Chuck Jones’ letters to his daughter, Linda

January 25, 1954

 

Post # 51

 

Dearest Linda:

 

O.K. so you made a
mistake.  As Mayor Fiorello La
Guardia of New York used to say, “I seldom make a mistake, but when I do, it’s
a beaut.”  I’d say you made a
beaut.  All right.  Man has not clawed his way up out of
the swamps in a series of right or even righteous moves.  He has come some fearful croppers, but
he gets up, wipes the mud out of his eye and the stains from his soul and
proceeds.  Being man he has no
choice.  He can stop and be a
vegetable or he can proceed and be a man.

 

You stumbled and got
your nose dirty.  Again I say, all
right.  But nobody tripped you.  Not [him].  Not anybody else. 
This is where I think you deserve criticism.  Not because I am holier than you are, but because you are
indulging in an evasion.  You are
apparently bravely asserting your fault and at the same time trying to make
[him] culpable.  It can’t be
done.  Man has tried many times to
learn how to talk out of both sides of his mouth and he just isn’t built that
way.  No individual can claim that
another person has led him into error, because by so doing he acknowledges
intellectual and spiritual superiority to that person.  Society can make this judgment, but not
the individual, not without sacrificing something very dear and very necessary
to him:  his dignity.  You may freely judge [him] as you
will.  This is your right and your
duty, but what you do is not any fault of [his].

 

I know what you have
been through and you know that I know it and that I sympathize with and honor
that hurt.  I have been there and I
know.  You are a clean and honest
person and I know you will never tarnish yourself with any big meaty crimes, so
I must reserve my anguished cries for the smaller cunning ones.  Beware the amoeba, my daughter, and the
dragons can be easily slain.

 

Not in reference to
any of the above, but I would like to tell you quickly that I believe there is
only one basic wrong in any human society and that is the one against the
society itself.  I believe that a
sour visage and a murder are part of the same general misuse of society.  They both cause disturbance and
unbalance.  Both, I think, indicate
the assumption by the individual that he knows better than the society or its
laws.  Murder, of course, is a
written crime while a person can be a sullen drag on the people around him for
fifty years without being legally penalized.  But they are both crimes, nevertheless.  I think any action can be easily judged
by the question of whether or not it wrongly affects those around us.  If it does, then it deserves a second
look.  To be sure, there are times
when the true individual must be out of step with society, but this is usually
on the basis of his ideas and not his actions.  Well, this is not intended as a cure-all, but it might give
you an idea to chew on.

 

I think, with the
above exception, you have handled your misfortunes well.  I know that any small disappointment we
may receive from you will always be recompensed by the great satisfactions you
bring to us.

 

I love you very
much.

 

[Note: 
The rest of the letters from this school year are missing.  If I come across them in my travels, I
will publish them at another time, or era.  LJC]

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