Received the following letter from Kenneth...


June 14, 1993|By THEO LIPPMAN JR.

I RECENTLY received the following letter from Kenneth Lasson, a law professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law, in response to a June 7 column:

"Dear Mr. Lippman, Beware. I regard as defamatory your accusation that I 'became what I beheld,' simply because I used footnotes in my Harvard Law Review article attacking modern legal scholarship.

"In fact I took pains to point out that the notes had been added as an accommodation to the editors -- who not only had insisted upon them, but (like you) missed those that were snuck in as purposeful parody. Indeed I went so far as to offer sending my readers an annotated version if they wanted to avoid bushwacking through the thickets of all that bottom-matter. . . . Apologize, or risk being condemned yourself to tiny-type oblivion in my next law review article." O.K., I apologize.

* * *

If the Guinness Book of Records has an entry for most errors made in an editorial correction, I think I probably will claim it. Last month I wrote that the 1968 presidential election would have turned out differently if a few votes had shifted in a few states.

Alan Kaufmann wrote me that my arithmetic was wrong. In making that correction (May 27) I made the following errors in one paragraph: I said it takes 269 electoral votes to be elected president; it takes 270. I misspelled Kaufmann's name K-a-u-f-m-a-n. And I misspelled Ohio I-l-l-i-n-o-i-s. I apologize.

* * *

Here is a belated response to Joyce Savelle of Orlando, Fla., who complained about a column I wrote many months ago. I think I kept putting her letter on the bottom of the pile because I couldn't get past the opening paragraph: "This letter will serve to advise you that in my opinion you are stupid, prejudiced and ill-informed." Ill-informed?!! Have a care, madam!

I finally read it through. She was upset about an anti-Mississippi column. She wrote, "Mississippians are always portrayed as low class idiots by the news media and I resent the hell out of it." I apologize. Many Mississippians are high class idiots.

Sorry. Couldn't resist. Save yourself a stamp. I apologize for that, too.

(That Joyce writes from Florida helps confirm my theory that Mississippi is the only state with a real expatriate class. I have known hundreds of ex-Mississippians, admirable almost without exception.)

* * *

Like most in the news media, I have often referred to the "Confederate Battle Flag." I don't think that requires an apology, but an amplification is in order.

Kathleen Clement Carr of the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Va., writes to inform me that the flag is technically "the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia." I like to think she reminds me rather than informs me. Many years ago I was a student of Bell Irvin Wiley, the great Southern historian. I'm sure he must have taught me that. (Bell was from Mississippi, by the way.)

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