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Masochism

In response to:

The Ordeal of George Patton from the December 31, 1964 issue

To the Editors:

It would appear that The New York Review has embarked on a circulation drive. The recent spate of attacks on “the liberals” (viz. John Phillips’ gratuitious, ill-tempered and irrelevant comments on “liberal Kitsch” in his review of the Patton biography, and Paul Goodman’s customarily omniscient postelection diatribe) clearly seeks to capitalize on the kind of masochism that responded with choruses of praise for Baldwin’s self-righteous New Yorker piece.

Evidently, “liberals” (who else reads the NYR?) enjoy nothing better than seeing themselves roasted in print. Now that it is fashionable to attack not only liberalism but “middle-class cultural values” (honesty? Hard work? respect for the life and property of others? education? deferment of immediate gratifications in anticipation of future goals?) the NYR is clearly in the mainstream of contemporary critical thought, and its sales should flourish.

Did someone say, “Never bite the hand that feeds you”? An anachronism, surely, when the bitten hand can be counted on to pat (and pay) the biter.

Aaron H. Esman, M.D.

New York City

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