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Letters: Census, Brat Pack

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Host Scott Simon checks the Weekend Edition inbox and reads listener letters about the census, a young symphony conductor and the Brat Pack.


Time now for your letters.

(Soundbite of typing and music)

SIMON: Last week, NPR's Robert Smith brought us a report from Brooklyn's hipster neighborhood of Williamsburg, where only 36 percent of the residents had turned in their census forms when the story aired.

(Soundbite of archived recording)

Unidentified Woman: What's the point to be counted if you don't count for much anyway? If we don't count, why be counted?

SIMON: Amy Azdawny(ph) of Berkeley, California writes: Every time I hear a story of someone not filling out a census form for whatever silly reason, I ask: Where's our patriotism? Where's our civic responsibility? The Constitution does not ask much of the people it serves. Every 10 years we have to say: here - just like we learned in kindergarten.

We're happy to bring you this update from Robert Smith. He tells that us in the past week census participation in Brooklyn's trendy Williamsburg neighborhood jumped from 36 to 45 percent.

And while we're updating figures, a correction from last week's show. In the Week in Review, NPR senior news analyst Dan Schorr said the United States has 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons. Dan meant to say that the U.S. and Russia combined hold 90 percent of those weapons.

On our last program, Charla Bear of member station KPLU brought us a profile of Alexander Pryor, who at just 17 years of age is a conductor for the Seattle Symphony.

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Mr. ALEXANDER PRYOR (Conductor): I mean, I don't think age really matters so much. And young musicians have a certain energy, so you have something new and fresh to bring, I think.

SIMON: Elise Blake of Charlottesville, Virginia wrote: I'm so pleased and surprised to hear your piece on the young Seattle Symphony conductor. Not only was his excitement palpable, but you also refrain from the usual implied bitterness that too often permeates coverage of prodigious young musicians.

(Soundbite of music)

SIMON: Finally, lots of responses to our segment last week on the legacy of the Brat Pack movies, especially John Hughes films, including "The Breakfast Club" and "Pretty in Pink."

(Soundbite of movie, "Pretty in Pink")

Ms. MOLLY RINGWALD (Actor): (as Andie) So what am I supposed to do? He asked me out and I like him. If I hate him because he's got - just listen to me - if I hate him because he's got money, that's the exact same thing of them hating us because we don't. Do you understand?

SIMON: Andrea Burton of Youngstown, Ohio wrote: I am part of the millennial generation. I loved and will always love these movies. I always felt like Hughes took a camera and visually captured the strange, mixed, unsure emotions of an American teenager. The new directors and writers capture only a very superficial vantage point of today's youth.

But Maureen Cruz(ph) in Chicago writes: I guess I'm in the minority, but I couldn't understand the appeal of these movies back when I was that age and certainly not now that I'm 42. I did not behave the way these kids did and I never found anything in common with any of them.

Maureen, you couldn't forget us if you tried.

(Soundbite of movie, "Pretty in Pink")

Mr. JON CRYER (Actor): (as Duckie) You can't do this and - and respect yourself.

Ms. RINGWALD: (as Andie) You know, you're talking like that just because I'm going out with Blaine.

Mr. CRYER: (as Duckie) Blaine? His name is Blaine? That's a major appliance. That's not a name.

SIMON: We'd like to hear from you. Send us an email. You can go to, click on Contact Us. You can also send us a tweet. My Twitter name is NPRScottSimon - all one word. The rest of the WEEKEND EDITION gang at NPRWeekend - all one word.

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