RICHARD COHEN'S SKETCH OF FRANZ, the imaginary German, was witty and insightful {Critic at Large, December 23}. It summed up an enigma of German history: how a civilized, Christian people could behave as cannibals. That they did so is certainly justification for some degree of cautious optimism regarding German reunification. While a bright economic and political future seems to lie ahead for the Fatherland, the ugly blots of its past are not easily eradicated. MARGARET L. KEMPF Greenbelt

CAN RICHARD COHEN POSSIBLY BE SO naive as not to know that all we government employees are "sworn in" on our first day on the job? Diatribes such as his anti-German piece only contribute to the walls of hatred and misunderstanding that Americans are building up between us and foreign countries. I suggest Cohen obtain professional assistance in separating the product of his "cynical imagination" from reality. MARTI SCHEEL Greenbelt


YOU HAVE A LOT OF NERVE TITLING AN article on Sharon Pratt Dixon "Her Honor" and then treating her in such a sexist manner {J Street, December 30}. When Marion Barry was inaugurated as D.C.'s mayor, did you publish his shoe size, shirt size and thoughts on his size? Then again, if you had run an article with information about Mr. Barry's "guilty pleasure" or "secret passion," maybe this city wouldn't be in the mess it's in today. BARBARA G. HOLMES Washington

WHEN I READ THAT GORGEOUS SHARON Pratt Dixon was concerned about whether she still turns heads, I was floored. But when I heard her inaugural address, it became clear that this radiant woman, whose speech reminded me of Martin Luther King, can turn hearts as well as heads. WILLIAM KELLEY EIDEM Bethesda

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