Swans Commentary: Letters to the Editor - letter218



Letters to the Editor

(June 20, 2011)


[Please include your first and last names, and your city and state of residence. Thank you.]

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Balderdash! Charles Marowitz's A House Divided

To the Editor:

Balderdash! The author is clearly blind to the simple reality that we, whether as individuals or government, can't continue to spend more than we receive.

It's not about politics, it's about fiscal responsibility and establishing priorities. It is, in my opinion, the responsibility of our elected representatives to decide how to distribute the available (after debt service and reduction) revenue, not to spend money we don't have; and ours, as voters to replace them if we disapprove.

Andrew Allison
Carmel, California, USA - June 6, 2011


Alliterates? Jonah Raskin's The Rebellion Against The Book: College Students 2011

To the Editor:

The suggestion that the latest generation of American college students is becoming "alliterate" momentarily raised my hopes: could it be true that 10th Century English verse form, gnomic, pithy verse with much use of alliteration, is really making a comeback? No, sadly, the author was referring to non-reading students. Perhaps "aliterate" was the word he sought, or perhaps better, not mixing Greek and Latin forms, "alexic."

Best regards,

Paul Burke
Bonsall, Derbyshire, UK - June 8, 2011
Jonah Raskin responds:

Many thanks to Paul Burke for pointing out my typo. Curiously, or perhaps not so, the words "aliterate" and "alexic" are not in my hefty dictionary, perhaps because the compilers did not want to face the sad fact that people were not reading -- and went into denial. My dictionary does have "alexia," which is defined as "a disorder in which cerebral lesions cause loss of the ability to read" and is known as "word blindness." Needless, yet irresistible to say, the condition of blindness to words in students today is not caused by lesions but by a larger disorder in society that has been internalized to create a "double whammy" -- another word not in my dictionary, either. All the best, Jonah Raskin


Looking for Chad Cox: Jonah Raskin's The Rebellion Against The Book: College Students 2011

To the Editor:

Good for you Gilles in your efforts to track down "Cox," whoever and wherever he may be. Not too long ago I was in discussion with the librarian and an English professor at a prominent Texas university. We, of course, discussed Shaw. "Shaw," exclaimed the professor, "I can't even get my students to read Dickens!" So any article that describes the sinking of the reading apparatus into oblivion finds strong resonance with me.


Isidor Saslav
Overton, Texas, USA - June 13, 2011

[ed. This deserves some explanation: Isidor Saslav refers to a "Chad Cox," who sent an idiotic and belittling critique of Jonah Raskin's article. Cox left his message unsigned and without indicating his city/state of residence. I contacted him twice -- politely -- requesting the customary information. He did not reply. From his e-mail address (ccox@gogtech.com), I was able to track him to G-TECH Services, Inc., which operates out of Detroit, Chicago, Dallas, and Indianapolis. I contacted the four offices to no avail. The hilarious part of this little contretemps is that Mr. Cox complained about Jonah Raskin's "speling" (that's Cox's "spelling") -- "book stores" instead of "bookstores" -- and his rant was riddled with typos and grammatical errors. To add to the fun Mr. Cox managed to write that Jonah Raskin "will soon be going to college" thus utterly ignoring the fact he is a professor and chair of communication studies at Sonoma State U. and a respected scholar and author. Foolishness is not a crime for sure, but the lack of courtesy ought to be.]


News from the other side of the pond

Dear Gilles:

Thanks for acknowledging my donation. It is little enough, but glad to show your work is appreciated.

I wouldn't say things are good on this side of the pond, having had to get through all the mindless hokum of the "royal" (even the name sticks in my throat) wedding -- impossible to avoid completely. And then to add insult to injury they have called them the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Cambridge, U.K., has its faults, but it doesn't deserve that.

If only we had a Bastille Day instead of the noxious, ultra-patriotic and militaristic Trooping of the Colour on the Queen's official birthday! I accidentally caught a moment or two of the latter on TV and was unsurprised, but nauseated, to see they could not resist including scenes of our heroic troops in Afghanistan. Meanwhile they continue to dismantle what is left of the Welfare State, including a despicable attack on the paltry benefits disabled people receive, and literally forcing some of them into seeking jobs that are not there even for completely healthy people.

On your side of the pond, I have just read that a showing of John Pilger's most recent documentary film exposing the warmongers and the supporting mass media has been cancelled by the head of a supposed liberal foundation. Pilger had been invited to introduce the film but his flight was cancelled at short notice without explanation. Still we are expected to believe we live in democracies and free speech is hallowed.

We need Swans more than ever!

Charles Pearson
Cambridge, United Kingdom - June 13, 2011


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Published June 20, 2011
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