IMAGE:  October 2002 GRAPHIC:  University of Chicago Magazine
Volume 95, Issue 1
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Morning and melancholia 
Geeks go Greek 
End of the Medical Marathon?
The worst of all possible worlds 

3 rms, future vu


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GRAPHIC:  Also in every issueLetters
"…so one-sided it falls off my bookshelf."

Teaching the right audience
Thank you for Walton Collins's informative article, "Teachable Moments," about the North Kenwood/Oakland (NK/O) Charter School in the August/02 issue. As a charter school supporter, however, I had the following concerns: (1) the school does not seem to service the students whose education is most in jeopardy (the percentage of low-income students is below the average for city schools and there is a dramatic difference between NK/O students and those in the Chicago Public Schools regarding discipline problems); and (2) although the school's student body seems to be predominantly African American from the pictures, there was no indication that the African American heritage was included in the curriculum. I do agree that the Jewish Holocaust must be taught, but then so must be the African American. Every concept illustrated by the former can be taught by the latter. Neither should be forgotten.
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IMAGE:  August 2002 CoverGeneration gaffe
While enjoying George McElroy's reminiscences about his youthful encounter with the Great Bookies ("Great Men of the Great Books," August/02), I was startled to see Richard McKeon's confrere, Ronald Crane, identified as the holder of two U of C degrees granted in the 1940s.
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Judicial agenda
I found "The Business of Reflection" (August/02) to be an interesting and well-written article about Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, but I was disappointed in the banner caption proclaiming that Justice Stevens is a jurist "without an agenda."
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Getting the number right
While I'm glad that the Magazine recently won an award for its writing excellence, I was most disappointed to find major factual errors in "Keeping Their Religion" (August/02) as to the number of Muslims in the United States.
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Adjective, approach err
Many thanks for the article about Richard Shweder's project on the way Muslim Americans seek to adapt to U.S. culture ("Keeping their Religion," August/02). But please note that no matter what a woman does, she cannot be Islamic. The correct adjective is Muslim.
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Callous multiculturalism?
I was chagrined to come across the summary of Richard Shweder's study of American Islamic communities - at least those portions of the summary that reveal how ignorant Shweder's education has left him. No doubt Shweder believes he is taking a brave stance in support of forcible women's circumcision and the Taliban's brutal suppression of Afghani women, all in the name of "multiculturalism."
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Before berwanger
Jay Berwanger was a fine fellow and a terrific athlete but certainly not "the University's original football star" ("Chicago Journal," August/02).

That description clearly belongs to Walter Eckersall, who was born in Woodlawn and first showed his sports brilliance at Hyde Park High. Robin Lester's book Stagg's University describes Eckersall as "the most acclaimed intercollegiate athlete in University of Chicago history and a consensus all-time all-American quarterback." (See page 55 et seq.) He was also a terrible student.

Alan J. Whitney, X'49
New York

Troubling allegations
I received an e-mail yesterday detailing a number of quite vicious anti-Jewish incidents which allegedly took place at the University quite recently. These include: a Jewish senior being told by a University-appointed preceptor that he couldn't be bothered reading her B.A. paper because it focused on topics relating to Judaism and Zionism; fliers in a dorm posted to publicize a pro-Israel rally defaced with obscenities; professors of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations who suggest there can be no legitimate Zionist perspective for the birth of Israel; in general, a growing air of frantic hostility toward Israel, Israelis, and Jews in general; and jokes about Auschwitz on a humanities department listserv.
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Defending Western Civilization
The controversy over the Western Civilization course is an opportunity for serious educational discussion. As head of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, which coordinated the statement by Saul Bellow, Mary Ann Glendon, David Riesman, and other distinguished scholars questioning the change, I was disappointed to see President Randel defend it with arguments that seem disingenuous and insulting ("From the President," June/02).
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Striking the wrong note
I just got to the June/02 issue of the U of C Magazine. In it, there is an article called "Chicago: Campus of the Big Ideas," where a number of symposia are described. I must take issue with #8, Art for Art's Sake.
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Meyer remembered
In reading the June/02 issue, I saw a report on the revival of the Festival of the Arts ("College Report: The arts for art's sake") in which there was a reference made to a social science professor, "Meyer Gerhardt." I suspect this is a garbled reference to Gerhard Meyer, a wonderful and distinguished teacher, an economist by training, a Christian socialist, and a lifelong friend of the theologian Paul Tillich.
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Breakaway strategies
Re: your June/02 article on "The End of Consulting as We Know It," I nearly choked on my green tea when I read the quote from consulting firm Accenture's Mary Tolan: "Accenture is less focused on classical strategy studies and more on shareholder value creation; how to double the client's share price, where the breakaway strategy for the firm is. We tend to form very close relationships with senior-level executives and, taking their ideas, accelerate their ability to implement them and get results."
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Address correction
Unlike many other publications, the Magazine tends to assume an intelligent readership. It is clearly scrupulous in the facts it presents, perhaps aware that its readers are only too ready to pen letters in response. It is also a forum in which alumni can present their own points of view and debate those of their fellow alums in an atmosphere of respect.

This is why I was appalled to see the Magazine report the political content of an alumna's news as fact, when it belongs squarely in the realm of fantasy. In the June/02 "Letters," the editor apologizes for passing on the myth that people of the Middle Ages believed the world to be round, and yet the same issue propagates a modern fallacy that East Jerusalem is located in Palestine. ("Class News, The Schools, 1990s").
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Drinking vs. alcoholism
You gotta be kidding me. As one friend put it, "Duh! That's university." "I'll drink to that," the other replies. Drinking at the U of C is really no different than anywhere else. When I entered the University in 1995 there was much talk about a report that students at Chicago drank more on average than anywhere else. Trips to other colleges and universities sometimes seem to corroborate this, but that is mostly because I used to drink more than my fair share. A lot of us did. Now living next to the largest university in the country (with the largest Greek system), there is less trouble made about drinking than I ever heard at the U of C. This makes me think that Zane Spiegel's letter ("Letters," August/02) is another case of classic Chicago whining that is so rampant on campus (and beyond).
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Department of corrections
The editors committed two errors in the August/02 issue that Magazine readers did not write in to note. We failed to credit photographer Lloyd DeGrane for his portrait of a Muslim American schoolgirl ("Investigations," page 7), and, in a caption for "Teachable Moments" (page 23), we misidentified Marvin Hoffman, curriculum director for the North Kenwood/
Oakland Charter School. We regret both errors.

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