Reader's list of columnists is very, very dangerous

January 31, 1994|By ROGER SIMON

Letters, calls and the roar of the crowd:

John O'Neill, Detroit: My pieces appear from time to time next to your column in the Detroit News. My note is prompted by your column regarding the assassination of John Kennedy.

I agree with everything you wrote in the piece but take exception to one point: I know the date JFK was born and I do not have to look it up.

Unfortunately, you are right, however. Most Americans probably don't know the date of Kennedy's birth. It was May 29, 1917.

COMMENT: I sure didn't know it. What strikes me about it is that John Kennedy would be turning 77 this spring. It is hard to imagine him old. Kennedy used to say that when he left the presidency, he wanted to own a newspaper. Which means I could have ended up working for him. And every morning he would come in and slap me on the back and say: "Are you writing with vig-ah, today, Mr. Simon?" And I'd say: "I don't discuss my columns with editors, Mr. President."

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Lawrence D. Lease, Brooklyn Park: I am a Hunter Safety Instructor Volunteer with the State of Maryland. I have been hunting for 23 of my 33 years and now work for Hunters Haven Taxidermy and Archery Shop in Glen Burnie.

There are many reasons to hunt. I feel if more people would do this the world would have fewer problems.

Our founders were hunters. We have hunted for 100,000 years. There isn't any mention of hunting in the Constitution because they probably could not envision a day when that "given" would be challenged, any more than they could envision lewd lyrics would be claiming First Amendment rights.

COMMENT: Not to quibble, but the Founding Fathers were very familiar with lewdness in songs, plays, drawings and literature. But they wrote the First Amendment anyway.

But back to hunting: Actually, I can understand hunting a lot more than I can understand taxidermy.

Why do people want to look every day at what they killed? Even John Wayne Gacy had the decency to bury his victims beneath the floorboards of his home rather than mount them on his walls.

Besides, every time I go into a house and see a moose head, I am always tempted to walk around to the other side of the wall to see where the rest of the moose is.

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Edward V. Vienuzis, South Barrington, Illinois: Regarding your column on Ted Danson's jokes about black people entitled "Danson's joke a black mark against comedian": One man's joke may be another's insult, but that does not mean we should stop telling jokes.

By the way, why is it that in portraying Ted Danson's performance as negative, bad or wrong, you describe it as a "black mark" against him. Never mind, Roger, I'm sure your heart was in the right place.

COMMENT: The "black mark" phrase appeared in the headline in your local paper, not in my column. I don't write the headlines. In this case, the headline writer should have shown sensitivity and not singled out any race. So he should have called it a "plaid mark" against Danson.

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William D. Searle, Scottsdale, Arizona: To: Jack Anderson, Dave Barry, Jimmy Breslin, David Broder, Richard Cohen, Linda Ellerbee, Jack Germond & Jules Witcover, Ellen Goodman, Nat Hentoff, James Hoagland, Molly Ivins, Jesse Jackson, Murray Kempton, Coretta Scott King, Michael Kinsley, Anthony Lewis, Christopher Matthews, Colman McCarthy, Mary McGrory, Ralph Nader, David Nyhan, Clarence Page, Les Payne, Neal Pierce, William Pfaff, Anna Quindlen, William Raspberry, Robert Reno, Andy Rooney, Carl Rowan, Hobart Rowen, Mike Royko, Roger Simon, Calvin Trillin.

Subject: Political campaign reform.

Please consider the attached essay. Even if you think it's hopelessly naive and impractical in today's cynical climate, I suspect you might be intrigued with its simplicity and relevance.

COMMENT: I am more intrigued with the list of people you have sent it to. It seems to be every syndicated columnist in America who is to the left of Pat Buchanan. I think such lists are very, very dangerous. What if Ollie North should become president and get hold of that list? We'd all be rounded up and traded for hostages.

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