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Letters, Aug. 4, 1952

6 minute read

The Republican Convention


. . . TIME’S July 14 story of the Republican Convention is a case history that should be required reading for every student of government for years to come . . . Even your curt, clear, complete words were inadequate to describe the wave of disgust that swept over us when Taft made his infamous offer to return a third of the loot. The dispatch with which the convention repudiated such tactics and nominated Eisenhower was a refreshing pick-me-up . . .


Midland, Texas


Your comments enabled me and undoubtedly numberless other Canadians to appreciate the vital issues involved in this otherwise gaudy political exercise . . .

Regardless of the reasons for the decline of Bob Taft and the ascension of Ike, the world will breathe a little easier now, and the feeling of defeatism that has gradually developed in the areas of the free world will be effectually checked.

R. E. SIMMS Sudbury, Ont.


… I think that Eisenhower will be our next President, and I’m all for him, but your article left the taste that Taft was an old fuddy-duddy, which he ain’t.

JACK HARTER Richmond, Va.


TIME distorted the true significance of the Republican Convention and the eclipse of the Republican Party . . . Just for fun I’d like to see Margaret nominated just to show up all you punks . . .


“A Fine Old Man”


What you said of the Republican National Convention [TIME, July 21] is concise, accurate, and well put. But your gentle tribute to a fine old man, Herbert Hoover, was by far your finest hour.

As you say, he has “suffered with dignity and without complaint, an auto da fe of criticism such as few men . . . have ever endured.” But, I think, the years in passage have justified much of what he stood for; and, if time has washed away the shouting bitterness of other years, we can still look back and say—there was a gentleman.

A. C. DICKSON Ladue, Mo.

How to Skim


“… His function was simply to skim off a fat slice [End of the Zamindars—TIME, July 14].”

This was a neat trick. How did he do it? Did he use a spoon or a knife, or something in between?

JULIAN A. WESTON San Jose, Costa Rica

¶ A spoon (runcible) or metaphor (mixed).—ED.

Two Americans


. . . Remembering that Richard M. Nixon was one of the men who helped unearth the data in the Alger Hiss matter reminded me very much of my high-school days when we read Cicero’s Orations in Latin, and how Cicero castigated Catiline for electing to betray Rome rather than use his talents to further the Roman State. The same is so aptly true about these two men. Another interesting angle is that both of them are of the Society of Friends … It would seem that of the two, Hiss had by far the greater advantages in influence and training, but abused his opportunities, and Nixon took advantage of his fewer opportunities and reached his present position. What a contrast!

F. KENNETH MOORE Norristown, Pa.

The Passing of the Toothpick


While Mr. James P. Wenner [TIME, July 14 Letters Column] is quibbling over quiddities, let him watch his own vocabulary. “Toothpicks (for Martinis)” indeed! Have we not already enough articles in current use bearing ancient names that have no reference to their modern functions, e.g., “antimacassar,” “penknife” and “Democrat” (capital D)?

That once elegant and utile implement, the toothpick, passes from the scene in an ever-widening social circle. The massive, rounded hardwood utensil with which modern hostesses and bartenders spear canapes and Martini olives was never intended to explore dental apertures, although it might serve for a murder weapon in a pinch. Let Mr. Wenner, the perfectionist, find a modern name for this modern thing. But I warn him that “skewerette” is barred.


Shreveport, La.

Under Which Flag?


Re the July 7 issue and your campaign of 1777 map: May I suggest that your research department strike its flag? The emblem used for Burgoyne’s successes is the British Union flag of 1801. Even if Gentleman Johnny did anticipate by 24 years the addition of St. Patrick’s cross to his flag, wasn’t it the old Red Ensign (1707-1801) that British troops carried throughout the Revolution? . . . And your use of the so-called Betsy Ross flag here is also open to question. Careless and over-imaginative historians have ascribed many erroneous displays of this flag in ground combat after June 14, 1777 —



¶ TIME snarled a halyard. The present British Union Jack dates only from 1801, when the saltire of St. Patrick was added. For its map, TIME chose the Betsy Ross flag, rather than any of the various standards actually carried, as a symbol of what the Revolutionary troops were fighting for.—ED.

Snay, Snah, Snyfoo


Re your July 14 report of reactions in the House of Commons to Mr. Churchill’s quotation of Mr. Acheson’s reference to “snafu” on the vexed question of the Yalu River bombings: Churchill “rolled the unfamiliar word around for a while and it came out snayfooo”; . . .

The vulgar snafu derivatives may have been American in origin . . . but acceptance and widespread dissemination of their useful addition to Anglo-Saxon idiom was peculiarly British and essentially Eighth Armyish. Your correct if prudish definition of snafu as “situation normal, all fouled up” is a reminder that there were exclusively British ascending and descending degrees of snafu. There was the “self-adjusting snafu” and the “non-self-adjusting snafu.” And there was the climactic “cummfu,” which, roughly translated, meant “complete utter monumental military foul up.”

. . . The correct pronunciation, incidentally, was “snahfoo” . . . Had Churchill’s astonishingly forgetful mispronunciation been correct, all Australian personnel in the Eighth Army, including myself, would naturally have pronounced it “snyfoo.”


Tokyo, Japan

Heresy in Canterbury?


England’s dilemma regarding the “Red” Dean of Canterbury is baffling to Roman Catholics who well grasp the only basis for his dismissal (heresy or “criminal conviction”—TIME, July 21), but who fail to fathom why the Church of England doesn’t sack him on the heresy count.

If Communism is not the prime heresy of the century, from any denominational viewpoint, what in the name of theology is? …


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