...why not boast about Leopold and Loeb?
ALUMNI AND THE WAR
The introduction to Amy Braverman’s article (“War
Stories,” October/04) makes me wonder once more how my
university, respected for its intellectual creativity and seriousness,
has also produced so many hard-right conservatives. I am especially
disturbed by those who have been making decisions that kill soldiers
and civilians, destroy our relations with other countries, and put
an end to our constitutional rights.
was an interesting read. But I would add an additional note, from
the point of view of a combat reporter who just returned from a
second Iraq deployment (and eighth war-zone assignment since 1994).
I, too, was amazed at how Iraq, as your interviewees noted, is so
very different now, compared to last year. But I was also strongly
impressed by another phenomenon, which while not unique to Iraq,
was perhaps more extreme in that country than in any other war zone
I’ve been to.
A quick note on your “War
Stories” article: Are you sure David Rabb, AM’88,
didn’t join the military to escape Chicago’s poor north
suburbs, or maybe its poor western suburbs?
If Rabb lived in Harvey or Ford Heights or some
other genuinely poor south suburb, you should have said so. Being
specific would be more accurate and also, to be honest, less offensive.
Maybe you’ve already heard from the faculty
and staff who live in Flossmoor and Olympia Fields and Homewood
and Matteson and various other south suburbs.
WHICH IDEAS MATTER?
I was impressed at the Wall
Street Journalized image of Don M. Randel in the October/04
issue (“From the
President”). It made the sense of his remarks tellingly
visual. I was impressed, too, that he wrote that ideas matter. As
a run-of-the-mill alumnus, I am somewhat dismayed to find the University
and the Magazine tending to avoid the embarrassing fact that ideas
matter—as do actions. Instead, we are treated to exaltation
of the business school. We get quasi-meaningful references to alumni
important enough to be featured in Fahrenheit 9/11.
President Randel’s conception of architecture
and its place in the university is a noble one, but it is curious
that he never alludes to the question of beauty. This omission is
probably connected to his implied rejection of “I like it”
and “I don’t like it” as useful statements about
architecture. A different school of thought would hold that such
statements are indispensable beginnings of discussion because they
are the beginnings of taste. One should be permitted to say “I
like it” or “I don’t like it” so long as
one’s next word is “because.”
David N. Levy, AB’92
President Randel makes a good argument for the importance of architecture
in his October column, “Buildings
and the Ideas Behind Them.” It’s a pity he didn’t
mention the names of the architects of the two new campus buildings
Daniel Starr, AB’74, AM’77
New York City
The architect of the new Graduate School
of Business Hyde Park Center is Rafael Viñoly, and the University
of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital is the work of two firms:
Stanley Beaman & Sears, which designed the exterior, and HLM
Design, which planned the interior.—Ed.
TIMES ON CAMPUS BUZZ
I read with amusement “Behind
the Campus Buzz” (October/04). Amphetamines as study aids
were quite common on campus in the ’60s and ’70s, long
before the ADD/ADHD/AADD diagnosis and treatment were enshrined
in the DSM bible. Everyone knew of their effects on sleep (you don’t)
and concentration (like a railroad track). One friend would show
up every fall with a jar of 5,000 5-mg tabs of dexadrine, provided
by his physician father to help him study.
I stood in my kitchen reading the article
on student abuse of Aderall and Ritalan with a combination of
fear and understanding. As current graduate students, my husband
and I (both AB’99) often joke that we’d get so much
more done if sleeping and eating were optional. We plod along, exhausted
but happy to be in school; such drugs aren’t an option for
us. Aside from the health implications, I worry about the standards
that this “new breed” of student is setting—is
this hyper-overexertion now the norm, and when does quality suffer
All good questions, but they must wait for another
day. It’s 1 a.m., my double espresso is done brewing, and
I have 100 pages of Labor Law reading due in the morning.
Rebecca Hankin Benghiat, AB’99
Hoboken, New Jersey
In the print edition of the December/04 issue,
a typographical error turned this address into an ethnic slur. We
apologize to all our readers.—Ed.
ANOTHER REASON FOR RITALIN
While “Behind the
Campus Buzz” highlighted the abuse of prescription ADHD
drugs by students seeking performance enhancers beyond caffeine,
my own GPA is evidence that I didn’t succumb to the temptation.
However, for the past year or so, I’ve legitimately taken
Ritalin pills every day. I don’t have ADHD; I have narcolepsy.
Narcolepsy is the disorder people laugh at in the movies when they
show characters suddenly stiffening and falling over, fast asleep.
ALUMNI WORKS, DON’T FIX IT
As a new alumnus, I already miss the “Alumni Works”
Notes,” October/04). While I appreciate the efforts to
give more in-depth treatment to fewer of the projects, those pages
were the ones I would turn to first. Without them, I fear we are
losing a simple, yet vital way to participate in the University’s
intellectual life. Please restore the pages as soon as possible.
Terry M. Duchow, AM’03
To reduce the lag between receipt of a book
notice and when it appears in print, we have gone online (magazine.uchicago.edu/books)
with a new department, updated weekly. “In Their Own Words”
lets authors describe their latest work(s) at length and link to
the publisher’s Web site for more information.—Ed.
You missed it in “Deaths”
(October/04): Herman H. Goldstine, SB’33, SM’34, PhD’36,
wasn’t merely “an Army computer developer during WW
II.” Rather, as noted in the Department of Defense publication,
50 Years of Army Computing: “As an Ordinance Department
officer, Captain Herman H. Goldstine recognized the potential of
the proposal (by John W. Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert Jr.) to build
an electronic computing machine, nurtured it, found money to support
the project, defended it against critics, and helped publicize its
achievements.” The computing machine was the ENIAC, the first
electronic computing machine, and the worlds of science, business,
communications, and warfare have never been the same.
Gene Feit, SM’64, PhD’68
IN A COFFEE SHOP’S NAME?
I read with interest “Higher Grounds” in the August/04
Journal”). As one who worked in the Divinity School coffee
shop during my last year of seminary, it is refreshing to hear how
little it has changed. We wore T-shirts that said “Find Sanctuary”
back in the late ’80s. I tried to change our motto to “Serving
coffee to the nation’s finest theologians—and their
professors” without success.
I suspect that the name “Grounds of Being”
comes from Paul Tillich’s phrase “the Ground of Being.”
I remember Langdon Gilkey intoning the latter phrase repeatedly
during a course on Tillich’s theology.
Thomas C. Willadsen, MDV’90
OF AUTOMOTIVE LUXURY
Neil Harris’s article (“Legacy
of Luxury,” October/04) about those fine old high-rise
apartments and hotels near the University brought back fond memories.
I often admired them while riding the IC [now the Metra] on my way
to and from the Loop. In the spring of 1947 I remember taking a
hike from Burton-Judson over to Promontory Point. After passing
the Windermere, I headed over to the Shoreland. On the far side
of its parking lot, across from the main entrance, were many fine
automobiles backed against the curb. Most were Cadillacs, also some
Packards. There was one automobile, however, that stuck out into
the lot about six feet further than all of those. It was a beautiful
gray Duesenberg sedan.
James A. Lessly, PhB’50
BLAME THE MESSENGER
Leonard R. Friedman (“Letters,”
October/04) makes an apt point in comparing the content of letters
to the Harvard alumni magazine with those in the Chicago alumni
magazine: letters to the University of Chicago Magazine
typically speak of the past, while Harvard Magazine letters
comment on important current issues, national and international.
However, Mr. Friedman doesn’t suggest a cause for this disparity,
which I suspect is due to the content of the magazines.
The University of Chicago Alumni Association is seeking nominations
of alumni to serve on its Board of Governors, a 25-member group
that sets policy relating to alumni and advises the University on
matters of interest and concern to alumni.
We are looking for candidates with a record of
involvement in, support for, and commitment to the University. Members
are chosen from the whole alumni body. The board’s composition
ideally reflects the diversity of Chicago alumni with respect to
age, gender, ethnicity, geographic location, and degree(s). For
more information, please go to www.alumni.uchicago.edu/bog.html.
In “Want to Get
Your Hands on an Antiquarian Treasure?” (“Arts &
Letters,” October/04) the Magazine inadvertently provided
the wrong publication date for Redouté’s botanical
album Choix des Plus Belles Fleurs. Redouté’s album
was issued in 36 parts between 1827 and 1833.
The University of Chicago Magazine
welcomes letters. Letters for publication must be signed and may
be edited for space and clarity. To ensure the widest range of
views, we encourage letters of fewer than 300 words. Write: Editor,
University of Chicago Magazine, 5801 S. Ellis Avenue,
Chicago, IL60637. Or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.