Letters: Romney, Kipling Museum, Mo's Pig
MELISSA BLOCK, host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
On Thursdays, we read from your e-mail. And we'll start with comments on my interview with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. And this exchange, in particular.
Do you hold a literal belief, say, in the Genesis version of creation?
Mr. MITT ROMNEY (Former Republican Governor, Massachusetts; Republican Presidential Candidate): You know, I find it hard to believe that NPR is going to inquire on people's beliefs about various parts of the Bible in evaluating presidential candidates.
SIEGEL: I couldn't believe it, writes Lavern Shaw-Bailey(ph) of Fargo, North Dakota. I trust NPR to remain above the fray, to not get caught up in the mind-numbing empty questioning common in mainstream media. I am no supporter of Romney, but I had to agree with him when he basically told Robert Siegel to ask a better question. As a voter, I want to know how a politician will lead the country forward, not to what degree he or she literally interprets the word of God.
BLOCK: But David Lovett(ph) of Seattle was happy to hear the question. He writes, I think it was entirely appropriate to ask Governor Romney about his belief in a literal interpretation of Genesis. Besides the fact that, as Mr. Siegel pointed out, creationism is currently a national issue, it shows judgment. If Mr. Romney professed to believe in Santa Claus or the tooth fairy, I would have liked to know that as well.
SIEGEL: Ethan Stock(ph) of Redwood City, California was unhappy with our story about plans for a Rudyard Kipling Museum in Mumbai, India.
BLOCK: I expect more from ATC and NPR, he writes. You contrasted the obvious enthusiasm of Indians for Kipling with an excerpt from the poem "White Man's Burden," strongly implying that the Indians are somehow misguided in their appreciation of a Nobel-winning author.
Contrary to your heavy-handed presentation, Kipling was nuanced and subtle observer and reporter of humanity of all shades, from lightest to darkest. Any but the most jaundice reading of "White Man's Burden" will see the heavy irony that lays over every line, including most particularly, "Savage Wars of Peace."
SIEGEL: After our interview about Arbitron's decision to delay implementing its personal people meters to measure radio listening, a listener pointed out that the reporter we interviewed is married to an executive at Arbitron. Had we known this, we would have turned to another guest.
BLOCK: Finally, Mo Rocca's visit to Reggie Martin's Iowa pig farm had many of you squealing.
SIEGEL: Mo was there to get some tips for politicians on how to handle a piglet.
Mr. REGGIE MARTIN (Farmer): You just should support him and keep him up close to you because they're pretty wiggly and they'd like to try to get away from you.
MO ROCCA: Okay, so cradle…
Mr. MARTIN: Cradle like a baby.
ROCCA: Kind of like a baby, almost.
Mr. MARTIN: Just lay him in your arms and then set him down on your lap.
ROCCA: All right. That was an easy transfer. All right.
BLOCK: Well, like many listeners, Jay Shaw(ph) was not amused. A bad attempt to doing a daily show segment. That's how he describes it. That routine would have never made the cut for "The Daily Show," he writes. "And I was disappointed to hear NPR waste so much airtime.
SIEGEL: A very different reaction from Phil Pascal(ph). He writes, I grew up on a pig farm in Western Illinois. And I just about busted a gut when Mo asked if a candidate kissing a pig made them an Iowan. Fellow office employees must have thought I'd lost my mind as I about passed out due to a lack of oxygen. It really made me miss the Midwest. I can't wait to visit the farm and talk to dad and mom about the interview. They're both in their 80s and still farming.
BLOCK: If you want to share something with us, we'd love to hear it. Go to npr.org and click on Contact Us at the top of the page.
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