Monday, March 20, 2017


David Billet

12/20/07 at 11:08 PM

Thank you, Mr. McMillan. I'll see that your subscription/billing problem is given immediate attention. I hope we're not taking up too much of your time.


On Dec 20, 2007 12:31 AM, John McMillan <> wrote:

To: Mr. David Billet, "Commentary" magazine, New York City, New York.

Dear Mr. Billet,

Thank you again for your much-appreciated words of encouragement about my ability to generate ideas that might be useful to your politically-minded and sociologically-minded publication.

Some additional ideas I would like to offer you today include:

---the dearth of truly idealistic and inspirational secular popular music lyrics these days that offer a substantive and original message.

I have been searching for a list of the most idealistic song-writers of today who offer secular (non-Christian) lyrics; but so far I have not found any such much-needed list that would give me ideas for compact-discs to purchase.

---Is there any evidence indicating that Jewish Americans or non-Christian Americans in general are more likely to be subjected to stalking in any context than are Christian Americans? 

There may well be a need for a nationwide study to determine whether a disproportionately high percentage of the victims of stalking in the United States these days are, in fact, Jewish or non-Christian.

---I get the impression that the lifestyle emphasis of many Jewish Americans on "keeping kosher" is being supplanted in the modern era by an increasingly secularized emphasis on "consuming organic foods" or "consuming trans-fat-free foods" or "pursuing a low-fat, ow-cholesterol dietary lifestyle," "pursuing a vegetarian lifestyle," etc.

---What are family reunions like for Jewish Americans who have married someone who is non-Jewish? 

I raise that question because it is likely that attending a family reunion at which the vast majority of the persons attending that event are non-Jewish and Christian, say, might be a rather awkward experience for many Jewish married persons in the United States.

----I find it interesting to note that of the most famous Jewish female celebrities of the last several decades---Barbra Streisand and Bette Midler and Erica Jong among them---none of whom I can myself recall off-hand was or is famous in real life for being a good biological mother.

 Is it possible that the news media have failed to adequately highlight examples of famous Jewish ladies who are also very conscientious and benevolent biological mothers?

----Is there any particular Jewish group in the United States that has sought to be congenially inclusive toward law-abiding Palestinian-Americans? 

I raise this question because I don't recall any media publicity about any such harmonious Jewish American and Palestinian-American relationship.

----Is there a non-profit group in the United States that seeks to protect the legal right of a non-Christian Jewish person (or any other non-Christian person, for that matter) to NOT be subjected to proselytization activities by Christian persons or Christian groups in the United States?

----President George W. Bush appears to have possibly exhibited a certain level of antipathy toward Jewish culture. 

I have never seen a photograph of President Bush eating a bagel, for instance. What might account for any element of possible anti-Semitism in the record or style of George W. Bush in the White House?

----In a nation where so many of the Christians emphasize that they have undergone a cited "born-again" experience, I would like to raise the question of whether Jewish Americans have developed some alternative emphasis in the way of a more rational and empirically observable form of self-renewal or rejuvenation or "born-again" experience.

----Of the lifelong education programs being offered on the Internet these days, which programs offer the most for liberal-arts-minded Jewish Americans who are non-Christian in religious ideology?

----One possibly overlooked societal trend in the United States is the growing number of Jewish Americans who were born in a Latin American nation or who are descendants of former citizens of a Latin American nation. 

A few years ago, I spoke with an Austin-area single man who told me that he centered his own social life on the "Jewish Latin American" scene, he confided to me one day.

----Where in the United States can be found the most extensive collection of audiotapes and videotapes of oral-history interviews with Jewish survivors of the Holocaust?

Is that found inside a museum in Washington, D.C.; in Skokie, Illinois; or elsewhere?

I raise that question because every year, the number of Jewish Americans of today who are survivors of the Holocaust is declining. 

Is there any current project to obtain complete and authoritative audiotapes or videotapes of oral-history interviews with many or all of the remaining Jewish survivors of the Holocaust who reside in the United States?

----To what extent is spouse abuse involving physical abuse per se found among Americans of Jewish ancestry? 

I raise this question because it seems to me that the news media primarily focuses on non-Jewish adult male wife beaters; and I wonder if the media has possibly neglected evidence of spouse abuse involving physical violence that occurs in households in which one or both marriage partners are Jewish.

----Americans were told for years that Barbra Streisand reportedly neglected her mother and subjected her mother to inhumane conditions in which her mother had very little money to live on, for instance, from what I read in news accounts.

 Were those news reports unfair? Also, did that type of news coverage possibly convey an inaccurate picture of how most Jewish adult ladies in the United States treat their mother?

----I get the impression that the terrorism crisis in the United States and elsewhere has prompted some or many Jewish groups to choose not to cite their members by name in their Internet website. 

When I recently consulted the Internet website for Temple Beth Israel Reform Judaism religious congregation of Austin, I was surprised to note that no listing of members of that congregation was provided. 

Is there any risk that security-minded precautionary measures are contributing to a tendency toward "going underground" or "secretiveness" on the part of some Jewish groups in the United States?

---Of the various current political candidates for President of the United States, which candidate appears to be the most receptive toward, and the most inclusive toward, law-abiding and honorable Jewish political thinkers?

---Is there any effort within the American Jewish community to place greater emphasis on a festival tradition that does NOT highlight human suffering by Jewish persons of an earlier century?

 I raise that question because it seems to me that many non-Jewish Americans look upon the holidays of Judaism and Jewish festivals as "having a grim premise to them and dwelling on persecution of Jewish persons of the past." I am hopeful that an essay might respond to that perception on the part of many non-Jewish Americans--and possibly on the part of many Jewish Americans, too.

----Is there a trend toward an increasing percentage of Jewish Americans in their last will and testament authorizing cremation of their own body after they are deceased?

 I raise that question because it seems to me I read in the 1980s that Judaism prohibits cremation of the body of the deceased. However, I also have read that Judaism does not subscribe to the view that human beings have an afterlife after they are deceased. 

Is there any "reinterpretation" of Judaism occurring these days in which cremation of the body is being cited as being "socially responsible," since it would promote the goal of land conservation in an era when cemeteries take up what many regard as an excessive amount of land area on this planet.

---During my youth, I cherished the gentlemanly style exhibited by Rabbi Small in the series of murder mysteries depicting a brilliant rabbi detective and married man who was based in Wellesley, Massachusetts. 

Unfortunately, it occurred to me today that I do not recall any particular Jewish man of real life, with the exception of Albert Einstein, who has been described in the media in recent decades as being a perfect and conscientious and empathetic gentleman. I wonder what might account for the tendency by many American media companies to neglect that theme.

Thank you again, Mr. Billet, for very kindly encouraging me to continue pursuing tentative brainstorming designed to be helpful to "Commentary" magazine. 

I hope that this very hastily-written follow-up letter proves to be of interest to yourself and your colleagues.

Sincerely and Best Wishes,

John Kevin McMillan,
11411 Research Boulevard, Apt. 325, Austin, Texas, 78759.
Phone: (512) 342-2295.

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