Musical Truism

Under the title "The Misunderstanding of American Music" [Style, Nov. 15], Jonathan Yardley criticizes a piece I wrote on American classical music. He points out that I failed to mention that America's chief musical contribution to the world is its popular music, not its classical music.

I did indeed neglect to mention this, for roughly the same reason that I did not think to mention that a stitch in time saves nine, or that you should not go swimming right after a heavy meal. Anyone who would bother to utter such a truism would be hooted at.

Along with everybody else, I realize that America has much to offer musically that has little to do with Europe and its traditions. But, you know, a person ought to be allowed to write a piece on American classical music without writing a piece on American popular music. There is room for both types of article.

I appreciate what kind words Yardley has to say about my piece in National Review, but the headline of his column is offensive and wrong. It is not I who have done the misunderstanding here.

--Jay Nordlinger

Faceless in the Crowd

When I saw the photo accompanying the article "U-MD Rejects Message of Hate" [Metro, Nov. 18], about a rally in College Park against racial threats at the University of Maryland, I thought, "Why were there only African Americans at the rally?"

Then I read that the cheering crowd of thousands represented nearly every ethnic group at the diverse university, and I thought, "Why didn't The Post's photo reflect this?"

Racial prejudice and intolerance affect us all. The image you used contradicted your words, narrowed the focus and distorted the event.

--Sandy Greenberg

Uniform Ignorance

Your Federal Page article about the retirement of Capt. Earl Fox ["World War II Veteran Soldiers On, Alone," Nov. 11] did a disservice to our nation's second smallest uniformed service. The photograph accompanying the article clearly showed Fox in the uniform and insignia of an officer of the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service, not the U.S. Coast Guard, as the article stated.

The Coast Guard does not have its own medical, dental or nurse corps. Rather, officers of the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service are attached to the Coast Guard to provide health care for Coast Guard personnel.

Officers of the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service, as well as officers of our smallest uniformed service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Corps, provide a great service to the nation that often goes unnoticed and unappreciated by the public.

--Robert M. Forrest III

Shock Treatment

I am appalled at the Nov. 19 front-page photo that ran with the article about the tragedy at Texas A&M. The photo clearly shows the twisted body of one of the students.

Don't the relatives of that student and the student deserve better? Surely your paper does not need to lower itself to "shock journalism" to sell papers. I hope this will not become a trend.

--Debby Orsak

Wages of Millions

Your Nov. 10 article describing the Senate passage of the minimum wage revision contained a serious error. You reported that 11 million workers earn the current minimum wage ($5.15 per hour). The correct number, as reported by U.S. Department of Labor, is 4.4 million. The 11 million total properly refers to those who now earn at or below the proposed new minimum, $6.15 per hour.

--Ronald Bird