Letters: Two Writers And Looking At Movie Quotes

Melissa Block and Robert Siegel read emails from listeners.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.


It's time now for Your Letters. On Friday, we told you about two writers who. on the surface, couldn't have been more different. Asa Carter, a member of the Ku Klux Klan, was a speechwriter for Alabama Governor George Wallace. He penned Wallace's now famous 1963 inaugural address.

GOVERNOR GEORGE WALLACE: And I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever.



The other writer, Forrest Carter, was best known as the Cherokee memoirist of "The Education of Little Tree," a beloved classic that has sold more than a million copies around the world. Well, it turns out Asa Carter and Forrest Carter were the same man.

BLOCK: After listening to our story, Mary Neppl, of Marion, Iowa writes: The story did not explore the damage that Carter's work does to the identity and experience of Native people, and therefore all Americans. The piece rightly assumed that racism and segregation toward black people, as shown by Asa Carter, is archaic. Yet, his fictional Cherokee language and transformation into a Native man in late life to make money is still interesting? Hardly. It is further evidence that the man did not transform, rather he transferred his overt racism towards black people to covert and casual disregard toward the humanity and existence of indigenous people.

SIEGEL: Also last week, we told you about a computer system that can identify what makes a film, quote, "memorable." Among the desirable qualities: simple sentence structure, use of the present tense and indefinite articles. We played you a trove of movie clips from "Jaws."


ROY SCHEIDER: (as Chief Martin Brody) You're going to need a bigger boat.

BLOCK: To "The Godfather."


MARLON BRANDO: (as Don Corleone) I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse.

BLOCK: But as Bruce Hamilton, of Portland, Oregon tells us we missed the most obvious quote of all.

SIEGEL: He writes: My ears perked up when this segment started and I found myself chuckling that in the midst of using a computer to determine a memorable movie quote, you forgot to cue the quote from the computer HAL in "2001," which is...


DOUGLAS RAIN: (as HAL 9000) I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.

BLOCK: Well, unlike HAL, we will always listen to you. Just go to NPR.org and click on Contact Us.



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