Garver Readers Have Their Say

Modern Mailbag graphic for Lloyd Garver's Modern Times column, roundup of reader e-mail, 6-21-02 AP / CBS

It's that time again. Some people are speaking from the heart and making excellent points. Others are angry and vilifying those who disagree with them. No, I'm not talking about the current presidential campaign. I'm talking about e-mails I've received recently in response to my columns.


In "Put The Sin Back Into Sin City," I discussed Las Vegas being "family friendly:"

MGKERN: "I agree wholeheartedly. I hate it when there are a bunch of little kids roaming around when we are happily losing our money in Vegas."


In "Sex Rescues Politics Again," I said that the reason politicians like to talk about sexual issues like Janet Jackson exposing her breast for a nano-second and same-sex marriages is because they like to avoid talking about more important issues. However, many readers didn't think there were any issues that were "more important:"

SAM: "Your fingers aren't anywhere near the pulse of America, nor do you get the whole concept of why we don't want gay marriages. I won't even waist [sic] my time explaining it to you because you've cowed down to the moral standards of your kind. Fortunately for America you don't run this country."

DOUG: "I have a number of friends who are gay or lesbian couples. Thinking about their long-term dedicated relationships that have had to endure constant societal prejudice gives STRENGTH to my 34-year marriage to my wife. I tell myself that if they can work that hard to keep things together, I should do no less."

THE REV. MAURICE: "When the nation fails to demand His standard of decency, accountability to God can be our only fate."

WHAN: "You need to know that I am a 'conservative Christian.' ... While gay marriage is a big issue, your eternal destiny is a bigger one."

FROM 84-YEAR-OLD M.V.: "I'm not in favor of same-sex marriages, nor am I in favor of abortion. But I firmly believe that the separation of church and state is fundamentally what this country is all about and we should not try to impose our beliefs on others."


My response to Congress passing the "cheeseburger bill" was "The Fat And Smoke Conglomerates."

DAVE: "Think I will go have an 'over-sugarized' doughnut with a cigarette chaser."

RON: "If obesity overtakes smoking as the leading killer in the USA, does that mean Congress will ban the fast food industry from advertising on TV, magazines and billboards like they did the cigarette industry?"


In "Spelling Still Kounts," I expressed my outrage at the fact that you find misspelled words everywhere these days. And, uh, I do mean "everywhere."

RHODA: "Overall, I totally agree with you. However, you condemned the attitude that some people have of, 'What's the big deal if a kid thinks the head of a school is the principle (not PRINCIPAL), or that you write a thank you note on stationery? (not STATIONARY)' Well, you DO write a thank you note on stationery. I hate to be picky, but after all, you started it."

Needless to say, Rhoda wasn't the only reader to point out my mistake. I'd like to say I did it on purpose to prove my point, but that would be a "lye." Fortunately, some of the redness in my face went away after getting the next e-mail:

RICHARD: "As a lifelong poor speller I've taken refuge in one guiding principle when it comes to putting anything down on paper: spelling a word the same way each and every time indicates a decided lack of imagination on the part of the writer."


In "Something You're Dying To Write," I talked about the current trend of people writing their own obituaries. One response was touching, funny, and bizarre:

ALAN: "As a terminal cancer patient, I've decided to have the following inscribed on my tombstone:
    Here I lie, in the dirt
    I can see up your skirt.
Please go to my website and make a huge donation:"


In "TIPtoeing Around New York," I wrote about how much I enjoyed visiting the city and how pleasantly surprised I was that it was so friendly. One New Yorker disagreed:

MAC: "I'm from New York. New York, friendly? Yeah, and the lion at the Bronx zoo is friendly too, just as long as there are bars between him and me. God ... how I hate New York."


I received some spirited responses to "The Right Choyce For Dems' V.P.," in which I suggested that Dan Quayle would make a perfect running mate for John Kerry.

KIT: "LOL. Great stuff."

PATRICK: "Amazingly juvenile worthless nonsense."


"Silver Bullets, Tarnished Excuses" was a parody of the administration's participation in and reaction to the 9/11 hearings.

JOHN: "It is my belief that the Bush administration has done so much more to fight terrorism than any liberal Democrats. Your views seem far from the truth to me."

KEN: "I nearly got kicked out of the restaurant for laughing so loudly ... Keep up the good (and funny) work."


"Margin Of Error" introduced the first Garver Poll. It dealt with such subjects as President Bush, Barry Bonds, the price of gasoline, and people who peek in other people's medicine cabinets. I got the feeling that not everybody took it too seriously — and that was the appropriate reaction. For example:

ARTHUR: "A, B, B, B, A, A, B, B,... but not necessarily in that order."

PAT: "There is definitely a place in heaven for anyone who can make a complete stranger smile or laugh (without profanity I might add)!"

(Maybe Pat should write to the Reverend Maurice and to WHAN on my behalf).


"Guess Who's Coming To Dinner" was my RSVP to Tom DeLay. I haven't heard back yet as to whether I'm still welcome at the dinner even though I plan on bringing a salad or dessert instead of $5000.


Finally, I got an e-mail from MARG, who asked:

"Is CBS deliberately sending viruses to people who complain about CBS? I know of 5 people who say 'yes.'"

I assured her that we are happy to hear all opinions at CBS, and nobody here would send a reader a computer virus. But was this too hasty of a response on my part? Isn't anything possible? After all, I didn't used to believe that Elvis was still alive and working for the CIA, either.



Lloyd Garver has written for many television shows, ranging from "Sesame Street" to "Family Ties" to "Frasier." He has also read many books, some of them in hardcover.

By Lloyd Garver
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