It has been quite a long time since I have read in The Post a set of stories more utterly worthless than the Style section's analysis of Oliver North on TV {July 9 and 10}. The timing of the two-day byline strike could not have been more fortunate, for I would think the writers of these articles would be ashamed to have their names associated with them.

The Iran-contra hearings are not a game show. They are not a beauty contest. They certainly do have a high entertainment value, but the subject they are exploring is deadly serious: the subversion of America's constitutional system of government by the Reagan administration's secret and possibly illegal use of arms to the world's foremost terrorist government; the use of sale profits to provide arms to the Nicaraguan contras in violation of U.S. law; and a persistent pattern of lying to and deceiving Congress and the American people about a policy the administration knew could not stand the light of day.

Ollie North may have rosy cheeks like Pat Sajak and a cute little-boy demeanor like Beaver Cleaver, but the horrendous damage caused by his actions and those of his former colleagues in the Reagan administration will continue to haunt this country long after his luminous television image has faded. -- Steve Sullivan

If Post writers think they are winning me over to their side by photographing and criticizing every expression on Oliver North's face and muckraking his personality over the coals, they are wrong. North is no friend of mine, but reading very petty, sarcastic and unsigned articles in the Style section makes me think even less of the newspaper they are printed in. -- Wendy Bronson

Your coverage of Oliver North's actual testimony and what it reveals about misdoings in the Reagan White House was fine, but I object to your near-obsession with North's "style."

Two days in a row, the front page of the Style section featured not one, but three articles on North, as well as multiple images of his face. Yes, the man is fascinating. Yes, much of Washington was obsessed with the words that emerged from his mouth. But isn't it a bit excessive for a reporter to ride taxis around the city to survey cabdrivers on their attitudes toward the hearings?

Beyond the excess, though, I object to the tone of your articles. Another of the pieces on July 9, "That Smile, That Scowl -- That Face!" portrayed North as America and patriotism personified -- down to his face. The headline over all three of the articles equated the colonel with nothing less than the Fourth of July. In your pages, Ollie North became the American hero.

For those of us who have been watching the unraveling of Iran/contragate with shock and dismay, who object to the bizarre privatization of American foreign policy that appears to have taken place, and who support a country's right to self-determination -- in Nicaragua as well as in Afghanistan -- Oliver North is anything but a hero and anything but "America's face." It is admirable for a person to stand up for his or her beliefs, but the havoc wreaked by Oliver North in the name of his beliefs is truly deplorable. Enough already. Enough coverage. Enough hero-worship.

-- Rebecca Steinitz

I hardly know where to begin. "The Witness, Headlong and Heart on the Sleeve" {Style, July 9} contains such amazing language that I fail to find words to characterize it. Your writer should surely have submitted this piece to the editorial page.

Some of us find this hearing to be a matter of serious inquiry and presume that the fireworks and actions of the committee and the witnesses speak for themselves. Such language as getting down on one knee for a chorus of "Swanee," boffo stint, raring to go, Rambotic gesture, hero in a war movie, standing up with guns akimbo, he wasn't kidding, bloodthirsty, swagger, gosh, darned old silly, grim, exotic absurdity, too hokey, mordant intrigue, world-shaker, more emotive and rhetorical muscles than all the Barrymores, contrite, accusative, coy, disingenuous, proud, sheepish, feisty, weary, economic dream plans, eerie, incriminating, little guy sweating out on the hot seat, sacrificial functionary, seduced, abandoned, amassed accusers, mythical history somewhere between Billy Jack and Billy Budd, et cetera.

I wonder if the writer was back in eighth-grade English where the teacher asked students to use more lively language. Is this prose the best a serious newspaper can provide? I applaud humor and relish its use to lighten our lives, but I wonder: Is this parody appropriate at this time? -- Cynthia Radcliffe Smallwood