Reader Mail

Stamps of Disapproval

In most arenas, TAP readers refuse to clown around, as this latest batch of letters confirms.

3.17.02

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DEAN DONGED
Re: Jerry Carter's Down in Carolina:
As a conservative native of Chapel Hill, I have no problem with chastising UNC and Dean Smith for their liberalism, while agree that Dean was the best college basketball ever.

Having said that, the following quote from the article is quite definitely incorrect:

"Dean picked both of his successors -- the short-lived but highly successful Bill Guthridge, and the weepy and woeful current coach, former UNC player Matt Doherty."

In fact, Dean Smith has put out a revision to his auto-bio stating who he wanted to succeed Guthridge and Doherty is not in the list. In retrospect, Dean can be further applauded for this foresight.
-- James Smyth

Jerry Carter replies: Mr. Smyth is correct. Dean Smith did not pick the current North Carolina coach. But it wasn't for lack of trying. Dean was very involved in the process of selecting the successor to Bill Guthridge. It was only after a number of Dean's reported picks either turned the job down or pulled themselves from consideration -- from Roy Williams and George Karl to Larry Brown and Eddie Fogler -- that the athletic department offered it to Matt Doherty, an alumnus who played on Dean Smith's 1982 championship team. My apologies for the error, but I think the larger point about Dean Smith's continuing involvement in the Tar Heel program is generally on the mark.

RE: JOYCE
Re: Francis X. Rocca's The 'Times' Gets a Language Upgrade:
The New York Times transformed into James Joyce. By the way, do we know what dictionary Joyce may have been using when he wrote Ulysses? An "N minus 7" experiment might be revealing.
-- Jim Tyson
Fairfax, VA

STAMP ACTS
Re: Joseph A. Reyhansky's First Faces?
The more significant development -- as a slippery slope argument, after all, this one's pretty lame -- is that the postal services depicted the faces as they in fact appear on the real-life bodies they belong to.

The USPS is not above dickering with history -- they made James Dean a nonsmoker. Yet in this case, we see three faces of white male firemen. And we see them despite, or maybe because of, the ruckus that ensued after it was proposed that a statue with a multi-culti staff be erected in NYC.

This is another indication that 9/11 punctured the make-believe multicultural worldview. And it is nothing but good news.
-- Karl Maher

The new commemorative stamp is not the first one to feature clearly the faces of a living person. I believe that honor goes to Emmet Kelly, the famous clown. He was portrayed in makeup and appeared as a model for a generic clown in a commemorative circus series, but he was instantly recognizable to almost everyone as a real, living person, not as a composite of many clowns.

The image on the new stamp is a copy of the most famous photograph from the beginning of this war, and of the most poignant portrayal of the American spirit and its refusal to remain buried under the rubble. This spirit is what the stamp is celebrating, not the men in the picture. No other image from that time is both so recognizable and so defiant. Should the USPS have altered this image (as with the aborted "multicultural" statue of recent memory) to conform to the law requiring all *persons* honored to be dead for 10 years, or should it have waited the (hopefully) long, long time until all three men were safely buried before issuing such a stamp?
-- Warren Way

Joseph A. Rehyansky replies to Mr. Way:

I have been collecting U.S. stamps since I was 8 years old -- that's 47 years. To my knowledge only one postage stamp bearing the face of a clown was issued during Emmet Kelly's lifetime (1898 -1979): Scott #1309, issued on May 2, 1966, for the centennial of the birth of John Ringling. A scan of the stamp is attached. If that's Weary Willy I'll eat a can of greasepaint. Even if that is Mr. Kelly under all that make-up, my point still stands: it's not his face that appears on the stamp, it's a clown's. You would have a stronger case if you argued that the profiles on our old Indian head pennies and Buffalo nickels are the faces of real, living people, because several real, living people posed for each.

You also state that "our spirit is what the stamp is celebrating, not the men in the picture." I could not possibly agree more. That is why I believe that if we are to deviate from a 226-year-old practice we should first make the case for doing so rather than have our government act as if it does not know what it is doing (which is what I suspect) or doesn't care. The engravers who did the stamp based on the almost-accidental Joe Rosenthal photograph had an easy job of it. The actual photo does not show the men's faces clearly. Today, however, it would not be difficult to use computer imaging to construct an accurate view of the inspiring scene in the rubble of the World Trade Center that does not show the three faces -- as if the photographer was standing elsewhere. If "the men in the picture" are not that important, why not do so?

Your letter does give me an opportunity to correct one error in my essay. So certain was I of my recollections that I did not check my catalogs or my collection before describing the Apollo 11 stamp. It does not show an astronaut on the moon saluting our flag. It shows him descending the Eagle's ladder and stepping on the lunar surface. It was the 25th anniversary stamp issued on July 20, 1994, that depicted a lunar astronaut saluting our colors. In memory's eye I merged the two. On both stamps, as I pointed out, the astronaut's visor completely obscures his face.

SIMON CENTERED
Re: George Neumayr's Media Bias in One State:
Yes, but if Simon doesn't tack left towards the center, he will lose against Davis, no matter what the press might say.

There's nothing wrong with bias; everybody is infected with it. Press or no, Simon's got his work cut out for him.

Interesting site.
-- Carl W. Goss

I agree with George Neumayr that Bill Simon doesn't need to talk about the issues California's left-wing biased media want him to talk about -- and the reason is precisely the one that makes the biased media want Simon to talk about them.

There are two kinds of political issues: real-world issues such as the economy, energy policy, and so on; and what I call "perfect-world" issues like abortion and guns (because in a perfect world we could all afford to worry about them instead of putting food on the table and keeping the lights on). Though I am a life member of the NRA and condor myself strongly pro-life, I know that these issues are of secondary importance in most campaigns, and especially in a California gubernatorial campaign in 2002.

The rule of thumb about which kind of issue to focus on is this: if the real-world issues are a wash, offering advantage to neither candidate, then you can try building a campaign on the perfect-world issues. If real-world issues work to the other guy's advantage, though, you're likely to get drubbed if you ignore them in favor of perfect-world issues -- unless you can distract the other guy. But if the real-world issues work you YOUR advantage, let your opponent carp on guns and abortion so he can get drubbed.

Obviously, biased left-wing media types like Brownstein and Skelton are trying to neutralize the real-world issues, and it looks like Simon is too smart for them.
-- Kevin M. McGehee
Coweta County, GA

WRITE ON
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell's Churchillian Disputes at 'The Atlantic':
Forget it. The Hitchens piece, despite the billing, is an essentially amiable and disjointed compilation of random stale and boozy thoughts masquerading as a review of books about Churchill, some very old and some newish, which Hitchens may or may not have read. But what's important is that Tyrrell has begun to throw punches at some very flabby and deserving targets. Tell him to keep moving in. And keep his right up.
-- J. Coyne

LOYOLA TESTS
I commend George Neumayr on his courageous column, "Jesuits Implode." As a graduate of two Jesuits universities, I sadly agree with his assessment of the Order and Catholic higher education. Is there any doubt a homosexual subculture is trying to pervert the teachings of the Church? I think of the situation at the Jesuit Boston College where the English Department advertised for an assistant professor to teach "queer theory." I wonder how many Catholic college alumni and trustees know of this disturbing and disgusting trend? I doubt Boston College will advertise the fact in its solicitations to alumni.
-- Kenneth McNamee

"One wonders how long the Vatican will permit this insult on his memory to persist." Wonder not, sir, look to the head. The bishop is the head of the diocese; if he is disobedient to the pope, the people refuse to support him. The pope (Vatican) should be addressing this problem immediately. You will note that this pope Wojtyla (nominally known as John Paul II) and the three previous have exercised all power in not following the traditional mission of the Roman Catholic Church. This pope has exercised apostasies and heresies so many times that it staggers the mind to imagine one man causing so much havoc and leading so many millions to damnation. Know the man by his actions: Wojtyla blessed by a priestess of Shiva with cow dung in India, placing the Buddha (at the altar of St. Francis no less!) on top of the tabernacle and incensed at the first Assisi meeting, reverently kissing the Koran in Syria, etc.

Wojtyla fully accepts all religions as co-equal: at the recent second Assisi gathering of all religions world-wide, he had their holy scriptures placed on the altar of St. Francis and incensed them. And, just to show that he hadn't missed a heresy, the Church of Wojtyla has recently quietly approved a Nestorian mass.

Today, Catholics simply do not know their Faith. Even the local priest is now trained to incompetence, a shallow remnant of the real parish priest of old. In effect, the local clergy mislead the people in concert with the Vatican. Get this; the local priest may not have even received ordination, as Wojtyla has changed the sacrament. Hey! You can design your own mass: consider the "clown mass," the "balloon mass," perhaps a "gay mass."

Now look to the traditional church, before these sillinesses and outrages started: could you even imagine then the sort of swill showed us now?

So, I ask you, why have Catholics continued to support Wojtyla, let alone their own bishop? What do they know? Huh?
-- Steven Keely

LISTENING IN
By way of an appearance of Jed Babbin on KSFO (Bay Area). Spectator subscriber for many years. Good luck on new venture. I will be reading.
-- Ron Johnson
Oakland, CA

WEEKEND PLANS
Your columnists rest on the weekend, but we Web surfers don't.

Suggestion: Squeeze out a few dozen long-shelf-life columns from them (or from stringers) and post a couple each weekend. Give surfers something (e.g., archived best-of articles, topical selections from great political writers) or risk being demoted to Favorites List B (which, by the way, is never used).

Failure to do so makes TAP seem moribund and 20th-centuresque, to coin a possibly premature adjective.

Sorry, but welcome to the 24x7x52 Internet Age.
-- David Govett
www.japanorama.com

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