Their Prom, My Prom

Granted, the Style section should live up to its title, but "Prom Mirror Images" {June 8} went beyond the acceptable level of frivolity. It wasn't just the banal drivel about such newsworthy topics as purse contents that I objected to, but also the opulence of the occasion, which seems to be de rigueur for these students and which, from the slant of the article, seems to be regarded as "cute."

I am a rising senior at Clarke County High School in Berryville, Va. (pop. 560 students), and this type of excess was not necessary to have a good time at our prom. The country club at which our prom was held may not have had bathrooms with oak-doored stalls, gold-framed pictures or marble counters, but it didn't detract from our fun. Nor did dinner tabs total more than $500 or dress prices soar above $300.

Is such a standard of living necessary at 17 or 18? The only thing I gained from your article was that these teen-agers' values are severely out of whack. -- Laura Kitchin 'Harmless'? While I normally enjoy Henry Mitchell's "Earthman" column, his piece last Sunday about the supposedly harmless 17-year cicada was extremely wrongheaded. Mitchell should visit our yard, where cicadas have been destroying methodically young dogwood trees, pussy willows, forsythia and rose bushes for several weeks. These "harmless" creatures lay their eggs on tree limbs after stripping the bark, which causes small limbs to break in half and die. They nearly killed our two dogwood trees this way before we covered them with cheesecloth. Our whole neighborhood has been under such heavy cicada attack that all the local hardware stores are out of cheesecloth.

Mitchell may choose to cuddle cicadas, but I intend to continue "terminating with extreme prejudice" every one that crosses my path. -- James C. Beadles He Can Decide for Himself Who graced Michael Kinsley with the wisdom to know better than Bill Bradley how Bradley should plan his political future {"Year of the Shrinking Violets," op-ed, June 4}? Kinsley's petulant "this won't do" regarding the choice of Bradley and others not to run for president reeks of pretension.

In all his omniscience and admiration for these men, can he not respect their own judgments regarding their personal lives and careers? Such decisions are extremely difficult to make, and it is offensive of Kinsley to state that "these gentlemen would rather preen on their personality quirks" than run. Their reasons given are understandable (families, dedication to current positions, etc.), and while some may be vague, they are all certainly based on premises more profound than mere quirks. I respect these politicians all the more for not allowing the attraction of political power to be the persuasive factor in their decisions.

Granted, many Democrats are disappointed, as Kinsley is, about these "noncandidates," but he must know that politics is not a game in which all the pieces fit together when you want them to. Even without Bradley, Cuomo, Nunn and Bumpers, the Democrats have an excellent chance to see success in 1988. Kinsley should stop making decisions for others and decide for himself whom to start supporting -- there is a large and qualified pool from which to choose. His vacuous threat to those not running is absurd, insulting and irrelevant.

-- Alexandra Smith A Veritable Mistake In her June 6 op-ed column, Ellen Goodman refers to a New York newspaper as the "veritable" Times. Is that some new kind of journalistic epithet? -- Albert Toner 'Zippy' Over 'Ziggy'? Your deletion of "Ziggy" and "Lu Ann" in the comics section in favor of "Zippy" and the "Middletons" was a poor substitution. "The Middletons" is a clone of several other strips you already run, and "Zippy" is a disaster! "Lu Ann" and "Ziggy," on the other hand, are creative and refreshing strips. If you want to improve the comic section, I recommend you delete those silly soap-opera strips such as "Apartment 3G" and "Judge Parker" -- and keep the comics section for comics. -- Gary C. Curtin 'Editorial Self-Righteousness' I would have found your story {front page, June 7} on the meeting of the pope and the president amusing if it weren't such a blatant example of your editorial self-righteousness. You seem to be rather eager to interpret the words of his holiness -- "Whenever moral and spiritual values are rejected, or even given mere lip service and not truly integrated into daily life, then we, as individuals or groups, as communities or nations, fall short of what we were intended to be as men and women created in the image of God" -- as a direct reference to President Reagan's troubles with the Iran-arms deal. As a matter of fact, you linked the two in your story twice.

Did it ever occur to anyone at The Post that perhaps the pope and Reagan both have interests at stake in Central America, and his holiness isn't as inimical to Reagan's efforts to contain communism throughout the world as The Post might like him to be?

Of course The Post would prefer to have the pope attacking Reagan than to think that someone of the holy father's stature doesn't agree with its own view of the world. Unfortunately, The Post doesn't even give lip service to moral and spiritual values. And of course, the only people foolish enough to oppose those who seek to keep communism/socialism from spreading are either communists themselves or haven't endured life under a communist government as the pope has.

In view of the perpetual history of anti-Catholic, anti-papal bias in its writings, I really think The Post lacks the proper authority to interpret correctly the intentions of the holy father when he addresses his words to any person or group.

-- Dorothy Diane Brady