Letters, Jan. 5, 1942

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Cover Jinx


TIME cover jinx still seems to be working. Latest casualties: Husband Kimmel, Fedor von Bock.

J. F. R.

Washington, D.C.

> TIME'S "cover jinx" has sometimes appeared to work on sports figures but not on others. Franklin Roosevelt, who has appeared on TIME'S cover six times (including this week) since 1923 has, apparently, never felt it. No jinx operated on Admiral Kimmel or General von Bock: the Admiral was placed on the cover after the news of Pearl Harbor arrived; of the General TIME said in its cover story, "when a list is made of the generals who have done most to whittle down Germany's chances of victory the name of Bock may lead all the rest." TIME hopes Admiral Yamamoto may rank as a sports figure.—ED.

Propaganda Peril


TIME [Dec. 15] used the words "yellow bastards" and "Hitler's little yellow friends" in speaking of the Japanese. I suggest that none of us use the word "yellow" in speaking of the Japanese, because our Allies, the Chinese, are yellow.

In this war we must, I think, take care not to divide ourselves into color groups. The tide of feeling about color runs very high over in the Orient. Indians, Chinese, Filipinos, and others are sensitive to the danger point about their relation as colored peoples to white peoples. Many Americans do not realize this, but it is true, and we must recognize it or we may suffer for it severely. The Japanese are using our well-known race prejudice as one of their chief propaganda arguments against us. Everything must be done to educate Americans not to provide further fuel for such Japanese propaganda.

I hope that such an influential magazine as TIME will not again insult the Chinese by using a color term which classes them with the Japanese.


Perkasie, Pa.

— TIME emphatically agrees with Novelist Pearl Buck that raising a race issue is as unwise as it is ignoble. However, "yellow bastards" was not TIME'S phrase but the factual report of typical angry U.S. reactions, thoroughly documented by reports from correspondents all over the U.S. It probably came to the tongues of many men in its strongest meaning—one of moral censure rather than race prejudice—for "yellow" has long been the word for cowardice and treachery. As for actual skin-color, U.S. white, pink or pale faces may well be proud to be fighting on the side of Chinese, Filipinos and other yellow or brown faces.—ED.

Navy Defender


. . . You say "the U.S. Navy was caught with its pants down."

That is unquestionably true, but we also know that in a democracy the policy of the navy is dictated by the government, and that the U.S. Government, by its own outraged declaration, was also caught with its pants down.

. . . The Navy in peace and in war is under constant political pressure. In peace it seldom secures the funds it asks for, and what appropriations it does receive are often spent, in spite of its protests, in ways and places contrary to its best interests. . . .

So in judging the Navy's humiliation at Pearl Harbor bear in mind that the Government in Washington may be equally to blame.


Berkeley, Calif.

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