Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
Ron Perlman, January/February 2014
I am a passionate cigar smoker and I love your magazine. However, to suggest, as does Peter Kornbluh, that Oliver Stone's movie JFK was "utter fiction" is rather void of objectivity. The "utter fiction" is that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the assassination of President Kennedy. The evidence shows that there was more than one shooter.
Rev. James Farfaglia
Corpus Christi, Texas
I have read and enjoyed your magazine since first subscribing to it. The reason I first became interested was solely about cigar information but I have since learned that your magazine contains interesting information on a wide range of subjects in every issue. That being said, I can't express enough my complete disappointment in the article published in the December 2013 issue about the Kennedy assassination. For Mr. Kornbluh to state "After five decades of endless investigation and unproven [sic] hypotheses there remains little evidence to challenge the conclusion of the official commission led by Chief Justice Earl Warren: Oswald, acting alone and for his own reasons, killed JFK."
That statement contains absolutely no measure of truth! After reading between 35-40 books on the assassination, I still am not sure who killed Kennedy, however I'm absolutely sure of one thing: Oswald didn't! Even our own government has acknowledged that the Warren-led investigation was a farce. Time doesn't allow me to list all the concrete reasons why Oswald wasn't the assassin, but to state that there is no evidence to support this is just a lie. To say that no evidence exists only means that he chooses not to study (or believe) what has been uncovered. It seems every time there is another release date approaching to allow even more assassination evidence to be revealed to the public that there is a "full court press" put on by certain groups of people to sell the Oswald theory. I'm disappointed that your magazine chose to be a part of that. Still a reader, though.
Jeffrey L. Dutro
Editor's Reply: We prefer to focus on the facts. And, despite all the attacks on the official accounts of the Kennedy assassination, there has never been credible evidence of any conspiracy. We can't help but think that the theories come from our utter disbelief that such a thing could happen in the United States. It did. And there can be no convincing explanation for such a tragedy.
I just read your Editors' Note in the December 2013 issue (Cigar Truths). I found your note to be calm, rational and well-written. As a regular reader of The New York Times, I recall reading the story you referenced one
Sunday morning in the last couple of months. While the article was the kind of journalism I enjoy getting from The New York Times, I agree that the headline could be considered misleading as it lumped machine mades and flavored wrappers in with premium cigars.
I first became aware of the possible FDA regulation of premium cigars through Cigar Rights of America. While informative, the style of their material reminded me of another advocacy/lobbying group whose initials end in RA.
While I don't expect this regulation to occur anytime soon due to the gridlock in Washington (this might be the first time I am thankful for Republicans), I found your Editors' Note to be the type of discourse that is needed in today's politics. I also wrote to my Congressman (Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) back in July and received a response that included his acknowledgement that "differentiating traditional cigars from candy-flavored and other cigars targeted to youth seems like a reasonable approach."
Again, thank you both for so eloquently laying out the differences between the kind of product that your publication revolves around and what is currently being targeted by the FDA for regulation. I hope your Editors' Note enlightens other media when covering the topic as well as the FDA and our elected officials. I also appreciate you not making smokers of traditional/premium cigars sound like extremists, but rather the hobbyists, enthusiasts and responsible adults we are.
Daniel J. Quiñones
With the December Editors' Note, you have allowed the control advocates to gain a foothold. They are trying to divide and conquer the tobacco industry and smokers, much the same as gun control advocates used to between hunters and recreational shooters. It is far easier to defeat multiple smaller groups, who are also fighting each other, than one large cohesive unit. The tobacco industry as a whole-cigarette, snuff, pipe, machine-made and premium cigars-should all be working together to stop the nanny-state-control advocates who obviously know how we should live our lives.
Having enjoyed fine cigars for a few years now, I still consider myself a novice when it comes to the study and appreciation of many brands. I, like many newbies, find myself seeking information from fine tobacconists and various publications. So you can imagine that I very much look forward to receiving my subscription of Cigar Aficionado.
It goes without saying that each of you are masters at your craft, so I will not bore you with a lot of jibber-jabber. My respect for you and your years of service to the industry is unwavering. However I was disappointed with a particular comment made in the Editors' Note of your December issue. The flavored cigars appeal to a "different demographic"? I myself do not enjoy flavored or flavor infused cigars. I just found it interesting that you would publish such a statement and open yourselves up for a potential outcry. You are better than that! I mean this with the utmost respect. Like I said, I am disappointed, but not angry. I will remain a loyal subscriber. Because I respect you, your work and this publication, I am going out on this limb, offering advice. I certainly understood the point you were trying to make. I would just ask you to please consider how your statement might be misunderstood.
Editor's Reply: Bill, we understand your point, and it certainly wasn't meant to be offensive, rather a statement of reality about the marketplace. As for the question of unified stance, we disagree. Just like the alcoholic beverage industry jettisoned some questionable products and marketing techniques, premium cigars can, and should be seen differently from other tobacco products. It is not just a best hope, but reality.
As new cigar aficionados, we have enjoyed our subscriptions to your magazine immensely. We love to compare notes, reviews and tips to enhance our discovery and enjoyment of fine cigars. We have reveled the likes of Stanley Tucci, Jeff Bridges and Laurence Fishburne for their true love of a fine smoke.
However, we find your recent cover featuring Liev Schreiber troubling. While an accomplished actor, Mr. Schreiber, in our opinion, falls well short of a true "aficionado." His lack of passion is apparent when he states he smokes, "on a very rare occasion," and "I can only make it through about 10 puffs because I can't resist inhaling." Nowhere could we find a picture of Mr. Schreiber with a cigar in hand. We would be interested to know your rationale behind this decision.
Editor's Reply: Our mission, as it always has been, is to present people and ideas that we believe meet the standard of what it means to be part of The Good Life. Some are cigar smokers. Some aren't. As long as they aren't anti-tobacco zealots, and meet that standard, they may be on our cover. Mr. Schreiber gave us one of TV's great characters, Ray Donovan. And, he's a great actor. He deserves our recogntion.
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