Odds & Ends

Her Unrequited Letter

By From the May 2013 issue

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TOM BETHELL's “Black Plight: Conflict With Unions” (TAS, April 2013) touches on something very important: human nature. The human nature that the Founders of our country and the authors of the U.S. Constitution clearly understood and feared. The fears of those great men have come true. Self-interest is number one. The embedded civil rights leaders have cushy jobs, some with wealth and notoriety. Those jobs are directly linked to the Democratic Party and are opposed by the Republican Party. So human nature dictates that they do the bidding of those progressives. If others—such as black kids—suffer, so be it; what is important to them is that they keep their livelihoods. And most or many of us would do the same.The same holds true for labor union bosses. They use workers’ dues to finance the election of Democrats who keep legislating to support unions. Racism, unions over kids, black kids without a father, without an education, without a job, but with gangs, guns, and drugs—none of that matters so long as the Jesse Jacksons (Sr. and Jr.), Al Sharptons, and countless others keep their jobs. And, of course, most of the media, the entertainment industry, and the educational system of our country are supporters.

The factions carefully pieced together by the Democratic Party have won.

Theodore Wight
Seattle, WA


I REALLY ENJOYED “Screwtape Gets Real” (TAS, March 2013). If the writing can be maintained at anywhere near this high (low?) level, you should keep this column going for, well, eternity. Perhaps as you intercept these letters from the Infernal Postal Service (no relation to the USPS…or is there?), you could occasionally snatch one going the other way, to wit, from Mr. Wormwood back to his uncle. I look forward to seeing these excerpts on a regular basis. (And if not, there will be you-know-what to pay!) In the Enemy’s service, I remain...

Not entirely insincerely,

Rick DePrisco
Via the Internet


THERE AREN'T ENOUGH WORDS or high enough numbers to express my immeasurable thanks for your recent article “Whatever Happened to Tom Lehrer?” (TAS, April 2013), about probably the best satirist the country has ever produced. A couple of decades ago I heard or read somewhere that he was teaching at UC Santa Cruz. It was the first I’d heard of him since his untimely retirement, so I immediately sat down and fired off a letter to him (copy enclosed).

To my disappointment, he never replied. I’m an incorrigible letter writer (don’t have a computer, still use what’s referred to as “snail mail”), and write to politicians, celebrities, authors, and editors. Many of them don’t reply, but for some reason, I thought he would. Given that in our crumbling culture multitudes of people don’t care or perform their jobs as they should, I realize there’s a chance he never received my letter.

I’m sending this letter to you in care of The American Spectator and hope you receive it; I have no other way of reaching you.

I did have Tom’s first 10 LP for turntable; it’s long since gone, though I do still have the collection of his “Remains,” along with the songbook. Since I wrote to him in the mid-’90s, I was on another escorted tour (with our local community college) and, much to my surprise and delight, one day on the bus, the math instructor who was onboard played Tom’s “New Math.” His fans are fervent, if few, and we need to let each other know we’re there!

Hoping to hear from you, I am.

Betty Klink
Dearborn, MI

September 25, 1991

Professor Tom Lehrer
University of California, Santa Cruz
Dear Professor Lehrer:

I’ve been wanting to write you for so long, and now I’m experiencing a minor case of writer’s block—so I’ll start at the beginning. I was a great fan of yours in the early-to-mid-50s and, although I have not had the opportunity to see/hear you in person, I do have your records. During the years of child-rearing there wasn’t much time to listen, but all things do end. In the summer of 1989, I was on an escorted European tour primarily to attend the Passion Play in Oberammergau. Much to my surprise and delight another person on the tour also had a great affection for your humor—can’t remember how we discovered this. We’ve remained long distance friends—she lives in Anaheim. She subsequently sent me your songbook and some tapes, and told me you’re presently at Santa Cruz.

My purpose in writing is simply to tell you how very much I still enjoy your songs—though my life has changed somewhat since the early 50s! I’ve gone from being young, single, adventuresome, libertarian-bordering-on-anarchistic, and pagan, to well past middle-aged, married (and separated), mother of five grown children, ultra-conservative, and staunchly Roman Catholic—yet still I find you funnier than anyone I’ve ever heard. Does this mean I haven’t “grown” (as the libs say), or merely that your humor transcends time, age, politics, and religion? I prefer to believe the latter.

You were interviewed once on public radio, and you said that satire is no longer acceptable or fashionable (politically incorrect?), or words to that effect—I’m sure you said it better. When I think of all the burning issues of today… and how you could deal with them in song—I could weep over how we’ve lost our sense of humor. The byword today is “sensitivity”—how boring! We really are deprived, if Mark Russell is the best we can come up with.

This letter has been too long already (though I could have said more)—but I just wanted you to know that when I’m on my way to work and really need cheering up, it’s your tunes that do the job!

Thanks again—I am…


I THINK MY SUBSCRIPTION has been going on now for almost 20 years.

Today in the mail was a printed letter from Ben Stein asking me to renew my subscription. I am sorry to say that I will be canceling my subscription when it expires in June. The reason is the new size of the magazine. It is very difficult for me to handle now. It just keeps flopping over when I try to read in bed or when I am in a chair. I have enjoyed reading The American Spectator for a long time, and I am sorry that I will be stopping.

Mabel Rockwell
Huntington Beach, CA


OH JOY, OH RAPTURE UNFORESEEN! The American Spectator is returning to its tabloid roots. It was in that form, along with pre-neoconservative National Review, that it helped dislodge me from the degradation of mindless liberalism. The wit, the analysis, the biting logic were overwhelming, and now it has returned to its original size. I love it. I will send in my $39 tomorrow after decades of not being a regular subscriber and I will return to sleeping with it next to my side.

Larid Wilcox
Via the Internet


YOUR NEW FORMAT NEEDS to go the way of New Coke! What was wrong with near 812 by 11? Simply put, the larger size creates non-linear flexibility issues which almost require reading while it is laying on a table. Back issues cannot now be stored with other magazines, even older TAS’s. Though I have been a subscriber to TAS since the Clinton administration and my current subscription runs through 3/15, I will probably not renew unless you come to your senses.

Joel D. Snyder III
Yorktown, VA


LOVE YOUR NEW FORMAT. I feel like I’m back in the great days of Life, Look, and the Saturday Evening Post. Great work!

Dick Corbeil
Apopka, FL


PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:

OBESITY IS A GROWING PROBLEM in America, and not just for humankind. According to a recent survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), 53 percent of adult dogs and 55 percent of cats are overweight or obese. As with humans, improper diet and lack of exercise are largely to blame for this epidemic of excess.

Owners of overweight pets can help them achieve a healthier lifestyle by making better food choices and adding daily exercise in the form of walks, runs, or playtime. But for dogs and cats in shelters these simple changes can be extremely difficult to implement. Shelter staff do their best to choose healthy food and provide daily activity, but they lack resources to hire sufficient help.…

By dropping off a bag of healthy food, volunteering to walk dogs, play with cats, or simply donating to your local shelter, you can make sure that homeless dogs and cats stay healthy while they wait to find their forever homes.

Diana Culp
Director
Humane Society for Shelter Pets

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