truly, the most powerful love songs in rock and roll are about the love that emanates from God. "Bargain," by the Who, and many others by Townshend and the Who, "Let it Rain," by Eric Clapton, to name one that he's done, "Out of the Blue," by Roxy Music, etc.

One could argue that the best bands out there currently and historically are those bands that are the most spiritual. I would, however, gently suggest to you that Van Halen doesn't fall into either category, but that's beside the point.

Good article.
-- unsigned

Does this mean Mr. R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. is softening his lifetime stance on the idiocy of pop music? Is he now open to listening to the Stones without the comments on what lousy musicians they are? May I suggest playing "Whole lot of Rosie" by AC/DC for the entire editorial staff. Could I then have a ruling on whether the ditty captures "the essence of Christian love"?
-- Brian

As I have grown older, I my tastes in music have expanded a great deal -- much to the bewilderment of my children. I have explored classical like a hidden treasure box found in a corner of my attic. One day I had a sudden revelation listening to a Bill Evans record that opened up the whole world of jazz. In their turn, by a little bit of this and a little bit of that I have come to embrace country music, blues, western swing, soul, and even (improbably) new age. All the while I have never deserted my first love: rock and roll. I still get a tickle and a thrill when I hear "Wild Thing," "Brown Sugar," or "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay."

I only realized a short time ago why I love it all. Why it is more than just something I like but more like the deep grain in my tissue and bone. I am an American. All this music is my country singing, dancing and speaking of all the feelings and substance of who we are. I am an American. And it is all mine.
-- unsigned

Praise to Mark Gauvreau Judge for his insights on rock music.

Everything in life can be approached in a way that is either too idealistic, romantic, ethereal, and spiritual or too gritty, earthy, grungy, and materialistic. Indeed, Michael Novak said of religions that some are too thin (too other-worldly) and some are too fat (too bogged down in literalist idolatry of nature and its processes) -- too transcendent or too immanent, to use terms of art.

It had occurred to me that pop music can have the same tendencies toward extremes. On one side are John Tesh, the Carpenters at their worst, and other overly saccharine sappiness, and on the other side the actual nihilism of heavy metal and pimp rap.

I wondered what music combined the two in an effective way. One answer is authentic country music. I also thought of rock music in its original impulses, but I couldn't think of why that would be true. Judge has highlighted some of the reasons, indeed, why it is true of all fine music.
-- R.L.A. Schaefer
Dubuque, Iowa

HISTORY POT KETTLE BLACK
Re: Nathan Whiting's letter (under "Diffident Indifference") in Reader Mail's Hearing Ben:

Nathan Whiting, in an analogy to current conditions in Iraq, suggests that Iraqis need "a few lessons in American history" to show them that the period when the U.S. Constitution was drafted was one of "relatively little security or peace." The Constitutional Convention opened in May 1787, and the final draft was sent to Congress in September of that year. This former history major doesn't recall that an armed insurrection was in progress at the time, quite unlike Iraq at the moment. (Shays' Rebellion had petered out in February 1787 and in any case never spread beyond western Massachusetts.)

Perhaps Mr. Whiting has confused the Constitution with the Declaration of Independence, which was composed and adopted during the American Revolution. If this is the case, I would suggest that it is Mr. Whiting who could use some history lessons.
-- Chris Weeks
London, United Kingdom

SEARCH COMMITTEE
Re: Ben Stein's Bulletin from Ben and Reader Mail's Hearing Ben:

The idea presented by Mr. Ben Stein that we must begin searching for the next president with integrity and character now is on the mark. Many false faces are vying for this power, not because they want to serve a great public of people and help influence and direct the opportunities of millions of people, but because they are hungry for power and control in the worst of ways. The green envy that runs through their veins causes each of them to lose sight of what is most important, serving his fellow man with the most respect and dignity he can possibly offer. Senator McCain, Senator Graham, and Senator Clinton do not make policy choices based on their desire and passion to serve another person. They play to their own needs only. While there are other individuals who would like to be President of the United States of America, it is up to the people whom the president serves to seek out the individual with high integrity, character, and a great sense of humanity. We the people must choose to be wise. We must not allow ourselves to be fooled by false information in news media and the story teller's of books. God help us that we will choose to be wise.
-- Michelle Nozykowski
Charleston, South Carolina

Thanks, Ben, for writing such a wonderful article! You have expressed what many of us have been thinking for a long time. I hope someone on the Presidents staff shows him a copy!
-- Harry Clemence
Albuquerque, New Mexico

...FDR could easily be judged as greater than his immediate successors. But the country did not go southward from FDR's direction when he unceremoniously left the scene. Dubya will be gone and I assure Mr. Stein that even among the Republicans, there are other just as qualified or perhaps even far better than he!
-- Jove Trinidad
Herndon, Virginia

So god [sic] sent us Bush to protect us from evil and prevent the "torture of the innocent Terry Schiavo"? What blasphemy!
-- Dr. Richard Meyer

Ben Stein is spot on as always. Huckabee/Rice in 2008!
-- Joel Farrier
Paris, France

This is the most profound article on President Bush that has ever been expressed. Please do what you can to broadcast this message to the millions!
-- Joe Hampton

SPREAD THE WEALTH
Re: Bruce Eberle's Analysis Paralysis:

I agree with Mr. Eberle (Analysis Paralysis, 8/17/05) EXCEPT for his two caveats that:

1. Only patients with "incurable" diseases should have the freedom to choose non-FDA-approved drugs, and

2. These patients should only be able to choose from those non-FDA-approved drugs which, parenthetically (as if it hardly mattered), "[have] successfully completed clinical trials and [are] in wide use elsewhere."

His logic is impeccable, as far as it goes, but I would have put it: "The fact is that [EVERYONE] ... should have the right to decide on the basis of their own individual situation if the risk of taking a new drug [WITHOUT qualification]... should be taken."

But I guess that would be TOO much liberty for most who, quite appropriately, criticize the FDA's foot-dragging and myopic risk aversion (only seeing risks of taking, not risks of prohibiting, medicines).
-- Kevin Amaro
Hayward, California

HATE CRIME
Re: George Neumayr's The Sheehan Spectacle:

Mr. Neumayr, You people certainly HATE anything that has to do with the military. You hate vets, You hate dead vets, and You hate parents of dead vets. You conservatives can rationalize sliming the mother of a soldier slain in Iraq with lies, innuendo and dog-piling until they are ingrained in public dialogue.

You don't think many of these troops will come home with post-traumatic stress syndrome (at best) or lost limbs, eyesight, hearing, etc., and not question if all their sacrifice was really worth it? Will they be given "anti-American" and "traitor" labels as well (by chickenhawk pundits who never served). You bet they will, by people, such as yourself!

Read the statistics. People are coming out of the patriotism haze. 62% of Americans disapprove of Bush and his handling of Iraq, his overall disapproval rating is also over 50%... we're not the minority anymore.
-- Wil Burns

NO LIMIT
Re: Enemy Central's Back in Business:

So I go to Canada for a week of fishing only to come back to the newest E.O.W. post. Had I realized leaving the country would have helped bring it back I would have taken that vacation much sooner. I understand the newest pick for E.O.W. I suppose, but the really good news is there if plenty of room for bigger and better enemies in the weeks to come, I mean how many people REALLY pay much attention to baseball?
-- Roger Ross
Tomahawk, Wisconsin

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article