Editors’ Note: Because Michael Johnson’s letter in the December Cheers & Jeers-and our response to it-drew such a heavy volume of mail, we can only print a representative sampling.
A Higher Standard?
I have always considered Field & Stream to be the class act of hunting/fishing magazines. I continue to believe that even though I was very disappointed to read your reply to Michael Johnson in Cheers & Jeers in the December issue. Please do not allow your staff to justify profanity in the magazine because “kids are going to learn those words anyway.” Please hold Field & Stream to a higher standard. I would like to think the majority of your readers do not appreciate the disrespectful and sarcastic response to this letter. If they do, perhaps I am in the wrong place. You still have my support; it is just time for a little course correction.
If Mr. Johnson thinks damned and bastard are improper words for his kids to hear, I dare him to go and spend one recess period at his local grade school. I’m sure he would be appalled at the language most of our preteens are using.
Second, maybe Mr. Johnson should concern himself with the message Field & Stream is sending and not so much with the words used. I don’t allow my kids to watch certain children’s shows on cable TV. There is not one foul word spoken, but the message these shows send is: “All adults (this includes parents, teachers, policemen, etc.) are morons and the more you disrespect them the funnier it is.” Field & Stream, on the other hand, expresses love and respect of the outdoors and the wonderful heritage that hunting and fishing represent.
For me the choice is clear. I’d rather have my kids read Field & Stream than tune into mindless TV programs.
If you carry out the logic of your answer to Michael Johnson, then it would seem that you should teach hate, prejudice, and bigotry because kids are going to learn it anyway. I realize that those words are used in real life, but why not rise above it? I have read your magazine since I was 9 or 10 years old. I don’t think those words appeared back then (the 1950s), so why is it appropriate now?
_In the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s, Field & Stream was filled with racist material that no one would tolerate for an instant today. In the 1950s and 1960s, we were antifemale to a degree that would get us all fired now. This is not offered as an excuse, but as a reminder that magazines-and the people who edit them-are part of the times they live in.-The Editors _
It is obvious your editors are not family-oriented men. Your comment to Michael Johnson is definitely unacceptable. No one should be teaching kids profanity. What is the matter with you people?
Bay City, Mich.
Roughly half our editorial staff are women. And two of the editors who read Cheers & Jeers before it runs have children. One has a boy and a girl in grade school; the other, two girls in high school. -The Editors
I cannot believe there is a kid who has never heard cuss words, and I hope Michael Johnson never goes to deer camp. You editors kick ass! You tell the people how it is. Keep up the good work!
I enjoy the vast majority of your magazine and have no plans to cancel my subscription, but I disagree with the treatment that some of your letters receive. As editors, you have the right to comment on the letters you choose to print; however, in too many instances, you have chosen to do so in an unprofessional manner. Both the response to the complaint about the huge gar and the chain saw¿¿¿safety response (January) were dripping with unneeded sarcasm and mean-spiritedness. These only serve to ddetract from your professionalism and make your opinions worth less. Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. And I hope I don’t see it with a wise-ass response after it.
You won’t. Just our thanks for a thoughtful letter.-The Editors
Notes From the North, Eh?
Last November, some friends and I went hunting in New Brunswick. We were traveling in two trucks and were supposed to go through customs together at Calais, Maine. However, we got separated and one truck went through ahead of the other and got lost in the wilds of N.B. In desperation, the driver called the Canadian customs office at Calais and explained the situation. The officer to whom he talked went outside, found us, and got us all on the phone with directions so we all got to where we were going. That was pretty durn nice.
David E. Petzal
New York, N.Y.
While attempting to drive into Canada for a caribou hunt, I found out that I could not cross the border because of a 1979 conviction for driving while intoxicated. I was told that the policy was put in effect after 9/11 and that I could apply for a waiver with any Canadian consulate in the United States. Without the waiver, I was told, any attempt to enter Canada would be a crime in itself. If you print this, it may save other sportsmen the embarrassment and disappointment that I went through.