There’s a reason Letters is its own category on this blog. It doesn’t take much to get me to write one. Politicians, preachers, editors, parole boards, if I got something to say, I say it.Â And in today’s episode I sat down at the keyboard this morning with issues about two articles from two very different magazines. One was about snakes and the other about vampires.
The first letter went to Time magazine. A regular feature in each issue is its “Postcard” report. It could be from anywhere. This week it was “Postcard: The Everglades” from Florida and covering the ramped-up efforts to eradicate the exploded population of Burmese pythons that have made a home in the Everglades — by some counts as many as 150,000 of them — and threaten to damage that ecological treasure’s delicate balance.
It was a good report, except that it pretty much marginalized the cause of the invasion: us. Burmese pythons didn’t just end up halfway around the world from their native home on their own.
So I called bullshit:
To the editor:
I would have been shaking my head a lot less if Tim Padgett or an editor had the sense to move the cause of Florida’s exploding Burmese python population a little higher up in “Postcard: The Everglades” (August 10). Instead the snakes get demonized for being snakes and the true culprit gets dropped in near the end of the piece as an afterthought. Padgett even qualifies it a bit by attributing the imbalance to us “in large part.” Really? As if some percentage of the pythons swam over or stowed-away from Southeast Asia?
I understand the important need to eradicate this nonnative species, but don’t dump the reasons for their invasion like a couple more snakes in the grass. The Everglades’ balance wouldn’t be so threatened if it weren’t for those Floridians who greedily breed and sell them indiscriminately to the contemptible irresponsible buyers who think little about owning the magnificent creatures and even less about throwing them away.
Next up was Entertainment Weekly’s Top 20 All-Time list of Vampires. A solid effort, expect them whippersnappers saw fit to snubÂ the undead creature in the 1929 silent classic “Nosferatu.” In fact they didn’t even have the decency to mention the name of the actor who played the creeptastic character, all the while going gaga over the bloodsuckers-come-lately in some film called “Twilight” and a TV show I’m more familiar with, “True Blood.”
So I told them that sucked:
What a disservice done in dismissing the vampire in F.W. Murnau’s “Nosferatu” as “merely a walking cadaver” (20 Greatest Vampires, August 7). Sure, the 1929 film lacks in the character development and pacing and thrills found in today’s modern horror cinema, and it’s some consolation to give Klaus Kinski a rightful nod in the 1979 remake. But 80 years later Max Shreck’s creepily enduring vampiric turn is still worthy our regard– as it will be 80 years from now long after memories of the bloodsuckers from “True Blood” and “Twilight” have turned to dust.