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Calendar Letters: Jerry Van Dyke was made for laughs

Brothers Jerry, left, and Dick Van Dyke in 1992. Comic actor Jerry died Jan. 5.
(Chris Martinez / AP)

Every time I saw Jerry Van Dyke on TV, I smiled. Like the time he received an award. He said, “I’m glad to get this now. I was afraid they were going to wait until I died and give it to me post-humorously.”

Reading Robert Lloyd’s appreciation of Jerry Van Dyke [“A Funny Mind of His Own,” Jan. 9] also made me smile. It was a great tribute despite being delivered post-humorously.

John Thompson

Downey

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Artists stumble, but does the art?

Regarding “Artists’ Actions Versus the Art” [Jan. 16]: I’ve often wondered if or how famous people ought to be judged in view of ever-changing, generational changes in political, cultural and ethical standards. It seems every famous person has had flaws and blind spots that make them “all too human.”

I came up with this, which seems fair and which works for any period of history, including our own: If these people were/are more enlightened than their generation or era (“ahead of their time,” as we say), they earn a grade of A or B. If they were/are on a par with or in sync with their generation or era, they get a C. And if they were/are less enlightened than their generation or era (“behind the times”), they deserve a D or an F.

Thanks for stepping back and taking a thoughtful, philosophical look at an issue of the day. We need more of that.

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Jim Picco

Santa Monica

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Mr. McNulty raises two very good points: the art is not synonymous with the artist and it lives beyond the artist, and artists are flawed human beings like the rest of us.

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Our culture expects our leaders, no matter the field or discipline, to live up to unrealistic expectations. If this goes unexamined then we are bound for perpetual disappointment.

Marc Gonzalez

La Crescenta

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Major league baseball has been struggling with this dilemma for years with Pete Rose.

Scott O’Neil

Ridgecrest

Too many guns are brandished

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On Jan. 11 the Calendar section published a front-page picture of Liam Neeson in the movie “The Commuter” brandishing a gun as a good-guy “everyman avenger, a rangy vigilante.” In the Jan. 13 edition you published a picture on an inside Calendar page of Taraji P. Henson in the movie “‘Proud Mary” as a bad-girl assassin brandishing a gun.

It is becoming increasingly clear that Hollywood and The Times are being covertly supported by the NRA and both are publicizing its narrative that America is the “Land of Guns,” good and bad. Thank you for your implicit upholding of the 2nd Amendment and for your implied criticism of liberals who want to regulate guns because of the fake news of the collateral consequences such as domestic violence and mass shootings.

Henry A. Hespenheide

Los Angeles

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Just obsessive about this film

Regarding “Obsessive Love a Hollywood Passion” [Jan. 14]: While the list of films featured a good variety, one I definitely would have included that epitomizes dangerous love is “Leave Her to Heaven,” in which Gene Tierney’s unhealthy obsession for her husband leads her to murder. Her performance as a pathologically possessive woman resulted in the only Academy Award nomination of her long career.

Phillip Hain

Glendale

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The difference between leaders

The contrast between President Trump and former President Obama is shown in Lorraine Ali’s article about David Letterman’s new Netflix show [“Just 2 Old Pals: Dave, Barack,” Jan. 12] and articles in The Times regarding Trump’s vulgar comments about Haitians and Africans.

In Ali’s article, Obama speaks thoughtfully about racism in America.

In the other articles, Trump denies describing Haiti and Africa with a vulgar word. Trump supporters pretended that Trump is not a racist. They can no longer do that.

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How and why America went from Obama to Trump baffles me. The Trump era is a time of national shame and embarrassment.

Arch Miller

Arcadia

Use ‘best’ in the word’s best sense

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As a longtime member of the Directors Guild of America I am offended by your front-page headline and story about the guild’s diverse nominees [“Directors Embrace Diversity With their Nominees,” Jan. 12]. I am completely in favor of diversity, as I would think most DGA members are. But your headline and story imply that the very talented female, black and foreign-born nominees were nominated to encourage diversity and not because of their creative talents. When we vote for best director, I would hope we would be color- and gender-blind and vote for the best director.

Chuck Braverman

Thousand Oaks

calendar.letters@latimes.com

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