I WROTE THAT I hadn't seen a good liberal magazine of ideas
lately. I got a letter signed only "A Nation and Lippman reader" saying that that magazine was one, and "since you appear to be more open-minded than the rest of the Sterne gang, a subscription will follow."
The magazine has started coming in. I am enjoying getting re-acquainted with Navasky, Trillin and the rest after many years. I admire their work, but I have to tell my anonymous benefactor that when it comes to open-mindedness, appearances can be deceiving.
And then I wrote that Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman almost became a presidential candidate at the 1884 Republican National Convention. A reader requesting that I not use her name sent me copies of 1884 presidential elector ballots from Prince George's County. The Democratic ballot was illustrated with smoking cannon and American flag (for patriotism). The Republican ballot was illustrated with a raccoon (for industry).
And then I wrote that the significance of Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf's emergence as a star was that being fat was in. Lt. Col. Frank Novak of Baltimore wrote that the real significance was not girth but rank. He said briefers in World War I were usually second lieutenants, in World War II first lieutenants and captains, in Korea mostly majors, in Vietnam lieutenant colonels and some full colonels, but in Desert Storm "generals with Def Sec stepping in now and then." Next time he foresees "Most likely by Vice Pres & Pres himself."
And then I wrote that the Eastern Shore of Maryland though sparsely populated should become a state called "Choptankia." Cambridge native Joseph Spear responded that it would make more sense for Delaware, the Eastern Shore of Maryland and the Eastern Shore of Virginia to become the state of "Delmarva." With over a million population, it would be as large as or larger than a dozen other states.
And then I wrote that the Democrats needed to nominate Southerners for president and vice president in 1992 to win the South and nation. C. J. Skamarkas of Baltimore rebutted that the Democrats should concentrate on the 10 states Michael Dukakis won and the nine states he came fairly close in, none of which is in the South and which have just enough electoral votes to win. Seems to me I've heard that song before.
In response to that same column, Walton Windsor of Baltimore wrote, "Mr. Theodore (?) Lipmann. Sir: American citizens are hypocritical, perverted and, often, stupid, when it comes to politics." Why be so wishy-washy, Walt? Why not tell us what you really think?
By the way, Theo is not short for Theodore, as I explained on th25th anniversary of changing my by-line from "Ted Lippman." That column prompted my favorite but anonymous fan letter of all time:
There once was a writer named Ted/Who as Theo sought to be read/With ruminations his chore/He produced great literature/And I love to take him to bed.