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As an identical twin, I want to thank Adam Pitluk for his “Editor’s Note” sharing his experience growing up near Twinsburg, Ohio (“Double Vision,” Oct. 1). My twin and I now have the festival at the top of our bucket list. To add another example of “good things come in pairs,” I very much appreciated not one but two articles about male perspectives on breast cancer: “Battle Scars,” (about Vietnam and Gulf War veteran Bill Mimiaga’s battle with breast cancer) and “A Promise to be Pink” (about AA employee Sattar Hussein and his wife dealing with her breast cancer). I responded in flight by visiting aa.com/joinus and making a contribution to Susan G. Komen. It is because of your intentionality and creativity that I left the plane a more understanding guy.
EDITOR ADAM PITLUK RESPONDS: If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it … well, twice, Jonathan: American Way is here to entertain, to inform and, whenever possible, to educate.
MISLEADING… OR NOT?
I was a bit disturbed by a line in the Oct. 15 article “Fright Night,” regarding the origin of Halloween, that gives credence to the belief that “what you don’t know can’t hurt you.” The writer stated that, “Candy-seekers … zombie impersonators and late-October fun-seekers of all shapes, persuasions and sizes probably don’t care how it all started.” True, many of us fondly remember our childhood when we were let out of the house to roam the streets until late, free of our parents’ control or supervision. We engaged in small pranks, never thinking that this was in any way contrary to what we learned in Sunday school. The demand of treats-or-suffer-the-wrath-of-a-pint-size-tyrant never seemed serious until I now contemplate the lack of patience of clients or even passengers on a flight who get irate if their beverage does not arrive just when they think it should. Parents should ask themselves exactly what values this event really teaches. Should one view delving into the spirit world as being “harmless fun”? Should pleasure-seeking really be paramount to truth-seeking? Perhaps “zombie impersonators” may not care, but those of us among the living should be concerned when a writer thinks that glossing over the facts is an acceptable form of journalistic credibility.
A.P. RESPONDS: Thank you for your thoughtful concerns, Sandra. However, the writer did not gloss over the facts. In the preceding paragraph, he writes, “Some say it was shaped mainly by the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when bonfires were lit and costumes worn to ward off evil spirits during the end of harvest season. Others point to old Roman rituals like Feralia (commemorating the passing of the dead) and Lemuria (an all-purpose ghost-cleansing holiday). Halloween historians also cite the church-sanctioned All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day among the list of historical influences over the last 2,000 years or so.” The writer not only explained the origins, he explained the conflict over where and when Halloween actually began.
FAKE IS FUNNY
I burst out laughing at your Oct. 15 article on being a fake celebrity for a day (“Star Treatment”). Larry Dobrow played it cool while dozens of starstruck fans mobbed him in the New York heat. But kudos has to go to the one teenager who sensed Larry was not the real deal. When it comes to fame, it helps to maintain a bit of skepticism.
WRITER LARRY DOBROW RESPONDS: I was also surprised, Enda, and a bit disappointed that nobody besides teenager Joy challenged me. If someone had done that, I’d have been forced to think on my feet. The resulting panicked babble (“uh, yeah, well, I was in that show — you know, that show, the one with the guy?”) would’ve made for an entertaining addition to the story.
EATING IN THE U.K.
Jan Hubbard’s article on cooking in the U.K. resonated with me (“British Food Power,” Oct. 15). I first visited Scotland in 1987, but every time I asked for recommendations of where to eat traditional U.K. food, they said, “Oh, you don’t want to eat that! Try this great Italian or Thai or French restaurant.” It got to be a really funny joke. Being of Scottish descent, it was important to me to try haggis. I finally found it at a little restaurant above a pub and found that I liked it. I am flying AA and visiting Scotland for the second time soon. Hopefully, the food recommendations this time are more locally traditional. I would love to eat more foods that my ancestors enjoyed.
ASSOCIATE EDITOR JAN HUBBARD RESPONDS: Reputations die hard, Teresa, but the food experts at Michelin award new stars to U.K. eating establishments every year. So the people whose job it is to judge are doing so in a very positive manner.
I’ve come to rely on the AA social-media team to help me during trips. It’s gotten to the point where I no longer need to call customer service. Instead, I send a public or private tweet to @AmericanAir. They keep me connected during trips by staffing top people from every AA division, and they have direct contacts, everyone from mechanical to reservations to the AAdvantage team. Thanks @AmericanAir social team.
AA DIRECTOR, SOCIAL MEDIA COMMUNICATIONS JONATHAN PIERCE RESPONDS: Thanks for following @AmericanAir and for your kind words, Dennis. We love talking with you and are always here to help 24/7. Tweet us soon! @jonnorp.