BOB GARFIELD: We have to catch up on a couple of weeks of letters. Here's a sample, starting with Ben Mattison of Brooklyn, New York. He writes "In last week's story on swearing on television, Washington Post writer Paul Fahri quotes TV producer Dick Wolf as saying Shakespeare didn't need to use bleepable words." Mattison writes that "Othello, being about imagined sexual infidelity, is a gold mind of filth." He also notes that in 1606 Parliament banned the use of the name of God or Jesus from the stage, so Shakespeare substituted 'Zounds.'" "Zounds, by the way, is used 10 times in Henry IV, Part One -- not quite a South Park pace, but a blue streak by Jacobean standards."
BROOKE GLADSTONE:John Rivette of Milwaukee, Wisconsin took issue with our interview with writer Steven Hart who says George Lucas borrowed heavily from earlier science fiction for his Star Wars movies. Hart also said that the director's claim that he drew inspiration from the mythologist Joseph Campbell was a bunch of hooey. "Lighten up!" says Rivette. "To call George Lucas 'fraud' is out of line and misses the point that the Star Wars films are great fun, a diversion. To spend so much energy proving the notion that the stories are not steeped in the mythology of Joseph Campbell not only makes people say 'so what?' but makes Mr. Hart sound like an intellectual gasbag."
BOB GARFIELD:Brooke's conversation with OTM's Mike Pesca about Elmo's recent congressional testimony prompted this from Mark Shubin of New York City. "First," he writes, "Elmo was by no means the first puppet to testify before Congress. It was Shari Lewis's Lamb Chop, though Elmo was the first to testify on behalf of a trade organization." "Second, neither Chilly Willy nor Tennessee Tuxedo are puppets. They are cartoon characters. They would likely have to testify via recording, with all the problems that poses." "Finally and perhaps most important," says Mr. Shubin in response to suggestion of Brooke's, "Chilly Willy and Tennessee Tuxedo are penguins which do not exist in the wild north of the equatorial Galapagos Islands. Neither, therefore, would be qualified to comment on the conditions at the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge."
BROOKE GLADSTONE:You see? We'll read just about anything you send us as long as you tell us where you live and how to pronounce your name. So please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org and thanks.
BOB GARFIELD: Coming up, the shifting story of the assassinated Pim Fortuyn, nostalgic sweeps and media priests.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: This is On the Media from National Public Radio.