Too Many Puns

I cancelled my Post subscription two months ago in favor of The Wall Street Journal. This willingness to chance missing Mary Jane's marriage to Spiderman (I do regularly borrow the paper for the really important things) advanced two goals: a time-saving through the Journal's cute but astute news summaries and escape from your God-awful punmanship.

Now, missing Mary McGrory as much as Mary Jane, and finding my time-saving to be thwarted by a need to watch 90 minutes of TV news in support of The Journal, I must again take up the local newspaper. But I register my protest!

Puns are for clever people to suppress all but the best, and the best restricted to one a fortnight. I glanced at the June 7 Post and saw: "Ruffling and Flourishing," "A Long Road to China," "Customizing Wedding Customs" (not a pun), "AFI . . . Widening Its Cinema Scope," "Architect Renzo Piano's Finely Tuned Space," and " . . . a Bevy of Bow Vivants." Ouch! -- Christian Engleman Fawn Hall's Tears? On June 9, you selected the following quotation from Fawn Hall's testimony:

"I was sitting at my desk and {Lt. Col. Oliver North} commented that the president had fired him. And I said, 'Oh, Ollie' -- you know -- 'come on.' And he said, 'No, I'm serious.' And I said -- and I became very emotional. In fact, I started crying. I was very upset."

Why highlight this quotation at all? We do not dispute that the information suggested by this quotation is telling. It indicates, as has the testimony of her male compatriots, that Hall was very loyal to North. She was -- rightly or wrongly -- emotional about him and his "mission."

We do object, however, to the importance placed on this quotation. We can only surmise that it was the newspaper's conclusion that Hall's emotionalism was the most important part of her testimony. The implication is that Hall's participation in the Iran-contra affair is best exemplified by her tears -- not by her smuggling papers or shredding documents.

Would you have made this editorial decision had Hall been a man? We think not.

-- Kathleen Harrington -- Nancy Mulry Let Eugene McCarthy Go Jim Naughton's article on Eugene McCarthy {"Eugene McCarthy and the Shadows of Time," Style, June 2} seems to imply that McCarthy, like Miss Havisham perpetually celebrating her ill-fated wedding day, lives suspended in 1968.

Perhaps we ought to examine what it is McCarthy gets asked in interviews, and take a look at why, as Naughton notes, his 1976 run for the presidency was "scarcely noticed." Also escaping notice, I assume, are the dozen-plus books he has written in the past 20 years, or the hundreds -- perhaps thousands -- of speeches and appearances he has given on college campuses and elsewhere since the Democratic convention of 1968.

The press has the power to deem important or not what someone like McCarthy is doing after having left public office. It is the journalists who love to replay 1968, which is not only McCarthy's moment of heroism and glory but also one of the most important years in American journalistic and democratic history as well.

Naughton suggests McCarthy "desecrated his legacy" by appearing on Joan Rivers' show (we can only assume he means to imply Johnny Carson's would have been okay). But at least she asked him to talk about what he's doing now. Obviously, people were listening. -- Terry Joyce 'Too Far' We are in the midst of a national child-care crisis and, unfortunately, Garry Trudeau seems to think this is humorous. Family-day-care providers, who now care for an estimated 70 percent of all children in child care, are angry and repulsed by Trudeau's continual and unfair portrayal of providers as uncaring, irresponsible and, now, abusive. How far will he go? The Post appears to show concern about the child-care crisis, but apparently doesn't realize the counterproductive effect of this "cartoon." Trudeau has gone too far. -- Judy Griesse More Carelessness I, too, would not have expected columnist George F. Will to misstate John Adams' age "when he attended the 1787 Constitutional Convention," and I was relieved that Robert L. Morris {"Such Carelessness," Free for All, June 6} pointed out the error. I also feel "uneasy to observe such carelessness in nationally syndicated poohbahs," and would like to set the record straight that Adams was not anywhere near Philadelphia in 1787. He was serving as the first minister to England.

-- Susan Carleson No Mention On June 12, 106 people, including myself, were arrested in front of the White House protesting the administration's unwillingness to enter into a comprehensive nuclear test ban with the Soviet Union. We engaged in nonviolent civil disobedience to say as forcefully as we knew how that we refused to accept the continuation of testing in our names.

The next day, The Post made no mention of the protest, either in the national news section or in the Metro section. In contrast, the Philadelphia Inquirer, regarded as one of America's best newspapers, ran a major story on the arrests on page 2 of its first section. This is the latest example of how The Post has been cowed into silence by the resurgence of conservatism in Washington. This city's progressive community no longer expects The Post to question and investigate assertions by officials of the State Department and other government agencies. I guess we'll have to rely on the leading newspapers for that. -- Richard S. West