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  1. says

    You wrote “[Nader] should have offered some kind of apology for the personal nature of his attack on Obama, or at least said something to clarify what could be heard — and doubtless was heard not just by Smith — as a racist remark.”
    What does “personal nature” mean as you used it? Why is “personal” criticism objectionable? How might Nader or anyone express that Obama is too beholden to corporate paymasters and insensitive to the plight of the oppressed (including blacks), in a manner that you would deem appropriate?
    In what sense is the explanation Nader gave to Smith a failure to make it clear the criticism of Obama is not racist? Where exactly is the ambiguity concerning racism? In other words, what part of Nader’s explanation suggests racism?

  2. says

    It was an ad hominem attack. That’s how I mean it. And that’s objectionable. Nader didn’t have to call him an “Uncle Tom” to make his point. I’m willing to believe he got carried away with the cute sound of it: Uncle Sam vs. Uncle Tom. But given the opportunity to take back his remark, Nader refused. Criticism of Obama policy is not racist. But calling him an “Uncle Tom” is. The term is an insult reserved for an African American. That’s not ambiguous. That’s self-evident. Have you ever heard a white person called an Uncle Tom? If Obama were not black, Nader would not have used the term. That makes it racist.

  3. says

    You are fabulous. I love what you wrote about Shay’s Rebellion. Too true. United States of Amnesia, as Gore Vidal once noted. Been meaning to send this for awhile. Regina Hackett
    Dear Regina — Awww gee, thnx. — Jan

  4. says

    Hi Jan,
    My name is Jay Glennie and I launch my project chronicling British Oscar Awardees next year, named Britannium. I have the full permission of A.M.P.A.S and have interviewed many Oscar recipients and their colleagues and family.
    Your biography of William Wyler is a wonderful read and has been of great help within my research. To name but a few of William Wyler’s film that have contained British personal, The Letter, Mrs. Miniver, Ben-Hur, Roman Holiday, The Collector, The Heiress and Wuthering Heights.
    Would it be at all possible if I could either chat with you regarding these films or use quotations from the book, with of course full credits for you?
    I would be delighted to discuss further – Warmest regards Jay

  5. Amanda Sroka says

    Dear Jan,
    I am currently a student at NYU working on an undergraduate senior honors thesis and I am interested in doing an in depth study and analysis of sorts of Mary Beach’s collages. Because not much is written on her work, I was hoping that perhaps I could get in touch with some of the people who worked with her creatively and collaboratively in an attempt to broaden my understanding of both her life and her art. I understand that this may seem like a rather specific request, but if you would be so kind as to write back to me perhaps I could simply as you a few questions. I appreciate your time and I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience!

  6. Tara Kelley says

    Dear Jan,
    I am reading your excellent biography of William Wyler and have a question regarding his friendship with John Huston and a possible Huston credit on “The Shakedown.”
    It seems you receive many pleas for assistance; add mine, along with my thanks in advance for your expertise and assistance.
    Thank you,
    P.S. As an Algren fan, I agree with your assessment of the man & his work.

  7. Rodman Gregg says

    Mr. Herman,
    re: your fine book, “A Talent for Trouble”, no superlatives can adequately express the thoroughness and entertainment value of this book. As a longtime film historian and film executive, I read with fascination the story you assembled on the great Willy Wyler. He was quite irreplaceable, and your narrative on his life managed to make him live once more, if only in our imagination. Well done.