- Dear Sarah Palin,
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January 10, 2011
I read with interest your plans to publish a sanitized version of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. I know that removing the “N” word is controversial, but you really just want to protect sensibilities of those who are offended by the word. I get it. So here are some other books I think you should consider altering:
1. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. You know how often the word “gay” appears in this book and its sequels? In the olden days, it meant happy, or merry, or fun. But we hardly want kids of today thinking that Alcott espoused alternative lifestyles. I suggest using more modern words, like “rad” or “the bomb”. While you’re at it, the next door neighbor is named Laurie, but it’s a boy, not a girl. That could be confusing because in modern parlance, that’s a girls’ name. I suggest you change it to something more current, like Brendan.
2. Gone With The Wind. It’s hard to know where to start in the book that includes the KKK, rape within marriage, and serial marriage, but my biggest concern is Scarlett O’Hara’s obsession with her 17-inch waist. I think it could lead to eating disorders in girls. I realize that some might think this shows the vanity of the character, but we can just have her gaze in a mirror, or something.
3. Cat in the Hat. You’ve got child abandonment and stranger danger, but I’m really worried about all those things under the Cat’s hat. They look, well, foreign, even alien. Has anyone thought about how that might promote illegal immigration? Can we change the book to show that they are legal immigrants? Maybe one will have his green card visible?
I know that other art isn’t your metier, but I think you should consider expanding your sanitation project to the visual arts, too. Consider all the children who aren’t exposed to classic art because it contains nudity. Slap a pair of board shorts on the David and more people can see most of what Michelangelo wrought in stone. Or all those naked cherubim on the Sistine Chapel ceiling? a diaper or pull up would solve that problem.
In old TV shows, perhaps we can use computer technology to alter some of the things that are offensive to today’s youth (and their parents), like the constant drinking after work by men, how boys in old shows often resort to violence to deal with bullying and proudly sport black eyes after a fight, and all the smoking that goes on. We certainly can’t promote that. We can turn the cigarettes into pencils or carrots or something.
I know that there are those who will not appreciate your attempt to change art so that people aren’t offended, but I really do understand. Why shouldn’t art and literature be easy? Why should we have to consider the time and place where works were created in order to better understand the society of the time? What’s important is now, right? Not where we came from.
I’ll let you know when I’ve gone through all my other books if I’ve found more projects for you.
January 9, 2011
You might think that your words and actions — talking of putting people in the “cross-hairs” and putting gun-sites on various districts — don’t matter. But they do. Didn’t you teach your children to think before they speak? Did you tell them that what they say and the words they choose matter?
Maybe not, given that your children have used homophobic slurs in social media. When you accuse good people of supporting “death panels” rather than giving a reasoned response outlining the reasons you disagree with a proposal, you encourage people who don’t look deeply into a subject to think that their life depends on drastic — perhaps violent — action.
If you truly believe your views are correct, don’t concoct Tweet-sized soundbites to rile up the masses. Explain your reasons and encourage people to study the proposals and come to a conclusion. Reasoned discourse doesn’t lead to violence. Telling people that socialists are taking over the government and want to put your grandmother down like a dog could just push someone unstable over the edge. Telling them to take down their opponents? That’s just asking for a loon to pick up a gun.
Think then speak. I tell my 13 year old that. I shouldn’t have to tell someone who once ran a state.
August 16, 2010
A few questions and comments:
First, if this was a church or synagogue, would you still be opposed to this? Think hard before you answer. Be truthful. If so, you’re being hypocritical.
Are you one of those people saying, “Anywhere but there”? Do you say you have nothing against mosques in general? You aren’t alone in your words. But it isn’t just “there”. Or rather, “there” appears to be anywhere a Muslim community wants to build a mosque. There have been protests against proposed mosques in cities around the country — California, Tennessee — and a mosque was burned in Jacksonville, FL. You cannot hold the moderate Muslim majority responsible for the vile acts of a few on 9/11 any more than you can blame all Jews for any bad acts in Israel and the occupied territories, or all the Christians of Germany responsible for the Holocaust.
The quickest way to radicalize a new generation of Muslims is to deny them the same rights you have. Look at Israel. You think that if the Palestinians there had the same opportunities as Israeli citizens and the same standard of living and the same quality of life they would be hurling rocks and smuggling rockets? Schools, jobs, and moderate religious education can keep kids too busy (and ambitious) to want to fly a plane into a building.
The group in question has the right to build there. Newt Gingrich said that no one has the right to put up a Nazi billboard near the Holocaust Museum. Actually, they do. That’s what freedom of speech is. It would be ugly and awful, but it isn’t even close to what this group of people have in mind. These are not criminals who want to glorify what happened on 9/11. Their goals are the very opposite of that. They want a place to pray — which they’ve been doing at the site two blocks from Ground Zero for some time — and to provide moderate religious education, a place for community events, and swimming facilities that cater to the specific religious requirements of Islam. They think it will be a good thing to show Americans that not all Muslims think it’s a great idea to fly planes into buildings and teach young Muslims that doing so would be against Islam.
Let young Muslims learn about their religion in a responsible way near the place where a group of crazy co-religionists tried to kill America and all we stand for. What better place for them to learn moderation and see what evil can do when given a chance to take root?
I want to say again: there is no way to deny this group of people this right without an outright show of discrimination and bigotry. And there is no better way to radicalize a new bunch of young Muslims than to tell them their worth is less than yours.
July 11, 2010
I suppose this is the first time in a long time you have been disappointed in your son, Colton Harris-Moore. His capture in the Bahamas went directly against what you had told him to do: evade authorities and find a place that had no extradition treaty with the United States. Maybe he didn’t know the meaning of the word since he lacked so much formal education.
He’s obviously a bright young man,although how much of that we can lay at your door is questionable. You certainly don’t seem to have encouraged him to pursue anything but a continued life of crime, making communities so angry that many armed themselves and probably would have been happy to shoot your son if they’d come in contact with him. Two years ago, he probably would have been given probation and still have had a chance at making something of his life. He could have been someone who gave Bill Gates a run for his money, been the next Albert Schweitzer (do either of you know who that is?), or used his love of animals to become a vet. Instead, by stealing other people’s planes — and crashing them — by taking their cars and boats, by breaking into their homes and businesses and taking what they worked so hard for, he went from being a petty criminal to being someone who will have to answer to local, state, national, and international authorities.
And you? You seem to be more interested in whether you can make a buck off your kid than whether he’ll spend time in prison. I guess that makes sense: the only thing you taught this young man was that it’s okay to do what you want and take what you want as long as you don’t get caught and do it in a manner creative enough that someone can write a book about it. I only hope that your tacit support of him means that you will be under the same Son of Sam restrictions as he is and will not be allowed to profit from his crimes.
Lastly, I note that you have a sign on your property that says not to trespass or risk being shot. How come your property is so sacred when you and your child obviously don’t think any one else’s is?
Good luck to you and your kid. You’ll both need it.
May 29, 2010
It’s no secret that politically speaking, I’m a liberal democrat. I keep thinking about what it might have been like if you had become president rather than Barack Obama. I was very torn during the primaries. I wasn’t sure you could win. I wasn’t sure he could lead. I actually felt you’d both be good presidents.
But the more I think about it, the happier I am he won. And I mean that in a much nicer way than it comes off. Should you have won, I can’t begin to think who you might have chosen as Secretary of State that would have been as hardworking and effective as you have been. Joe Biden? I’d be worried he’d say the wrong thing. You couldn’t hire your husband, although he’d have been a grand choice.
No, the more I think of it and the longer I see you in action, the happier I am that you helm the Department of State. I can’t think of anyone better suited to the job, more capable, more unflappable. In a way, your job is the most important in the country. You are the face abroad, the person who brings the figurative force to bear so that the literal force isn’t needed.
Some people are born to do certain things: Ichiro Suzuki was born to play ball; IB Singer to write novels; Yitzak Perlman to play the violin. You were born to do this job.
And I’ll bet you don’t miss the campaigning one bit, either.
Keep up the good work. You make women — and I’d like to think men — everywhere proud.
May 25, 2010
I find myself chagrined to be writing a letter to you. That’s not what I envisioned when I started this blog. However, I saw a picture of you in court the other day and almost fainted. No matter what color your hair or how strung out you were, you used to be a really pretty girl. I’m coming up in a few years on a half century of life and I look younger than you do.
If nothing else gets you to change your ways, take a good look at the pictures that are being taken of you; hold up the mirror that’s on your “coffee” table and look at yourself under real light — like during the day when the sun shines. You’re face is telling you something that hangers on are probably loathe to say: stop it.
Your body has had enough. And while you said in the past that you loved Marilyn Monroe and identified with her in some way, you really don’t want to be dead before you’ve hit 25 do you? She even made it to 36. And she looked better at the end than you do now. You’re closer to how Judy Garland looked at the end. Puffy, wrinkled, unkempt. You look like you smell bad. Get a grip girl. America loves a comeback. Give us one.
May 23, 2010
I’ve been a fan of Lost since it started. I used to tell Husband he Really Needed to Watch this Show, but he didn’t believe me. Until this season when he irritatingly got into it and kept asking me question after question about who was who and what meant what. Mostly, I couldn’t answer.
I’m not sure I liked the ending. I think it’s a little bit of a cop-out to make them all end up in some heavenly afterlife together. Except Ben. I could maybe try to think of it as Jack hallucinating that heaven as he dies. That would work better for me. But then you wonder when is he dying? Is it right after the crash — you see that show in the bamboo, so you wonder, and then it gets way to close to “it was all just a dream” and a big rip of of Wizard of Oz.
I have one burning question. At the end of the first season, there was a scene where everything got close to flashing and a plan was going to come down and someone tried to call someone in an igloo or in the North Pole to warn them and people dressed up in cold weather gear did something and it was all fine again. I don’t believe I dreamed that scene, but it was a one-off. The people in the igloo (that’s how I remember it) were never seen again (although I think one of the actresses, an Asian woman, looked familiar enough that I would have thought her character would have merited something further). What was that all about?
All in all, though, great television. Great characters, great writing, compulsive viewing. Someone will remake it in 20 years and all these retired geezers will be telling their grandkids how crappy the new one is compared to the old one. And really, as a writer and creator, what more can you ask for than for someone to imitate your work and still have people think you did it best?
Thanks for the good hours. When you get a minute, tell me what that igloo thing was all about.
May 22, 2010
I just spent an hour going through all my privacy settings on Facebook. At least I think I did. There’s no easy way to tell whether I’m done or not, no easy little setting that I can click on from the start that says, “Hey, just don’t share any of my info with anyone other than my friends unless I tell you to.”
That should be the default. I’m still not clear what other people can find out about me from my Facebook account. And since I know you are aware of how upset people are getting over the privacy issues surrounding your company, I’d think you are planning to do something to make it all a little more user friendly. And by user I mean me, not some hacker in a third world country trying to steal my identity.
So, are you a mensch who’s going to fix this? Or are you a jerk who’s going to make it easy for people to be preyed upon unless they spend the hour going through all the permutations of what is or isn’t allowed to be seen by which groups of people?
Please reaffirm my faith in humanity by being the former.
Thanks in advance.
May 21, 2010
I don’t know where to begin with you. I’m not going to agree with your Libertarian politics, and you won’t agree with my tree hugging practically communist brand of liberalism. So let’s not try to find common ground there. But here’s something I think we can agree on: freedom of speech.
You can’t stand up on Wednesday and say that bigots may be offensive but they have a right to speak and the next day condemn the President’s comments on BP as unAmerican. He has as much right as anyone to castigate the oil giant. And frankly, you’re pretty out of step with most Americans if you think it shouldn’t be held accountable for its actions.
Yes, accidents happen. But if I accidentally break your window playing a game of catch, I still have to pay for the damages, including the cut on your foot that needed stitches after you stepped on some of the glass. If I balk at fixing your window or paying your healthcare costs, you have every right to get angry and even take legal action to ensure I meet my responsibilities. That’s not unAmerican, nor is talking about it to the neighbors.
I could talk about how you think it’s okay for private businesses to discriminate based on race (I would assume or religion, gender, or whatever, as well), but I’m not going to change your mind. For now, let’s just be consistent: if the KKK has the right to call Jews and African Americans bad names, then President Obama has the right to say that he’ll keep his boot on the neck of BP to make sure the company makes things as right as they can be made in the Gulf of Mexico and the states impacted by the spill. And I hope he keeps his word.
May 17, 2010
So you don’t think Roman Polanski can be punished? How ’bout you deliver up one of your young daughters to him when she turns 13 in a couple years. If he drugs her and has sex with her, then tell me if you still think that he’s suffered enough.
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