The View from Entropy Hall (Online Archive) - From Ed Meskys - RR2 Box 63 - 322 Whitter Hwy - Center Harbor NH 03226
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Issue #15

The View From Entropy Hall #15 for APA-Q 411, 23 August 1997, from Ed Meskys, RR #2 Box 63, (322 Whittier Hwy Mbo), Center Harbor NH 03226- 9708, [email protected], 603-253-6207. Text online at: and as listserv.



On Friday 8 August Brian Thurston sent out for me as e-mail ENTROPY #11 and #12 on 15 Aug, and will send out following ish at approximately weekly intervals until we catch up. On our first try five copies bounced as addresses had changed. These are:

Harry Andruschak [email protected]
Brian Burhow [email protected]
Vincent Clark [email protected]
Ellenor Farrell [email protected]
Tina Rudman [email protected]

If anyone has correct e-mail addresses for these fen please let me know. Again, I am glad to add or delete anyone from my mailing list. I was calling this a listserve but Fred Lerner corrected me to say a listserve requires that readers have the avility to post their own messages to the mailing list.

Speaking of lists, I am on the "timebinders" list for those interested in the history of fandom. There are several SF discussion lists and every time someone gave me an address my request bounced. Perhaps I misunderstood a P for a T or an N for an M or something like that. If there is any list yu recommend please give me the address or just sign me up. If you send me an address by e-mail specify in words if any letters MUST be capitalized. My speech software will not distinguish between upper and lower case in a way I can utilize. Thanks!

I am also on three blindness related lists, that of the NFB division for blind scientists and engineers, that of the NFB committee on R & D where new appliances for blind persons are developed and tested, and one just discussing only the use of OCR for reading text by blind persons. The last is the most limited in scope but the most active. It tells me more than I wanted to know and I am thinking of quitting.

I am interested in getting on more blindness related listserves, one on the use of dog guides and one discussing blindness issues in general. I believe it is called "blind talk" but again I have had no luck getting on either of these.

Help, anyone?

I get one fanzine regularly by email, ANSIBLE. When I tried to get APPARATCHK Gary Farber told me it folded with #80, but that #s 65-80 are available on the web. Since I cannot access the web Gary has kindly downloaded and sent me as email the first and last such issues. There is a lot of good reading there and I have finished three very good pieces. I should finish the whole zines in a few days. Since then Don Fitch said he is downloading all 26 issues in order to archive them, and will send them on floppy. Many thanks to both Gary and Don!

Anyone care to recommend more email fanzines?



Some time ago, together with his usual collection of newspaper clippings, John Boardman sent me a copy of an 8 page newsletter called NY STREETCAR NEWS for Nov-Dec 1996. I have never been a "juice fan" waxing nostalgic over old streetcar and interurban lines, but have had an interest in subways and elevated lines. I subscribe to HEADLIGHTS published by the Electric Railroaders Association (PO Box 3323, NY 10163- 3323), primarily for the hard news of new rapid transit lines, including private-right-of-way light rail. My interest grew out of years of commuting to school on NY's subways and elevated lines and noticing stub ends of torn down branches or of subway extensions never built.

STREETCAR NEWS has a little bit of hard news about light rail projects approved or built around the world, but mainly consists of wishful-thinking articles proposing various light rail lines in New York City. Of course there is the serious proposal for a line from the UN to the Javets Convention Center along 42 St. I heard of this from several sources but I gathered that after a flurry of excitement the project died. This newsletter discussed it as if it was still under serious consideration. There was a lengthy article proposing to convert a virtually unused LIRR line from the East River across Queens into a light rail line. I own a book published by the old NY Board of Transportation (predecessor of the Transit Authority) in the late '40s advocating a bond issue to build a Second Ave. Subway and various branches. The existing 63 St. tunnel under the East River was part of this scheme and was supposed to connect the 2nd Ave. Subway with a line across Queens using LIRR tracks parallel to the Flushing Line but going all the way to the city line. I wonder if this is the same LIRR line that the light rail advocates want to use. Anyhow, this newsletter suggests a new bridge across the East River for exclusive use by trollies. Then the line would go south along an east side avenue to connect with the 42 St. line. Perhaps the LIRR conversion is a realistic proposal but I cannot imagine NYC building a trollies only bridge over the East River.

There was on-going mention of some sort of proposal to tear down the Gowanus Expressway along 3rd Ave in Brooklyn and replace it with a trolly line. The Gowanus is a vital link for cars and trucks connecting from Staten Island to Manhattan and points north. I am out of touch with NY highway projects but I can believe that the Gowanus is in bad shape and something has to be done about it. An interesting side note is that it was originally built around 1940 and the stretch from 39 St. to 60 St. used the steel structure of the old BROOKLYN 3rd Ave. elevated. This was torn down and replaced by a wider structure as a link to the Staten Island bridge and in preparation for the 1964 NY World's Fair. If it WERE replaced by light rail the full circle would be ironic!

The newsletter had an advert for a book with maps and drawings on this proposed trolly line and gave an address for ordering it, namely P O Box 3106, Long Island City NY 11003. The newsletter had no colophon saying who published it or where to write concerning it. They only gave a number to call if you were interested in distributing it, 718-728-0091. I gather from this that it is put out in piles in public places for free distribution.

While I was a bit negative about some aspects I would still like to read more issues. Too bad there is no address for subscriptions. I will send a copy of these remarks to the address given for ordering the book.

This has gotten me wound up on rapid transit and I want to chat about some mysteries of the NYC system.

I went to high school and college near where the Broadway Jamaica and Myrtle Ave. elevateds crossed and at times I used one line or the other to commute. Myrtle Ave ran diagonally from NE to SW and the cross streets from NW to SE. Just before I started taking notice of such things and exploring the whole NYc system a branch called the Lexington Ave. elevated was shut down and demolished. (I recently read that this was the first elevated line built in Brooklyn.) If you were traveling towards Manhattan on the Jamaica line, this branched off at 45 degrees to the left two stations before Myrtle Ave, and ran parallel to Myrtle Ave for a half dozen or so stations along Lexington Ave. Then it made a 90 degree turn to the right, went a short distance to Myrtle Ave., and turned left merging with the latter. The intersection had a very interesting feature which always fascinated me. The house on the north corner of the intersection had a notch at the second floorin its corner as if to allow for a structure carrying downtown bound Myrtle Ave trains to turn right and continue in the direction the Lexington Ave. line had been going. If you drew a line in this direction you would come out near the north end of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. I have studied many historical maps of the Brooklyn elevated system and never found any hint of such a branch. When I rejoined the Electric Railroader's Association a couple of years ago they offered as a bonus for joining an old issue of HEADLIGHTS which gave a history of the elevated lines of Brooklyn. This had no hint of my mystery branch. I corresponded with the secretary of the ERA about this and he had never heard of such a branch, either.

I wonder in just what sequence these lines were built. The article said that the Lexington Ave. line was the first, but just how long was it? Where did the first stretch begin and end? Did it include the dogleg to Myrtle Ave.? Did it turn down Myrtle and to to downtown Brooklyn? Did it originally go past Myrtle Ave. and get cut back when the latter line was built? Was it built as a stand-alone project or just the first part of a pre-planned network?

Incidentally, a bit further down Myrtle Ave. where the old 5th Ave. elevated used to merge coming in from the south, there is a similar notch in the building on the north corner as if a line continued on...was that Navy Street? I don't remember. Again, no map I have ever seen indicated any such line.

Does anyone know of any books I can read to tell me more about these old

lines? I saw in some fanzine, in an obituary?, that some fan used to work for

a university press in the Baltimore area which published a history of the NY

Subways with "700 miles" in its title. Unfortunately I failed to write down

the title, author, or publisher. Could anyone help me find it?

Others in fandom are also interested in rapid transit. It was the late NYC fan George Nims Raybin who first got me to join the ERA, but I dropped out when I lost my sight and had no one to read this and many other magazines to me. Elliot Shorter and Ted White used to share my interest and we used to talk about subways at Fanoclast meetings. Way long ago Ted ran an article about "juice fandom" in his STELLAR but I forget who wrote it today. And now Moshe Feder shares my interest and attends ERA meetings and tours in NYC, and we talk subways whenever we can.

This is enough about the subject for now. I WILL return! I have other questions and reminiscences about long gone structures I had seen. Anyone interested in this subject should look in library stacks at SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN for 1915. They had an excellent article about the boom in building new elevated and subway lines at that time with maps and pictures.


There has been some discussion in APAQ of cloning and the unlikelihood of human cloning simply because there is no justifyable reason for doing it. It does no more than give an identical twin, but much younger, of the original individual and since the upbringing would be very different the clone would have a drastically different personality. Well, SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN for, I think, May had an article on cloning and gave a good reason for doing human cloning. Potential parents with a genetic defect who do not want to pass it on could start with a fertilized egg in vitrio, let it divide a few times, and then try to insert correcting genes into each of the separated cells. Then the seperated cell which was successfully modified could be placed into a vacent egg cell, in a technique similar to that used for Dolly, and the cell implanted for gestation. Luddites fear this type of germ-line genetic engineering but it would give hope to persons with defects like sickle cell anemia. There are reasonable fears of what use a future totalitarian society could make of this technique, but every new development has its dangers and I am sure that the benefits far outweigh the risks.



Bob Brennan
P O Box 632
Center Harbor NH 03226
[email protected]

Hi Ed, Sorry I have not gotten back befores this, time flies by. Yournewsletter is interesting. Like your interest in SF, I have always beeninterested in Aviation, and as such was especially interested in the part aboutthe airplanes. The B-29 had a much longer range than the B- 17 or B-24, but westill had to get basis close to Japan for them to be able to make thosemissions. The B-36 was a beauty. I was stationed at Ramey Air Force Base(Strategic Air Command) from 1952 to 1955. We started out with B-50's(a B-29with more powerful engines) The B-50 Wing left and we got in the B-36's.They were capable of staying in the air for over 50 hours without refueling.It was quite a bird, and it was stationed in several bases throughout thestates. It was replace by the B-47 and then the B-52. The B-25 was always oneof my favorites. My cousin flew as a gunner in one during WWII out of NewGuinea. It was Jimmy Doolittle that led the raid on Tokyo from the Air craftCarrier Hornet. The B-25 is the only US Military aircraft named after aperson, General Billy Mitchell. It was known as the Mitchell B-25.. The B- 24was American built, you were confusing it with, I believe, the BritishLancaster Bomber that looked similar. I saw one in Concord this past summer.

I also saw a SR-71 Blackbird. It was in "Georgia at Robbins Air Force Base,they have a museum there. It was and still is the fastest plane in the world.See, once I get talking aviation I go on and on. I have my pilots lisence andrent out of Laconia just to fly out over the lake and around the area,beautiful up there. Well take care, TTYL, Bob Brennan


from [email protected]

Hi Ed. Thanks for putting me on this listserve.

Being in Providence, I will try to get news about Elliot Shorter and get back to you A S A P.

Absolutely true about the two Philip Klasses. We used to know the sister of the debunker: Rosanne Klass was, perhaps still is, a writer about Afghanistan. When I learned that William Tenn's real name was Philip Klass, I asked Rosanne if she was related to him. She said no, she had a brother Philip J. Klass, who was an entirely different person from William Tenn. She knew who William Tenn was, but so far as she knew there was no family connection.

Incidentally, I thought I heard several years ago that William Tenn died. Is that my overactive imagination? Haven't seen anything new by him in years, in any case.



from [email protected]

I did not read your message as it was too long and it needed to be downloaded. I don't download. Sorry.


from [email protected]

[in re Barnes & Noble shutting down their bargain outlet]They want you to use the catalog, or even better the web site. [The bargain outlet had one-of-a kind used and review copy books, so I cannot see them being listed on a web page or catalog. Or ARE they? ERM] Borders has outlets in Indianapolis but not in Louisville. We have a local megabookstore and outlets for B & N and Books-A-Million.

[in re the Borders location in the Twin Towers] Saruman gives them a special rate. After the return of the king, will things change?

[in re Jane Austin continuations by others] Writing completions, sequels, spinoffs, etc. to "classic" authors is becoming a rage. It also seems to be a sure-fire way to oblivion--people read 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA, not AN ANTARCTIC ADVENTURE (Verne's sequel to Poe's NARRATIVE OF A. GORDON PYM).

[in re my trying to reconstruct the XSF2 anthology] When this is done can you go help Harlan?

[in re early Jewish rulers like Soloman having mulltiple wives and concubines. When did Judaism abandon this practice?] Ashkenazi (central/northern European) Jews were forbidden multiple marriage in the tenth century CE (this decree had a thousand-year time limit which has almost expired). Sephardi (southern European/Islamic areas) Jews have not been forbidden. Israeli secular law forbids new multiple marriages but does not invalidate prior ones, i.e. from immigrants from Arab countries.

[in re Spider Robinson's 1984 novel about blacks taking over Manhattan island and cutting it off from the rest of the US] NIGHT OF POWER. I don't know about "grim" but "preposterous" is a good term to use for it. Looking back it comes across as a mirror-image TURNER DIARIES.

Joseph T Major


I also got email from the following but still have to pull them out of my "cubbyhole" and edit them. I am out of time so it will wait until next ish: Sherna Comerford, Joyce Katz, Dave Langford, Diana Paxson, Joyce Scrivner, Garth Spencer, and Jan Stimson,



BLAnCmANGE (Mark Blackman). I am croggled by your anecdote showing that tempers can still flair up over the "Breen Boondoggle" which occurred a third of a century ago. I thought that it was only something dark in fannish history which only a few old timers remembered. (For newcomers to the discussion, Walter Breen was barred from the 1964 Worldcon because he had a reputation for certain illegal tastes and the concom was afraid of liability suits should something like that occur during the con. Shortly before his death Walter was convicted and jailed for similar acts.) John Boardman had been one of Walter's staunchest defenders so I was quite surprised by his comments about nervousness when W.H. Auden appeared at an early Tolkien Society of America meeting surrounded by a bunch of young kids.

Interested in seeing your long listing of NYC and viscinity SF clubs. By the successor to the Fanoclasts are you referring to Moshe Feder's Last Chance Saloon, or to something else? If else, how often does it meet and on what day? My knowledge of NJ giography is meager. How far from NYC is Bergan County? I remember some 20 years ago some NY fen traveled to BRUNSFA in New Brunswick, which I gathered was quite far away. I have attended one meeting of the NJSF group when Perdita drove us to it about ten years ago.

I find it hard to realize I have been in fandom for 42 years, and only half that time elapsed from the founding of fandom to my joining. Still I emotionally cannot consider myself an "oldtimer."

I like your comparison of the slavery and abortion controversies. DAGON (John Boardman). You said that the click in some African languages is represented by an X. I thought it was represented by a !. I have seen transcriptions of African words using the !. What DOES that represent?

I, too, have long wondered at the sanity of state legislatures which have decreed state fossils, muffins, insects, folksongs, cookies, etc. Who introduced these bills and why? Some, I suppose, might have been at the behest of some businessperson who hoped to make some money as a result. Official days, weeks, and months are just as bad. I think it started with charities which wanted to improve visibility of some disease or disability, but has been grabbed by all sorts of industry councils to promote milk, pork, apples, or whatever. These time periods have lost all meaning.

I liked your description of a Bill Reed newspaper column as a conversation among "men who would have been called 'good old boys' if they lived south of the _Smith & Wesson_ line, solving problems of the world over coffee and dinner in Archie Bunker country."

It took three sessions with Brian Thurston to finish reading this disty. On the third we knew we only had "Civil Wars II," funny papers, miscelany, & a filk left to do, but it took a lot of flipping on Brian's part to find where to begin. I am sure that, since you continue several items leapfrogging over each other, other readers have the same problem. May I suggest that you leave a blank spot on page 3, or on the last page, to give a list of contents & the beginning pages?

It is not only the gunny nuts who are ignorant of languages other than English, but most people in the US. It is part of the hubris of our culture. "_I_ am not going to learn another language; let them learn English!" When a people from birth knew and used another language, whether it be French in the northeast or various Amerind languages on reservations, the powers at be did their best to destroy these languages by punishing children for using them. Now Spanish is under attack. My mother shared my difficulty with languages while in school. For both of us these were the subjects in which we got the lowest grades. However because she grew up in Europe where the culture was different she could speak, read, and write in four languages and had some knowledge of two others. Until her sight failed she was still corresponding with relatives in Lithuanian, Polish, and Russian. Despite three years of Spanish and of German and one of Russian in school I never acquired a functional use of any. Right as I finished school I was able, with the help of a dictionary, to translate an article in German which I needed for my thesis. When I visited Germany shortly after I finished school I was able to ask rudementary questions and understand the answers with the help of a pocket dictionary. I have lost even that ability with non-use for over 30 years. Now I only can use English and Lithuanian.

You said only the government could issue money. From what I remember of US history, until relatively recent times any bank could issue paper money, which is why they were called "bank notes." One of the past economic reforms decreed that banks had to meet certain standards in order to call themselves "national banks" and from that day on only these national banks could issue paper money. According to an article I recently read, in SMITHSONIAN?, the US government issued paper money only during the civil war and since World War I. (Come to think of it, this does not make sense. In the youth of our country money was poorly backed leading to the expression "not worth a continental.") The article also had pictures of many of the exotic bills issued in bizarre denominations including $2.25!

hOW tOO (dON DEL gRANDE). In answer to your comments to me about STARWARS, I remember reading when the first trilogy was still coming out that Lucas had in mind three trilogies,set one generation apart, with this being the middle one. Then when he was finishing REVENGE/RETURN he decided to wrap up the story with this, and that he included material intended for the last trilogy. I read two books of a trilogy by...Anderson?...dealing with Hans & Leah and the twin children they had. I wondered whether this used some material intended for the last film trilogy. In the original films I never did understand what the clone wars had been, but these matters cleared it up with the revival of one of the old clone machines.

As I mentioned elsewhere, it is the NFB which has protested the Magoo movie. As far as I know we never objected to operations which might restore sight and when one of ours did regain some sight heesh was warmly congratulated. Also we do NOT want the world to conform to our "needs." We have protested beeping signal lights, "detectable warnings" on the edges of train platforms, and the like. We say that these are bad for several reasons. They give the general public the impression that we are incapable of functioning without them, and so, as a result, they do not want to allow us into their unequipped offices and factories in order to allow us to work. Also, if blind individuals with poor travel training come to depend on them, they will be unable to travel to places not so equipped. Money wasted on these "accomodations" would be better spent giving more blind people better travel training. There IS another consumer organization of the blind, the ACB (American Council of the Blind) which does favor such accomodations and more. Perhaps it is they who have objected to that operation. I do read their magazine, too, THE BRAILLE FORUM , and have not seen any such statement, but I do not go to their meetings or conventions.

We in the NFB do object to Magoo for the same reason we objected to the TV series GOOD & EVIL, namely that it leaves a subconscious feeling in the general public that all blind persons are helpless idiots. This makes it harder for us to rent apartments without landlords fearing we will burn them down, to be allowed into amusement parks, theaters, skating rinks, etc., to get jobs, etc. I will append to the end of this zine a letter from Marc Maurer, our national president, to a person questioning our right and justice in protesting the movie. He says things a lot better than I can, though I think his choice of a non-denegrating joke is a dumb one. I remember hearing many better ones though I cannot recall them at the moment.

When I was going to private HS, college, and graduate school in the '50s Barnes & Noble was only a textbook store. They had their main store on 5 Ave. but had several branches near college campuses. There was a competing chain whose name I do not remember, but the two stores were across from each other on Livingston St. near Boro Hall in Brooklyn. While the official college book store only sold new books these took back and resold used books. It wasn't until much later that B & N began to sell trade books. Incidentally, while publishers gave bookstores a 40% discount on trade books, I believe they only gave a 10% discount on textbooks. Thus there was no way a bookstore could give a discount on a textbook and still make a profit.

The meter has not been defined by a physical rod kept in Paris for a long time. However I thought it was defined as so many wavelengths of the red spectral line of a particular isotope of a particular element (cadmium?).

JERSEY FLATS, TOO (Roberta Rogow). You carry on the myth that teflon came from the space program. It came from the Manhattan project and the first atomic bombs. They used gasious diffussion to separate U235 from the more common U238, and the only compound of uranium which was a gas at reasonable temperatures was uranium hexafloride. Thus great advances had to be made in florine chemestry, and one result was teflon.

Corning ware was more closely related to the space program. Until the 1950s the only way to deliver an atomic bomb over a distance was the long-range bomber. Prototype intercontinental ballistic missiles kept burning up on re-entry into the atmosphere until Corning perfected the shieldPresident Eisenhower proudly presented this on TV. I believe that Corningware is an offshoot of this work.

On the other hand I am an enthusiastic space advocate and agree on the many benefits from computer advances to weather and communications satellites to medical advances.

I am curious as to what upset you in ALVIN JOURNEYMAN. The only Card I have read was the first volume in the Alvin series and I want to read more, but just haven't gotten to it. I remember seeing reviews speculating about the content of the third volume when the second came out, for that was to get into the timeframe of Smith and the first Mormons in our timeline. When the later books did come out I saw no discussion of this point. Are there any non-Alvin Card books you would recommend I try?

I am really out of touch with the world of TREK. There was the original series with its ongoing series of novelizations and movies. Then there was NEXT GENERATION. I didn't like the first two or three years, but then got to enjoy the series. Now there are DEEP SPACE NINE and VOYAGER. I liked DS9 but not the other, but have gotten out of the habit of turning on the TV and haven't seen that in over a year. I gather, from passing references in fanzines, the main character has re-married. What is FINAL FRONTIER?

On Fred Lerner's recommendation I bought at Boskone Ford's HOW MUCH FOR JUST THE PLANET and did enjoy it. However at the con Ford said that Paramount didn't like the book and said that they would not permit any more humor at the expense of the principal crew members. There had been occassional humor in the past...A PIECE OF THE ACTION, TROUBLE WITH TRIBBLES, MORE TROUBLE MORE TRIBBLES come to mind from the original & animated programs, and a show involving a wedding in an early NEXT GENERATION. Looks like Paramount is coming to regard TREK as something sacred not to be triffled with. How did the Trekkers look upon this humor?

What is "blackadder?" I have seen several references to it, and a welding shop near me has it on their sign. I gather it has something to do with Scotts folklore or history. Anyhow the various passing references has aroused my curiousity.


Marc Maurer's letter, referred to above, follows:


1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21230
(410) 659-9314
August 7,1997

Dear G.H. Clune:

I have received your letter dated August 4,1997, and I appreciate the directness you employ in stating your opinion. Mine is different from yours, but I believe that it is based upon experience. Perhaps I read more into my experience than I should, but I don't think so. This is the experience to which I refer.

The Walt Disney Company has proposed to issue a live-action, full-length film reviving Mr. Magoo this upcoming Christmas. At its 1997 convention held in New Orleans, Louisiana, the National Federation of the Blind, the largest organization of blind people in the United States, protested this proposed action by The Walt Disney Company. In response to the protest, Disney said that we who are blind did not understand. Magoo is not blind, they said, he's just nearsighted. Besides, they said, he is a role model, a heroic figure.

From the perspective of the blind of this country, we believe it is Disney that does not understand. I, Marc Maurer, serve as President of the National Federation of the Blind. I am totally blind, 46 years old, and the father of two children. My wife Patricia is also blind.

I am a lawyer, and the administrator of the largest organization of the blind in this country, the National Federation of the Blind. We operate a number of training programs for the blind. We help people find jobs. We have created 700 chapters that bring blind people together in every state in our nation. We print and distribute millions of documents that bring hope to the blind every year.

My wife, who is blind, has a teaching certificate and has taught in several schools. She presently serves as a full- time volunteer in our headquarters office.

Our two children, David,13, and Dianna,10, are both sighted. They do what children usually do-go to school, play in the yard, ride their bicycles, and complain about doing the dishes. They cannot avoid the subject of blindness because we, their blind parents, live with it every day.

When David was beginning in school (he was in the second grade), he came home crying. The other kids had told him that his parents were incompetent and ineffective because of blindness (the children had said stupid and dumb). David knew better, and he told the kids that they were wrong. The argument became heated, and developed into a fight. David knew what to do. He took the matter to the teacher, expecting vindication and support. But he didn't get it. The teacher sided with those who had belittled his parents. My son was isolated and alone. He didn't have the words to express it, but the feeling was there. He knows his parents have ability, but nobody would believe him. They called us by the name of Magoo.

The year started badly, and it got worse. David knows that I sometimes make television appearances on behalf of the blind of the nation. After one of these, he told his friends that I had been on television. But they wouldn't believe him. The teacher didn't believe it either. When David insisted that his father had been on television, the teacher punished him for lying.

Later the same year, I was invited to visit the First Lady, Mrs. Barbara Bush, in the White House. When David told this story, he was once again accused of lying. The students and the teachers just couldn't believe that a blind person would be doing such things. And it all started with Mr. Magoo.

Humor about blindness is not wrong unless it hurts. We in the National Federation of the Blind have as good a sense of humor as anybody. But we believe that there is a difference between a good joke and a put- down. For example, the story of the blind person who goes to the store with a guide dog comes to mind. After entering, the blind person picks up the dog by the tail and swings it in a circle. When the manager asks, "What are you doing?" and, "May I help you?", the blind person responds, "No thanks, I'm just looking around." This is not offensive because it can't injure anybody. But Magoo is offensive because he represents a false image of blindness. When he can see, he gets things done. When he cannot see, he makes errors and is incompetent. Blind people are not like that. Of course, all of us make funny mistakes sometimes, but blind people with proper training are not less competent than the sighted. And we object to the power of the film industry being used to say we are. We do not mistake a bear for a person dressed up in a fur coat, as Magoo does. We do not mistake a fire plug for a small child, as Magoo does. And we do not mistake long-play records for dinner plates, as Magoo does.

I have described one of my own Magoo experiences here, but it is not unique. Tens of thousands of blind people in America have been faced with the same taunts and stereotypes based on the Magoo theme. If it hadn't been painful for us, we wouldn't object. We ask Disney to leave Magoo in the past, which is where he belongs.

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