The Common Good
June 2011

American Alienation

by John G. MackKinney | June 2011

In Danny Duncan Collum's reflection on the attempted assassination of Rep.

In Danny Duncan Collum's reflection on the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords ("In the Line of Fire," March 2011), among his cultural references, I was surprised that he did not mention Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s musical Assassins. In "The Ballad of [John Wilkes] Booth," the balladeer sings: "Lots of madmen / Have had their say -- / But only for a day … Angry men / Don't write the rules." Sondheim's lyrics offer a brilliant study of the "American alienation" which, Collum points out, "is the real killer that stalks our past, and our present

Roger Scott Powers
Germantown, Maryland

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