Letters: Occupy Wall Street, Irrational Fears

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NPR's Neal Conan reads from listener comments on previous show topics, including what success means for Occupy Wall Street protesters; the lasting influence of West Side Story five decades later; and our most irrational fears.

NEAL CONAN, host: It's Tuesday and time to read from your comments. Our discussion on how to define success for the Occupy Wall Street protest prompted this email from John Retherford(ph) who describes himself as a participant and organizer in Tacoma, Washington. Success for our movement, simply put, will be the restoration of middle-class prosperity. As you can see, this is not a small goal, he wrote, and as such, our movement cannot be bought off with token concessions made by politicians and the corporate elite. We're here for the long haul. What you've seen so far is just the beginning. The occupation itself is not a protest but a rallying cry, and the people of this country and the world are coming out in droves to answer it. We will no longer be ignored.

We talked with George Chakiris and Rita Moreno to celebrate 50 years since the release of the movie version of "West Side Story." Ruby Unger from Mill Valley, California, wrote, this movie was so important to me. My first job at the age of 16 was in a movie theater. "West Side Story" was playing. I saw it 13 times, often watching when I ought to have been selling popcorn. The next year, I was in our high school variety show, Jazz Line, dancing to the music. Four years later, when I got married, "One Hand, One Heart" was sung. My present husband saw Ms. Moreno last week at Berkeley Rep and raved.

When we talked to cartoonist Roz Chast about her book "What I Hate: From A to Z," many listeners shared their irrational fears via Twitter. Katherine Webber tweeted, my irrational fear is a rat swimming up the plumbing and biting me on the butt. Yolanda McKay said she's totally freaked out by Cheerios in a bowl or popcorn ceilings. And Leah Norris in Flagstaff, Arizona, emailed, I'm very afraid of bugs going in my ears, and as a child, I slept in earmuffs.

Don't allow your irrational fear to stop you from sending us corrections, comments or more questions. The best way to reach us by email. The address: talk@npr.org. Please let us know where you're writing from, and give us some help of how to pronounce your name. If you're on Twitter, you can follow us there, @totn, or follow me, @nealconan - all one word. This is TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. I'm Neal Conan.

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