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Mayberry, U.s.a.

April 27, 1986

I must respond to Pinsky's ridiculous commentary.

Does he really believe that fans of the show are conservative, racist dopes? I was born and raised in a small North Carolina town of 1,500 where I went to church every Sunday, worked at the corner drug store and became an Eagle Scout.

My life until I left for college was not unlike a Mayberrian's. However, my politics are, and always have been, left of center. Pinsky would like to believe that a person like me is extremely rare, but I am not.

"The Andy Griffith Show" accurately captures the spirit of small-town America. True, blacks were not featured, but there were blacks in crowd shots in the old show. No one will ever make me believe there was a conscious effort to exclude them.

It's a simple fact that virtually all TV programs in the early '60s had no blacks. And yes, the show was sexist. Name another one from that time that wasn't.

Pinsky repeatedly tags the conservative label on small-town America. Yes, it is conservative--conservatism of life style, not politics. In all the 250 episodes there was not a single shoot-out and the use of violence was condemned. The sheriff didn't even carry a gun. "Andy Griffith" was probably the most pacifist series in the history of television.

Pinsky could do better than blame Mayberry and the people of North Carolina for his own cynicism and loss of innocence. Besides, what state gave rise to that ultimate right-winger, Ronald Reagan?

Small-town American caring is still alive. Pinsky's failure to realize it, or actress Frances Bavier's (Aunt Bea) failure to find it, is sad.

But it is there. I know. I was raised in it and, if I want, I can return to it.


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