Thursday, October 23, 2014

To Decatur With Contempt

In 1985, T.J. Malone of 444 West Wood Street in Decatur, IL, thought it would be a good idea to write a letter to Katherine Graham, publisher of the Washington Post.
“Say, Cath, heard you and Ben B. were seen recently at a wild coke party, and someone noticed you both had a hammer and sickle tattooed in your butts.”
Post Executive Editor Ben Bradlee, who never took kindly to insults to Mrs. Graham, favored Malone with a reply.
“I have a hissing snake tattooed on my butt,” the former naval officer wrote. “And I don’t have a clue what Mrs. Graham has tattooed on hers. The president of the bank in Decatur, Illinois, is an old classmate and friend of mine. I think I’ll ask him to foreclose on your mortgage.”
In his memoir, The Good Life, Bradlee commented, “Childish, no doubt, until you realize that the polls so often cited to show public trust in the press declining include the views of T.J. Malone, and thousands of other nut cases.”

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