clarity is reductive"
Realism and the real world
Professor John Mearsheimer's article "Liberal Talk, Realist
Thinking" (February/02) leaves out the tie that binds: action.
Close work, careful listening, and reconciliation of not only
different views but also different paradigms are as always the
key to producing results. Also, the idea that liberalism does
not respect or understand power is naive.
If a building doesn't provoke emotion, it's just construction,"
says architect Ricardo Legoretta about the negative comments received
about his hideous neon blocks ("Lifestyles of the Young and
Studious," February/02) which have ruined (ruined!) the University's
integrity. Is that all he has to say for himself?
Thanks for another great issue of the magazine, including "Physics
for Breakfast" (February/02). Once again it reconfirms my
view, first formed by listening to the University of Chicago
Round Table on the radio more than 50 years ago, of the University
of Chicago as a place where the intellectually curious and the
intellectually insatiable gather to think and talk about anything
Sherman, AM'52, PhD'61
hands have it
Your article on Susan Goldin-Meadow's work on gesture ("Investigations,"
February/02) reminded me of psycholinguistic research that Bill
Eilfort [AM'86] and I did at the U of C in 1984-1987. I was a
visiting grad student in cognitive communication, and Bill was
in the linguistics graduate program.
Give Burton his due
Just to pick a couple more nits with the nit-picking article about
the new translation of the Kamasutra by Drs. Doniger and Kakar
("Investigations," February/02). The Magazine's excerpts
of the London Independent's interview gave the impression that
Burton, in his 1883 translation of that lubricious text, attempted
to de-emphasize the role of women, citing the Great G-Spot Controversy
I was so glad to read "Out and About: Mentoring program helps
students get comfortable with their sexual identities" in
the February issue ("College Report"). Anyone who remembers
the threats against gay students in 1991, when many of us protested
that the administration was not doing enough to respond, knows
how much the University has changed in only a decade.
What remains to be said
It did not occur to me, when I read the insightful "Remains
of the Day" (December/01) that it would be received other
than gratefully. The less than grateful letters in the February
issue prove me wrong.
The wonderful letters (February/02) about Enrico Fermi, especially
that from Champion Ward about Professor Fermi's "habit
of seeing physical problems in daily experience," prompt
me to report this. In 1949, as a waiter at the Quadrangle Club,
I frequently served Fermi. The custom was for diners to fill
out a chit after viewing the menu. Fermi wrote: "roast
beef, mashed spectrum, peas, coffee," and signed it. I
knew what he meant, and have since wished I had paid for his
lunch and kept the chit.
P. Lipsitt, AB'50
Providence, Rhode Island
I have been following the discussion ("Letters," December/01
and February/02) about the importance of rankings of universities.
I have no solution except to remark that if rankings lead to
snobbery they are bad, while if they lead people to choose the
right university they are good.
Penn State counterpoint
I noticed Judith van Herik's (AB'68) class news of her retirement
from Penn State University, which she attributed to Penn State's
persistent refusal to "even imagine, let alone embrace,
I don't think you were correct to state that "[f]ew alumni
are sorry to see the demise of Woodward Court" ("College
Report," December/01). Granted, it was not the most comfortable
place to live, but it was probably the most social dorm on campus,
especially the hyper-frenetic Flint houses.
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