[Touchstone, December 2004]
Recently a friend drew my attention to an exchange of letters between a mid-twentieth-century novelist and a lady. The lady thought the novelist was naughty and proceeded to lecture him about the unseemly content of his books. The novelist - and we can imagine bright, eager eyes over a mischievous grin - replied by thanking the woman profusely for rescuing him from error, and concluded by begging her to send a photo so he could see what true Christian charity looks like. A very satisfying put-down, in my friend's opinion.
It got me thinking, though. For one thing, this wasn't a fair fight.