Daniel Kobayashi

July 23, 2003

Post #1665 – 20030723

Dear Capt. Pinkwater,

Rest assured Saul Bellow had no idea who you were. We gave the book to him because you claimed, in one commentary in Fish Whistle, that the TV producer with whom you were working on “Fuzzy Bunny Babies” said he was referred to you by Saul Bellow. If I recall correctly, you said that the writer was really Harlan Ellison.

My question is: Why libel poor Saul Bellow like that? Bad enough that he was teaching The Red and the Black to petulant freshman at Boston University, but to suggest that he was finding you television work?

Here’s my theory. You were well aware of Harlan Ellison’s legendary fits of pique (I once heard him walk out on an NPR interview after host Christopher Lydon described him as a science fiction writer) and felt that it would be easier to pick on a frail old man. Moreover, Bellow had cornered the market on Eastern European Jewish characters leaving a painfully small niche for you.

That has to be it right?

Daniel replies:

Hey, Harlan Ellison is a frail old man too. As to his reputed fits of pique, I have found him to be nothing other than a pussycat. Once, when he phoned the house, my wife said to me, ""It's that short story-writer."" The least you can do is address people properly--and I note that you never call me, ""Master,"" or ""Sensei,"" even though you appear to be of Asian ancestry, and should know better.

Saul Bellow, Jewish?