“The Week” is what I would describe as a News Literary Journal. It sums up the prior week succinctly and in nice little sound bites. The Editor in Chief’s name is William Falk. He doesn’t always write the editor’s letter as other editors sometimes do, but I love it when he does because he is an amazing thinker and writer.
I was lounging around the other day reading The Week. I came upon an article called How They See Us: Europe Loses Faith in America. I was appalled at a comparison that was made and immediately went to my computer to email William Falk.
Here is my email to Customer Service that had “For William Falk” in the subject line:
I’ve been getting your mag since the beginning. I love it. You are a wonderful editor and an incredibly skilled writer. I LOVE it when you are the one who writes the editor’s letter.
There is something that has upset me in your June 9, 2017 issue of The Week. In the article called, How they see us: Europe loses faith in America, the author says and I quote, “Trump even physically shoved aside the Montenegrin prime minister as NATO leaders gathered for a photo, displaying the “diplomatic grace of an orangutan.”
I am an amateur expert on the great apes. This is actually a disgrace in comparing the gentle, diplomatic Orangutan to this frightening president. Whoever wrote this piece (and it doesn’t say who) needs to research the great apes before using them irresponsibly for comparison in their articles for your publication. I encourage you to demand this writer go to a zoo where there are Orangutans and observe them for a considerable amount of time. This person clearly knows NOTHING about great apes, the comparison was an outrage and that person should not be using them in an article.
With frustration and the best to you,
A day or two later I received an auto response that they appreciated my contact but that they receive so many emails there was no way they could respond to every one.
Yeah, of course, I thought, and not many people care so much about the great apes, anyway. And what Editor in Chief of a major news magazine is going to care? I still felt good about fighting for apes though.
I got home late from the zoo today. I talked to a lot of people about gorillas and chimpanzees and I was tired. I saw on my phone that I had several emails so I went to my computer with the intention of answering or getting rid of as many of them as I could in the shortest time possible.
And then, as I scanned the inbox content, my eyes landed on an email from “Bill” Falk.
I was stunned, actually. Here is his email to me:
Dear Ms. Thompson,
Your point is well taken, and I am sorry we let Tom Peck of the London Independent insult the great apes. (It was his piece that we were quoting from, as we indicated in the magazine.) I would guess that Peck believes orangutans and other apes sometimes engage in territorial displays. Hence, the comparison to Trump.
I envy you your life’s work. I am fascinated by apes of all kinds whenever I go to a zoo; they are so clearly related to us, and yet so different. The intelligence in their eyes always gives me goosebumps.
I’m a softy and this made me cry. Here is my response to him:
Thanks so much for your response. I received a auto-response from your team saying there is no way you guys can answer every email you get so I’m honored that an issue about apes rendered your reply. I am thrilled you are fascinated by great apes. I know what you mean about the goosebumps. Many, many people say that. The latest statistics are saying we share 98.8 percent the same DNA with Chimpanzees. In fact, Chimpanzees are more closely related to humans than they are to Gorillas! The apes feel like brothers and sisters to me and I love them so deeply. When I look into their eyes it calms my soul. I love them way more than I love most people.
What bugged me, of course, is Peck’s comment comparing an Orangutan in any way to Trump, but I get your take on it. Orangutans have a lot more diplomatic grace in every way than Trump. In fact, when they do territorial displays, they make sense and are for a very clear purpose. I’m not seeing this with Trump.
Please recycle your electronics (phones, tablets, computers, etc.) at an electronics recycling facility to minimize the need to go to Africa and mine for a mineral in our electronics called Coltan. The great apes are losing their natural habitats at an alarming rate because of this mining and the Coltan from old stuff can be removed and used in the new electronics. Google “electronics recycling” in your area.
All the best and thanks again. And thanks for the awesome magazine!