Why Didn’t You Vote For Me? | By Sparrow | Issue 257 | The Sun Magazine

Why Didn’t You Vote For Me?

A Diary Of My Presidential Campaign

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As a subscriber for many years, I have watched you give steadily increasing space to the insipid ramblings of Sparrow. Over the years I’ve found that his work is usually of questionable value, but nevertheless harmless.

But “Why Didn’t You Vote for Me?” — and, in particular, the poem “Sparrow’s Message to God” — offended and hurt me. His piece is tantamount to an act of pure hatred. I suspect that its anti-semitic equivalant would never have found its way into your magazine. The persecution and ridicule of Christians is certainly nothing new, but I expected better from The Sun. There is a sad irony here: Jews have long lamented and mourned their history of persecution and genocide, yet here is one Jew who apparently sees no problem with printing a “message to God” that defiles the beliefs many hold sacred. If I were a Palestinian, perhaps I, too, would pick up a rock.

Delora C. Ward Sneads Ferry, North Carolina

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read the July Correspondence section. Did these readers plan their mass attack on Sparrow? As I read their astounding criticisms, I felt sorry that I’d never written to express my admiration and appreciation for Sparrow’s work and being.

There have been times when I thought maybe The Sun and I were growing apart, but then you’d publish a piece by Sparrow, and I’d reconsider. For me, Sparrow exhibits all the qualities essential for the health of this planet, qualities that are disappearing from view, if not from existence: a sense of humor, a lack of respect for authority, the courage to speak out, creativity, daring, and a true sense of showmanship. He knows how to get attention, and once he has it, he says things that need saying, but that most of us are afraid to say in public. I loved “Sparrow’s Message to God.” Only a true believer would know that God, unlike us ego-filled humans, can be called a fish without taking offense.

Sparrow, I may not want to marry you, but I am your friend.

Judith Brink Rowe, Massachusetts

Does Sparrow have a contract out on your editor’s life? Does he know Sy Safransky’s deepest, darkest secret? What sinister hold does he have over The Sun?

When I saw his name on the cover of the May 1997 issue, I just couldn’t take it, much less read his “Why Didn’t You Vote for Me?” And I’m not the only one — I’ve spoken to other subscribers who share my feeling of “enough is enough.” Sparrow may be a lovely human being and a good friend, but, please, give us readers a break.

Lynn Park Alameda, California
Sparrow responds:
  1. It’s not my fault The Sun publishes me. It’s The Sun’s fault The Sun publishes me.
  2. I’m not that lovely a human being, actually.
  3. I once read a long list of allegedly humorous quips made by Bob Dole. None of them were funny.
  4. a) “Sparrow’s Message to God” never mentions Christianity. If a Jew can’t denounce God without annoying bystander Christians, 1997 is scarier than I thought.
    b) I completely support Palestinians throwing rocks at me.
  5. This is the response I am seeking from my readers: I want them all to pee in their pants, then propose marriage to me.

I am thrilled, saddened, amazed, awed, and challenged by each issue of The Sun. The May 1997 issue was one of the best yet. I loved Sparrow’s “Why Didn’t You Vote For Me?” Although I’m not as articulate as he is, I’ve always felt that the most important thing I can do is follow my own path and protect my decision-making processes from the rampant streams of bullshit that flow from all directions. The high priests of ignorance in the mainstream media try their best to wear me down, but The Sun is always there to pick me back up. 

One criticism: I don’t like the new paper in the June 1997 issue. I hope you will go back to the old sheet. Please don’t try to look slick, glossy, and modern like other magazines. Part of The Sun’s beauty is its simplicity.

Jim R. Crystal, Minnesota

As I am quite fond of whimsy and silliness, I enjoyed Michael Gorelick’s (a k a Sparrow) sprawling campaign diary — except for one crucial omission: Sparrow neglected to mention that Bob Dole is, at times, a very funny man. Unlike Sparrow’s, Dole’s sense of humor is deep, and his delivery is succinct. Bob Dole is funny not because he is a character, but because he has character — yes, not unlike Honest Abe. Character is something that cannot be learned mechanically or faked, like whimsy or slapstick.

That’s why I voted for Dole and not for Sparrow or for Clinton — especially not for Clinton, who has zero sense of humor (although breaking his ankle might qualify as slapstick). And I would vote for Dole again, even if he were ninety-three and had only enough breath left for a couple of his razor-sharp one liners. I hope it’s not too late: all Americans would benefit from a Dole presidency. Sparrow possibly would benefit the most, as I suspect Dole might have the required sense of irony to appoint him poet laureate. Even Sparrow would be a (slight) improvement over the last couple of pompous clowns who have occupied that absurd post.

Harvey Goldner Seattle, Washington

I found Sparrow’s “Why Didn’t You Vote for Me?” to be disrespectful beyond the bounds of good sense. He dehumanized Bob Dole with the sole intent of provoking a reaction from readers. But what really did it for me was his proposal that God might be a fish.

I could have peed my pants laughing. Sparrow, I want to marry you.

Zoe Lewis Wilton, Maine

When I read Sparrow’s “Why Didn’t You Vote for Me?” [May 1997] I laughed so hard the other people in the library gave me funny looks. I have absolutely no objection to Sparrow’s work appearing in The Sun; he’s one of the reasons I started reading it in the first place.

His response to the letters in the July 1997 Correspondence section was not only fitting; it earned me still more evil glances. Maybe you should stop publishing Sparrow — so that I don’t get kicked out of the library.

Erica Naone DeLand, Florida

In response to the letters in the July 1997 Correspondence section, I’d like to put in a word of support for Sparrow. Most Sun writers journey off the beaten path, but Sparrow travels the road never taken. This might explain why he often receives criticism from those not at the extremes of the political, social, and artistic spectrums.

John Falcone Noreña, Asturias

My husband and I have been Sun readers for several years, in spite of the melancholy, grief, anger, depression, and negativity that fill its pages. The May 1997 issue was our hands-down favorite, thanks to Sparrow’s hilarious “Why Didn’t You Vote for Me?” Instead of crying right off the bat, we laughed until we cried. Please publish Sparrow as often as possible: we love him. Sparrow for president!

Jane Kaiser Tucson, Arizona
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