…getting pleasure from reading
Richard Mertens’s article, “Deep
into the Landscape” (February/03), describing
archaeological explorations in the Amuq Valley was fascinating.
I was struck especially by one quotation from Jesse Casana,
AM’00: “It’s fast and dirty and cheap.
We can go out there and in a few weeks find stuff that
challenges conventional wisdom. We find a ton of things
that people never knew existed.”
Amy Braverman’s article
on the status of minorities on campus (“Minority
Report,” February/03) rightly draws attention
to several promising advances, but it also seems to recapitulate
many of the University’s blindnesses and presuppositions
in the recruitment of minorities, both in the content
of the piece and its visual representation in the Magazine.
e-letters: Cockroaches as heavy breathers
Re the February UCHICAGO.EDU
e-bulletin’s link to the item on insect breath research
As a biopsychology student at the U of C I worked with
cockroaches and had the enviable job of raising these
creatures for research. One of these ancient, perfectly
evolved insects was the Brazilian variant—very large
and relatively inactive for reasons of energy conservation.
“New” versus “Old”
I missed the original Magazine
story last year about “the new Chicago Seven”
Seven: One Year Later,” February/03), so don’t
know whether it included the U of C link to the original
“Chicago Seven,” the famous radicals from
in the late 1960s. During those turbulent years I was
both a Ph.D. student in English and director of student
activities, cutting my teeth in college administration.
Through my assistant director I received a request that
our offices, then on the second floor of Ida Noyes, be
used in the evenings under her supervision by some people
“working in the community.”
Congratulations on President
Randel’s superb essay, “Greater Than Zero
Is What Justice Demands” (“From
the President,” February/03). In one concisely
written and tightly analyzed page, he lays out the parameters
of the whole race problem in America without avoiding
his own judgment as to ultimately virtuous arrangements.
He does not, of course,
nor need he in this essay, recite the encyclopedia of
facts collected by other scholars concerning the myriad
ways in which America has tried (and often succeeded,
despite some conspicuous failures) to cope with ethnic,
religious, color, and/or racial differences among our
millions of citizens over several centuries. Every reader
should be aware of (and, one hopes, familiar with) Gunnar
Myrdal’s An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem
and Modern Democracy (New York, 1944).
Last October President Randel issued a statement on the
conduct of campus debate of contentious public issues.
Much that he urged is eminently sensible: the University
should encourage debate, support a diversity of individual
views, refrain from taking sides, bar violence and intimidation,
oppose intolerance and prejudice, and promote mutual respect
Going to bat
I was astounded by the negative reactions (“Letters,”
February/03) to Rebecca West’s “The
Real Life Adventures of Pinocchio” (December/02).
From my point of view, the article was perceptive and
Rebecca West comments: My
article is a very condensed version of a longer essay
footnoted to indicate its critical sources. The reading
of Disney’s Stromboli as an offensively stereotypical
representation of a Jewish gypsy that so displeased Dr.
February/03) is not due to my “own stereotypical
thinking,” but is a view (with which I agree) expressed
in several pieces of criticism. Robin Allan’s Walt
Disney and Europe (Indiana University Press, 1999),
for example, notes: “The ethnic reference with its
implicit anti-Semitism cannot be ignored....
“When Marriage Raises AIDS Rates” (“Investigations,”
February/03) implies that the use of the condom is an
answer to the AIDS epidemic sweeping sub-Saharan Africa.
In the quality-control manufacture of condoms, voids of
five microns in diameter are allowed, small enough to
block the passage of human sperm. The AIDS virus is only
one-tenth of a micron in diameter, 50 times smaller than
the allowable void. Condom users may be lucky enough to
have a condom with voids in the wrong places for transmission,
but who wants to take that chance with a scourge like
AIDS? Will they be that lucky with every condom?
way to the revolution?
The heading in the December/02 “Chicago Journal”
Party for a Revolutionary”—should have
read “Birthday Party for a Reactionary.” Milton
Friedman’s ideas are retrograde, not revolutionary.
Eugene E. Badal, MBA’74
Surely I sound morbid when I say that I have been getting
pleasure from reading the obituaries in each issue of
the Magazine. For threescore years I have been
reading of the accomplishments of my classmates and those
from nearby classes in the “Alumni News” section.
It has made me feel a failure.
How many alumni remember Festival of the Arts (FOTA)?
For our 35th reunion in 1998 the College Class of 1963
revived FOTA with a photo gallery featuring exhibitors
from several classes. The revival took, and with the help
of Professor Herman Sinaiko, AB’47, PhD’61,
there is now a FOTA student group sponsoring events on
campus this spring. And once again, with help from the
alumni office, the Class of 1963 is hosting an alumni
FOTA exhibition at Reunion.
Department of Corrections
In the February/03 issue the editors
committed several errors that require correction. In both
the cover story and the editor’s notes we referred
to the late Robert Braidwood, PhD’43, as director
emeritus of the Oriental Institute. Although Braidwood
was for many decades a central figure in the life of the
OI (see “Deaths,”),
he never held that post.