The Billy Letters

In the late ’90s, then 30-something pop-culture historian Bill Geerhart, posing as a curious 10-year-old named Billy, launched a letter-writing campaign to some of the most powerful and infamous figures in the USA, such as Charles Manson, the Unabomber, Dick Cheney and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

To his surprise, replies soon started pouring in. Everyone from Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld (on tree-fort diplomacy) to Oprah Winfrey, Mister Rogers, Janet Reno, and members of the Supreme Court had words of wisdom for Billy. (“I like the Egg McMuffin,” wrote Justice Clarence Thomas when asked about his favorite McDonald’s food. “Actually, I like almost everything there.”) Responding to Billy’s idea for a “Hustler for kids,” Larry Flynt wrote back encouraging the fourth grader to “Hang in there. You’ll be 18 before you know it.”

As it turns out, no group hates to disappoint a child more than convicted killers, all of whom responded promptly to Billy’s questions about dropping out of school. Their letters, published here for the first time, range from criminally insane to downright sensible, offering snapshots of the personalities behind some of America’s most hideous crimes. Recently, Radar asked Billy to follow up with his mentors as a college student.

You can read it all here.

About Aussie Dave

An Aussie immigrant to Israel, Aussie Dave is founder and managing editor of Israellycool, one of the world's most popular pro-Israel blogs (and the one you are currently reading) He is a happy family man, and a lover of steak, Australian sports and girlie drinks

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  • Carol Herman

    Well, in the “too weird for comfort” department; whose to say that bored secretaries didn’t pen responses to this junk?

    Every single celebrity gets fan (feh) letters. And, most of them tell how “personal” the fan feels towards them; because their images carry such weight when they’re seen on TV. Without changing the dynamics. Those married to these stars know the truth: When they come out of the bathroom in the mornings, they expect audience applause. So? Humans learn to applaud like seals for a piece of fish.

    On the other hand, we’re watching events unfold. ANd, I’m going to guess. That IF the democrapic party is stupid enough to have a bunch of super delegates (which is what the primaries vote INTO place.) And, they reject Hillary, GUESS WHAT.

    Up ahead, Hillary runs as an independent. Just the way Joe Lieberman did when Connecticut demonstrated just how stupid the people who have captured the party’s mechanics really are.

    So?

    SO, write a letter to Hillary. Tell her you think she’s gonna be an INDEPENDENT WOMAN racing for the presidential nomination in November.

    And? If she answers ya; go ahead. Sell the answer, envelope and all, on eBay. It’s the new economy.

    Art Linkletter once did “CHILDREN’S LETTERS TO GOD” … and it was a funny bone tickler, too.

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