A reader writes:

You were closer than you knew (presumably) when comparing Foghorn Leghorn to Thompson.  Leghorn was based on the character Senator Beauregard Claghorn, played by Kenny Delmar on Foghorn_leghorn Fred Allen's radio show in the 1940s. Claghorn was a national sensation - he was a parody of the old-fashioned (racist) Southern Democrats in the Sen. Bilbo mode (cruder, even more ridiculous versions of Sen. Robert Byrd today).  He was so popular he recorded a popular album, starred in a movie, etc., and Warner Brothers then created Foghorn Leghorn to exploit the sensation....

But the story gets even better.  People around America were laughing AT Claghorn, not with him. This parody of an old racist and obstructionist Southern politician - one whose hatred of the Great Emancipator led him to refuse to use the LINCOLN tunnel to drive into New York - was seen as a relic and buffoon, lost in the modern world.  Its no coincidence that this national sensation occured shortly after WWII, at the start of the Cold War, in the years when racial equality emerged as an important issue on the national scene...  Radio in particular, and pop culture in general, helped ease the path towards integration in the military and Brown v. Board of Education...

I say, I say: you learn something every day on the Internets.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.