LETTER FROM
PHILIP JOSÉ FARMER


Feb. 27, 1975

"Dear Richard the Lean-Hearted:

  Enclosed check is for one year's sub to your publication, whatever its name, The Ailing Cricket or SF Review. I'm trusting you that the lst copy sent me will be No. 12, as you advertise.

  I don't like to have to wade through so many book reviews, but the occasional snarling nasty jeremiad or your alter ego comments or Geis' comments on sociology/politics/etc. make it worthwhile. And Joanna Russ is right in some respects; you and your contributors (with some notable exceptions) are indeed male chauvinist pigs. But nobody's perfect. Most of your reviewers--not all of course--are imbeciles. But often they are amusing imbeciles.

  They know this, at least, that is, that the primary function of a reviewer or critic is to amuse, entertain, the readers. Never mind objectivity, perceptivity, a wide knowledge of literature, science, history, etc. Make the clowns laugh. That's what it's all about.

  I was too busy to write a comment on Lafferty's article, but I was surprised that no one did write to you about it. Though perhaps some did but you didn't print their letters. Lafferty is unique, a strange phenomenon indeed. Here's an old man with a self-admitted drinking problem who writes stuff that has been hailed as the freshest of the fresh, the newest of the new wave, the acme of art in writing. He puts the young lions to shame; no matter how far out they try to be, they can't get near Lafferty.

  Most conservative readers don't care for him; the liberals have taken him to their bosoms. Yet he is a die-hard reactionary, stiff-necked, a devout Catholic who won't accept even justifiable criticism of the Church, a male chauvinist if ever there was one, and there have been and are and will be.

  The liberals, the new-waveists, have put their seal of approval on him because they don't understand him, and if you don't understand somebody the safe thing to do is to hail him, adopt him, laud him, and hope to God that he's saying what you hope he's saying.

  When I say liberal, I mean in a relative sense, of course. From my viewpoint the only true liberals in the field are Mack Reynolds and myself and about three others on the borderline."

((Yeah, 'Liberal" means all things to all men... I'm liberal in "giving" freedom to people over their lives, in all areas. Others are liberal in "giving" social equality and economic equality.))