Re: Ben Stein’s America!:
God Bless Ben Stein — he has done it again with his unique way of putting things in perspective. He has a gift which he uses well. Heat/keyless entry systems are annoying for sure, but nothing at all when compared to what our fine brave men and women endure, and thus ensuring that we continue to be annoyed by the minor things in life. I’ve received several email messages over the past few days suggesting that we who support the troops wear red on Fridays ’till they come home. How about it?
— Barb McCarty
Berlin, New Jersey
I just finished Ben Stein’s article “America!” After hearing some disgusting accusations made about our troops by politicians and the press, it’s affirmation of how most Americans really feel about our young men and women serving this country.
After a period of time it became too automatic to say “Thank you for your service.” So now, when I meet one of our young people in uniform, I say “Thank you for giving me one more reason to be proud of my country.”
I am a veteran of the most useless war ever fought by this nation (to my knowledge). That is Vietnam. I have been in an almost constant rage since I returned from Vietnam to attend my father’s funeral and was told, along with about 500 other GIs, that we should not wear our uniform when we were off a military reservation due to the anti-military feelings of some Americans. I don’t know whether to hate the politicians who sent me there, the Americans who hated me for being there, or the great silent majority who did what they always do best; they remained silent. I suppose I’ll go to my grave feeling this way, because I don’t intend to ever forgive any of them.
I just wish I had known of someone like you when I came home. It would have probably have made things easier.
You are a good man Ben Stein.
— Sam G.
Re: Jeremy Lott’s Keep on Cluckin’:
Geez Looeeze, Jeremy! Slow news day? I thought we were through with these cranially challenged birdbrains.
Hope you don’t have any plans for an article on the most courageous woman in world history, “Her Outedness,” Val-or-eee!
Don’t mind me, my A/C’s out.
— Mike Showalter
Mentioned in the article about some Americans had a “visceral loathing for people who go to other countries and criticize their nation in time of war.” That sums up my feelings about the “Chicks.” The “Chicks” as well as other leftist celebrities (and that includes Presidents Carter and Clinton) are too cowardly to express their opinions on their home shores. The “Chicks” are entitled to their opinion. They should express those opinions here in the U.S. Won’t matter a hill of beans on their music sales, though. No one I know who listens to country music gives a darn about the “Chicks.”
— Clasina J. Segura
New Iberia, Louisiana
Any suggestion that the comments made in London were sincere is laughable.
What happened in London was an effort to pander to their UK base. The pandering worked, in the UK.
— Dave Ward
Jeremy Lott writes about the “grand mall reaction” to the Dixie Chicks. Unless he is arguing that they have triggered a national shopping spree, I think what he meant was a “grand mal reaction.”
— Glen Hoffing
Shamong, New Jersey
ONLY THE LONELY
Re: James G. Poulos’s Beside Ourselves: The Lonely Lost in Our Social Labyrinths:
Garrison Keillor once did a searing little bit on the way society fears those who “keep themselves to themselves” — among other things, he pointed out that every mass murderer and terrorist was described by his neighbors as “a quiet man who kept himself to himself.”
As I have been one of those who enjoys her own company, all my life, it has been a long and difficult road to explain to well-meaning people that I am not “lonely”; I just want to be left alone. Once after my sisters had dropped me off home after a family party, one of them mentioned that “I felt so sorry for you because you were all alone.” I told her that my own thought was “Thank God they are all gone at last!” When I travel, I wear a badge that says “Don’t Interrupt Me.”
My point is that the current splintering of the world into niches, some of them holding only one of us, could very well be the saving grace of the country. Gradually the desire to peruse the archaeology of the Hittites or the possibility of establishing a presence on Titan instead of obsessing about why Brangelina have not shown their baby to anybody is becoming less a sign of instability and more a sign of personal choice. Slowly the preference to travel alone to old cemeteries and not to be deafened and crammed into a nightclub is becoming evidence of interest in genealogy or history and not a sign of mental illness. My experience has been that the “life of quiet desperation” the poet spoke of is not a function of too few contacts with the rest of the world, but too many.
Now if we could just convince those who are incapable of realizing that although they are absorbed in their own world, the rest of us are still out here, to keep themselves to themselves! There’s nothing funnier than the man howling loudly and tunelessly along with his iPod who suddenly realizes that he is not alone and that everyone in the train is laughing at him. Now we have to work to impose that same sense of embarrassment on people who read loudly to their children in airplanes, blabber on their cell phones during Mass, and insist on talking to people who want to be left alone.
Don’t assume that the person in your office who comes and goes every day in silence is unhappy. She may be absorbed in creating a masterpiece.
— Kate Shaw
Hey lonely conservatives —
Try a simple proven method to integrate into society — go to church, every Sunday (or Saturday). This will address every single one of Mr. Poulos concerns about isolation and the loss of society.
The modern conservative movement has forgotten this historic, key tenet of conservatism, of Americanism. Try it, you’ll meet a lot of good, similarly responsible, respectful folks who know what they are doing and WHY.
I’m sure that if the building is open for service, they will welcome you.
Or look at it as investment — church usually lasts about an hour; HELL lasts forever.
— Dan Hirsch
P.S. I would tend to avoid the churches in the news lately — they are under the direct attack of those with a specific agenda. Consider Poulos’s article and the fact that the two lesbian women in Massachusetts for whom “gay” marriage was established have split up in less than three years, and you might consider this advice worth heeding.
So, will all the missiles being launched at Israeli civilians by Hizbollah, with the tacit agreement of the Lebanese government, who will be the first to file war crime charges in The Hague against PM Siniora and Nasrallah?
— Wolf Terner
Fair lawn, New Jersey
I have always liked Jed Babbin’s insights and he tends to be very knowledgeable about his issues, but I think this time Greg Richard’s letter has been more precise in describing what is happening in the Middle East. There is something going on out of the ordinary and, yes, Bush should encourage the Israelites to continue their battle to destroy these thugs. In fact, I was kind of hoping to see them link up with our forces in Iraq and thus face down those other cowardly thugs in Iran. This is a battle whose time has come and let’s have at it. I also would like to see the traitors and cowards in this nation brought to their knees, including those that are hiding in Congress. However, I know that won’t happen given the level of ignorance on issues in this nation among the general population. One encouraging sign, though, is the acceptance by a majority now of the presence of WMDs in Iraq prior to our going in. Maybe there is hope after all.
— Pete Chagnon
Re: Hal G.P. Colebatch’s Losing Scotland:
My understanding of the situation in Scotland is that the economy AND population are both declining — while the opposite is true for England. Might this add to the Scottish vitriol?
— Michael Nevins
Oak Park, Illinois
TRUTH COMES OUT
Re: Letters under “Mensa’s Seal of Approval” in Reader Mail’s Exceptional Work:
Before I say my final goodbye, I would like thank David Gonzalez for correcting himself. I know that I’ve provided entertainment for some of you, but the interchange has regressed to uninteresting character assassinations and rebuttals, without any substantive discussion of issues. It was my curiosity about Ben Stein that brought me to this site, and I see that he’s still on automatic pilot churning out the same tear-jerking baloney. My grandfather served in both World Wars, my uncle died in World War II, my father was ruined for life by war, and my mother’s family escaped the Armenian holocaust, but I still have no tolerance whatsoever for Ben Stein’s self-serving message. He is an intellectual coward who is skillfully leading you down the path of Zionism, a cause that is of no benefit to Americans and that has come to represent little more than ethnic discrimination, military bullying, and the refusal to assimilate — the polar opposite of the American ideal. If you want to read the opinions of someone who actually knows something useful and cares about the truth, try Paul Krugman at the New York Times.
Good luck to you all.
— Paul Dorell
Highland Park, Illinois