American Alienation

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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