Tag Archives | Letters of Note

The FBI’s Letter To Martin Luther King Jr. Urging Him To Commit Suicide

The anonymous note ends, “King, there is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is. You are done. There is but one way out for you. You better take it before your filthy, abnormal fraudulent self is bared to the nation.” Via Letters of Note:

In November of 1964, fearful of his connection to the Communist Party through Stanley Levison, the FBI anonymously sent Martin Luther King a threatening letter, along with a cassette that contained the fruits of a 9 month surveillance project — allegedly incriminating audio recordings of King with women in various hotel rooms.

[View the rest at Letters of Note]… Read the rest

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Bill Hicks on Freedom of Speech

Site note: Problem with site, cached version here: Letter Of Note

American FlagThis is beautiful. Via Letters of Note:

In May of 1993, deeply offended by its “blasphemous” content, a priest wrote to Channel 4 and complained about the recent screening of “Revelations,” a recording of Bill Hicks‘s live show at London’s Dominion Theatre some months before (a show which, incidentally, can be seen in its entirety here).

Upon receiving said complaint, Channel 4 passed it on to Hicks himself. Hicks then responded to the priest directly with the following letter. It doesn’t disappoint:

8 June 1993

Dear Sir,

After reading your letter expressing your concerns regarding my special ‘Revelations’, I felt duty-bound to respond to you myself in hopes of clarifying my position on the points you brought up, and perhaps enlighten you as to who I really am.

Where I come from — America — there exists this wacky concept called ‘freedom of speech’, which many people feel is one of the paramount achievements in mankind’s mental development.

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Letters of Note: Jack Kerouac ‘Burroughs Has Gone Insane’

William S. BurroughsOn the always fascinating site Letters of Note:

Early 1957, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg travelled to Tangier to join William Burroughs; their mission to assemble and edit Burroughs’ many fragments of work to form a ‘readable’ Naked Lunch manuscript. Kerouac arrived early and, during a break from socialising with Burroughs, the ‘old familiar lunatic’, wrote to Lucien Carr and his wife Francesca in order to update them on the project’s progress. That handwritten letter — essentially a fascinating account of Burroughs’ behaviour in his prime — can be seen [here].

For related material — including other correspondence, manuscript pages and photographs — I very highly recommend visiting Columbia University’s online exhibition, “Naked Lunch”: The First Fifty Years.

Transcript here:

Dear Lucien & Cessa — Writing to you by candlelight from the mysterious Casbah — have a magnificent room overlooking the beach & the bay & the sea & can see Gibraltar — patio to sun on, room maid, $20 a month — feel great but Burroughs has gone insane as, — he keeps saying he’s going to erupt into some unspeakable atrocity such as waving his dingdong at an Embassy part & such or slaughtering an Arab boy to see what his beautiful insides look like …

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Lost World War II Letter Promises “Rain Of Atomic Bombs”

On the fascinating site Letters of Note:

ABombAt 11:00 a.m. on August 9th, 1945, just a minute before the second atomic bomb in the space of three days was dropped on Japan, a B-29 bomber named The Great Artiste quietly dropped three canisters from the sky. Inside each of the canisters, alongside a shockwave gauge designed by American physicist Luis Alvarez, was an unsigned copy of the following letter.

The letter, written by Alvarez and two fellow scientists, was addressed to Japanese nuclear physicist Ryokichi Sagane —a man with whom Alvarez had previously worked at Berkeley — and pleaded with him to inform his ‘leaders’ of the impending ‘total annihilation’ of their cities.

The letter reached Sagane a month later after being found 50km from the centre of devastation: Nagasaki.

Alvarez and Sagane met again 4 years later, at which point the letter was finally signed.

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Kurt Vonnegut in Slaughterhouse Five

On the fascinating site Letters of Note:

In December of 1944, whilst behind enemy lines during the Rhineland Campaign, Private Kurt Vonnegut was captured by Wehrmacht troops and subsequently became a prisoner of war. A month later, Vonnegut and his fellow POWs reached a Dresden work camp where they were imprisoned in an underground slaughterhouse known by German soldiers as Schlachthof Fünf (Slaughterhouse Five). The next month — February — the subterranean nature of the prison saved their lives during the highly controversial and devastating bombing of Dresden, the aftermath of which Vonnegut and the remaining survivors helped to clear up.

Vonnegut released the book Slaughterhouse-Five in 1969.

Below is a letter he wrote to his family that May from a repatriation camp, in which he informs them of his capture and survival:

VonnegutSlaughterhouseFive

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Letters of Note: Hunter S. Thompson

From the great repository of correspondence Letters of Note:

The furious written rant concerned the movie adaptation of Thompson’s novel, The Rum Diary, to which Sorensen’s studio had acquired the rights. Progress had been slow and confused on their part. So slow in fact that Thompson reached boiling point.

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Transcript

HOLLY SORENSON / Shooting Gallery / Hollywood / Jan 22 ’01

Dear Holly,

Okay, you lazy bitch, I’m getting tired of this waterhead fuckaround that you’re doing with The Rum Diary.

We are not even spinning our wheels aggresivly. It’s like the whole Project got turned over to Zombies who live in cardboard boxes under the Hollywood Freeway… I seem to be the only person who’s doing anything about getting this movie Made. I have rounded up Depp, Benicio Del Toro, Brad Pitt, Nick Nolte & a fine screenwriter from England, named Michael Thomas, who is a very smart boy & has so far been a pleasure to talk to & conspire with…

So there’s yr.… Read the rest

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