The 'Passion' Over A Movie

<B>Rooney</B> Reads Record-Breaking Viewer Responses

The following is a weekly 60 Minutes commentary by CBS News Correspondent Andy Rooney.

Of a record 30,000 pieces of mail and email we got, not much of it mentioned Pat Robertson's conversation with God.

Most of it concerned Mel Gibson and his movie about the crucifixion of Christ.

I think the mail was a good indication of how bitterly divided our country is right now. I hope I'm not contributing to that - even though I'm right and everyone else is wrong.

Here are some excerpts from a few of the nasty letters:

"After watching your segment on 60 Minutes Sunday, I was reminded of what a trashy liberal you are."
--Jonathan Hendrick, Portland, Ore.

"Please forgive me for not writing to you all the times you were absolutely right on a point...I must now point out how terribly wrong you were..."
--Thomas Steinke, Indianapolis, Ind.

"I am so angry I could spit!!!"
--Susie Baker, Normal, Ill

"You are some hateful old bastard"
--Ron, Phillipsburg, N.J.

Gary Noel of Baton Rouge, La., sent me this, along with a check:
"I have a once in a lifetime offer for you. I would like to treat you to a showing of the "Passion of The Christ." I have enclosed a check for $15.00 which should cover your popcorn & soft drinks!"

Nice letter from James S. Gardner of Bethesda, Md.:
"You asinine, bottom-dwelling, numb-skulled, low-life, slimy, sickening, gutless, spineless, ignorant, pot-licking, cowardly pathetic little weasel."

Well, thanks, Mr. Gardner, but say what you really think. Do you like me or don't you?

"Andy Rooney is a nut case, and should be fined and removed for his obnoxious, sarcastic and vicious comments.... Or better yet - he should have his eyebrows shaved off."
--Jeff Hellweg, Parker, Colo.

I was surprised at how many people accused me of being old.

"You're getting too old for anyone to take seriously."
--Linda Gaspar-Evans, Driftwood, Texas

"...old age has caught up with you."
--Jay Rando, Glendale, Calif.

Bill O'Reilly said I was too old:

That wasn't nice, Bill. I didn't get old on purpose, it just happened. If you're lucky, it could happen to you.

Norman Machynski writes: "Andy, please get some help before they find you walking aimlessly on the streets of New York, not knowing where you live or who you are."

"I'm not crazy about Mel, and I probably won't go see his movie...I want you to know though, Mr. Rooney, I don't like you either."
--Mrs. James O'Sullivan, Canton, Mass.

Most of us believe everyone has a right to his own opinion -- as long as it agrees with ours. When I have more time, maybe I'll read letters from some of the people who liked what I said. There were a lot.
Written By Andy Rooney