GO JUMP INTO A LAKER
Re: Enemy Central’s Pressed for Time:
Oh, come on. Reading Enemy Central is usually the highlight of my week, but you guys should be calling Marshall Wittmann Friend of the Week on the grounds that he’s the enemy of our enemy. The Lakers are part and parcel of the Hollywood glitterati culture, which is why they do Enemy Central-esque things like crediting trendy pseudo-Eastern religions for their success. Also, conservatives should embrace the principle that the rules should remain the same from one game to the next. The whole point was that the referees called Game 6 differently from how they’d been calling previous games. Phil Jackson complaining that the referees were too hard on Shaq before Game 6 seems eerily reminiscent of Al Gore whining about the Florida election rules, now doesn’t it?
— Jay Sulzmann
One correction seems necessary in Francis X. Rocca’s terrific tribute to Laurel and Hardy in “Comics Without Honor.” In characterizing Stan Laurel as apparently “nasty,” Rocca quotes from Harry Mount’s London Spectator review of Simon Louvish’s recent Stan & Ollie biography. But in the same review Mount castigates Louvish for sloppy research and extravagant language, and it doesn’t fit well with other biographies to call Stan Laurel “an aggressive, greedy egomaniac, bossing directors around, forever seeking and getting more money than his partner.”
Stan Laurel had his share of flaws, God knows, the most obvious being the kind of insecurity you find now and then in brainy people who’ve had little formal education. He was prone to sentimentality, overfond of practical jokes, and frequently in the outs with Hal Roach, his producer. But he worked well with his directors and supplied many of the team’s best gags on site. As the idea man, he also worked long hours editing rushes after each day’s shooting. At the height of Laurel and Hardy’s popularity in the late 1930s, Laurel’s studio salary was about $120,000, substantially more than Hardy’s $75,000. But the difference was never begrudged by Ollie, who preferred the links and the racetrack to the editing room. “Stan does all the work,” Ollie was fond of saying — and one reason for their colossal success as the greatest comedy team in cinematic history was their close friendship, which lasted 30 years, from their fortuitous teaming until Ollie’s death in 1957. And Oliver Hardy, the Southern gent, didn’t much care for nasty people.
— John R. Dunlap
San Jose, CA
Re: Dave Shiflett’s Tennessee’s Tea Party:
Dave Shiflett captures the feel here in Nashville with regards to an income tax, but he fails to put the situation in its political context:
Governor Don Sundquist is a Republican who professed that Tennessee does not need an income tax before he determined his legacy will cost an additional $1 billion per year. Tennessee voted for George W. Bush over sometime resident Al Gore in 2000; and, now it looks like an old retread, Lamar Alexander, will win the establishment money in the next senatorial election.
Rank-and-file Republicans (and Democrats, for that matter) in Tennessee have demonstrated that they want fiscally conservative representation on the state and national levels. By its own inaction, the GOP has forced radio talk-show hosts to carry the mantle on this issue. If an income tax is implemented, there will be two types of Republican politicians in Tennessee — those who voted for an income tax, and those who didn’t do enough to stop one. Neither category will be looked upon favorably in the next election.
Please — somebody make this a national issue and honk your horns in solidarity with us! Do it for the children!
— Brian Oberlander
FROM THE PROWLER TO THE GROWLER
To me the real “American Prowler” is the venerable EA6-B Prowler flown by the U.S. Navy as its carrier based electronic warfare or “Wild Weasel” aircraft, affectionately called the “Sky Pig.” There is a good story there if you do a little research. The Prowler fleet is starting to fall apart, especially after performing above and beyond the call of duty over Bosnia. Morale is low and the Navy is taking way too much time in coming up with a replacement (most likely a modified Boeing F-18 Super Hornet to be named the EA-18 “Growler”).
— Brian Murphy
Re: Jeremy Lott’s Commencement Duress:
Isaac Newton not coming out of the rain? Is Mr. Lott possibly confusing Newton and Benjamin Franklin?
Jeremy Lott replies: Nope, they were both all wet.