Letters: Hollywood's Take On Your Job

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Talk of the Nation listeners wrote in to share how movies get their jobs right, and where they get them completely wrong. Listener and judge Bob concedes judges "are egotists, but would not be around long" if they were as angry as their film counterparts.

NEAL CONAN, host:

It's Tuesday, and time to read from your emails and Web comments.

Deception was the topic of the day. A week ago, David Grann chronicled some of the stories in his new book "The Devil and Sherlock Holmes." And many of you sent in some remarkable stories of your own, including a caller who told us he lied his way into the French Embassy in Rome, and another who excelled at sales as a pathological liar.

Liz Hill(ph) is a business executive with experience in sales, and was not amused.

I can assure you the most successful salespeople are most definitely not the liars, she wrote. They are the ones with repeat clients and lateral and word-of-mouth growth based on mutual loyalty and trust. Sure, there are plenty of liars in our line of work, just like any other - hello, Wall Street. But like any other industry, the truth eventually prevails and the cream - not the scum - rises to the top. Shame on you for suggesting otherwise.

The conversation that followed last Tuesday focused on valor theft, people who claim military awards they never earned, including the Purple Heart. Warren Whiteman(ph) earned his during the Second World War, where he fought in the invasion of Normandy, and wrote to take issue with the assumption that a Purple Heart is synonymous with valor.

To be awarded one, there's no requirement for a valorous activity of any kind, only that an injury be caused or be related to enemy action. A soldier could be wounded while running back or deserting his post and still be eligible for a Purple Heart. The only implication of valor is that the recipient was in a place where enemy action was taking place.

We also talked with educators last week about what makes a good teacher. Doug Lemov told us they are made, not born, and many of you agreed. Marilyn Cotter(ph) taught for more than three decades and emailed to tell us her secret.

It's simple: Be prepared, teach in a way that reflects that preparation, keep humor alive, respect your students as people, and be reasonably flexible. That's the basic recipe. Tweak it only to make it better.

Finally, after the Academy Awards honored "The Hurt Locker," and some veterans complained that it got their job wrong, we asked you to tell us whether Hollywood gets your job right. We heard from cops, teachers, musicians and from Judge Bob(ph) in Bellville, Illinois.

TV and movies portray judges as angry egotists who decide cases on technicalities and who reach absurd results. We are egotists, he continued, but would not be around long if were angry when we reach decisions others think are absurd.

If you have comments, questions or corrections for us, the best way to reach us is by email. The address is talk@npr.org. Please let us know where you're writing from and give us some help on how to pronounce your name.

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