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The Kapstein Konnection

In response to:

The Art and Arts of E. Howard Hunt from the December 13, 1973 issue

To the Editors:

Apparently because I was one of Howard Hunt’s teachers at Brown, Gore Vidal on his way to mutilation of Hunt’s corpus pauses long enough to put his fangs into me by way of a reverie in which he pictures me as making a feeble-minded recovery from a stroke [NYR, December 13]. Further on in his random coursing he pauses long enough to squat on Dorothy Hunt’s grave and piss on it.

I would no more reproach Vidal for malevolence toward me, toward Mrs. Hunt, and toward Hunt himself than I would reproach a rabid dog for not being human. But I do reproach the editors of The New York Review of Books, persuaded by what fawning and licking I cannot even in reverie imagine, for allowing their review to be used for such a copious piddle on their newsprint as not even Lassie herself could surpass.

I note that this issue of The New York Review (December 13, 1973) is a Christmas issue and thus reminds me that this is a time for good wishes. I do not want Gore Vidal to feel that I think entirely ill of him and so I want to wish him a very Merry Christmas and a sudden death (from a stroke, of course) immediately thereafter.

I.J. Kapstein

Providence, Rhode Island

Gore Vidal replies:

I am happy to learn that Mr. Kapstein enjoys excellent health. He will be gratified to know that despite all of my “fawning and licking” the editors of The New York Review of Books paid me for my very long article a sum that even he would agree was “piddling.”

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