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Letters to the World “Series” by Jascha Kessler

Monday, December 26, 2016


Letters to the Editor



Dear Letters Editor:

I have found your pundit, Mr. McManus, regularly irritating during my breakfast coffee, since he is a typical example of an arrogant spokesman plugging the Liberals’ and Progressives’ belief that it knows all and knows best.  It is nowadays a hallmark of what journalism likes to think of itself: as the “Fourth Estate,” a category first named as such in 1841 by Thomas Carlyle.  Whereas the other three Estates are millennia-old and constitute civil societies, this one authorizes itself.

McManus [21 December, ”Why we should ‘normalize” Trump”] advises readers to support the Times by subscribing.  I choked down my disgust although I had just renewed my sub for the 55th time, a disgust intensified by his insistence on what “we” should do about Trump’s ascendancy to the White House.  His arrogant “we” reminded me of an old, sharp jest that goes: LONE RANGER: “Tonto, the Apaches have us surrounded. What do we do?” TONTO: “We, White man?”

[Personal note: Aged 10, I quit the Cub Scouts after two weeks when I was told to wear a uniform.]



Jascha Kessler


Emeritus Professor of Modern English & American Literature, UCLA

Santa Monica, CA


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Jascha Kessler
Born in New York City, Jascha Kessler (Ph.D., Litt.D.) has received varied research grants, prizes, and writing fellowships since 1952 when he won a Major Hopwood Award for Poetry (University of Michigan). They include the NEA Fellowship in Writing, two Senior Fulbright Awards to Italy and one to Czechoslovakia. Since 1961, he has been a Professor of English & Modern Literature at UCLA, also teaching poetry, fiction, and playwrighting. In 1979, Mr. Kessler was a Rockefeller Fellow and worked at the Bellagio Study Center, completing his translation (with Amin Banani) of the Persian poet Forugh Farrokhzad: BRIDE OF ACACIAS: THE POETRY OF FORUGH FARROKHZAD (Caravan Books, Delmar, NY: 1983). He won a California Arts Council Fellowship in Fiction Writing for 1993-1994. He reviewed fiction and poetry weekly, theater and events on the air for KUSC-FM (Los Angeles) for 5 years in the 1980s; several dozen of his reviews, both broadcast and published in magazines and papers since the 1960s, have been anthologized in CONTEMPORARY LITERARY CRITICISM (Gale Research) over the decades. His literary essays have appeared widely. He also served as Arts Commissioner for the City of Santa Monica, California, from 1990-1996. In 2001, his translation of TRAVELING LIGHT from the Finnish won the Finnish Literary Translation Centre Award. Kessler has published several collections of fiction. AN EGYPTIAN BONDAGE, & Other Stories (Harper & Row, NY: 1967); DEATH COMES FOR THE BEHAVIORIST: 4 Long Stories (Lexis Press, San Francisco, CA: 1983); CLASSICAL ILLUSIONS: 28 Stories (McPherson & Co.: Kingston, NY, 1985); and TRANSMIGRATIONS: 18 Mythologems (Jazz Press: Capitola, CA: 1985). His latest collection, SIREN SONGS & CLASSICAL ILLUSIONS: 50 Stories", was published by McPherson & Co., in December of 1992. Also a novel, RAPID TRANSIT 1948: An Unsentimental Education (Xlibris 2000) and a second edition of AN EGYPTIAN BONDAGE (Xlibris 2000). He has also published three volumes of poetry: WHATEVER LOVE DECLARES (The Plantin Press: Los Angeles, CA: 1969; AFTER THE ARMIES HAVE PASSED (NYU Press: NY: 1970); and, IN MEMORY OF THE FUTURE (Kayak Press, Santa Cruz, CA: 1976). Also, revised as COLLECTED POEMS (Xlibris 2000). In 2013 his KING SOLOMON’S SEAL: 76 AND MORE FABLES, was published (xLibris.com, in hardback, paperback, ebook versions).

1 comment to Letters to the World “Series” by Jascha Kessler

  • Jascha,

    Well, you induced me into looking up the McManus column referred to and actually reading it. I threw up my coffee. The arrogance was so thick one could cut it with a knife. This isn’t something “WE” should waste our time reading. Ha.

    Happy New Year,


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