On the Wrong Track
After reading the Oct. 23 front-page article by Lyndsey Layton about the rail fracture on Metro's Red Line last week, I think your reporters and editors should be tested for basic math.
According to the article, "Metro track is inspected twice a week by track walkers. . . . As a result of yesterday's incident, Metro will double the frequency of its visual track inspections." But then the next line of the article said, "Metro Deputy General Manager James Gallagher said that track walkers will check every foot of the railroad each day."
So how often will the track be inspected? Who knows? Your paper, or Metro officials -- or both -- don't seem to have a correct answer.
-- Daniel Morrisey
Don't Curse Cursing
In her letter expressing outrage over the Oct. 16 "Boondocks" comic strip, Robin K. Myers [Free for All, Oct. 23] wrote: "My parents taught me that people resort to profanity because they're too dumb to express their ideas intelligently in English. I guess we know where Aaron McGruder stands on that spectrum."
Well, Myers's parents were wrong. People resort to profanity for many reasons -- the most common reason being to get a point across. Whether it is to shock, to defy or merely to accentuate an idea, profanity is a useful literary device. As far as being "too dumb to express their ideas intelligently in English," many profanities are in English and can be found in standard English language dictionaries.
Naughty words are just words that become naughty when people allow themselves to take offense at them. With all the truly profane things going on in the world -- war, terrorism, poverty, starvation, torture and the like -- I think it's about time Americans stop focusing on such non-issues.
-- Jeff Johnson
Why a Political Pariah?
Your newspaper has decided not to endorse a candidate in the race for the Virginia 8th District U.S. House seat [editorial, Oct. 25]. The editorial page editors cite dissatisfaction with Rep. Jim Moran over his past conduct and with Lisa Cheney as a "lackluster alternative" bound to "party-line orthodoxy."
Why not say a word about Jim Hurysz? He is an honest, articulate Democrat who has been forced to run as an independent thanks to Moran's stranglehold on the Democratic Party machine in Northern Virginia. Hurysz supports most of the positions that The Post has backed in the past with other candidates. Why has your paper chosen to act as if he doesn't exist?
-- Glenn Morris
According to the Corrections column of Oct. 22, your Sunday Source editors partially funded a meal to watch a presidential debate, sent along a photographer to take staged pictures, and then reported the event [Oct. 17] with all the objectivity of a supermarket tabloid.
I expect better from The Post.
-- Tom Wajda
Scoffing at 'Calder-Miro'
I'm no art expert, but I know something about running cultural institutions, and I found Glenn Dixon's Oct. 10 Style review of the Phillips Collection's "Calder-Miro" exhibition to be not only mean-spirited but naive. Do museums such as the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Phillips strive to find exhibitions that will bring in the crowds? You bet they do. How else are they to keep the doors open, lights on, guards posted and insurance paid on their permanent collections? To keep these fine museums afloat in Washington with no state funding -- and to keep admission fees as low as possible -- is a daily miracle performed by their staffs. One doesn't expect boosterism from The Post for local cultural institutions -- but perhaps a more sophisticated appreciation of the realities wouldn't be too much to ask.
-- Elizabeth Griffith
The writer was administrator of the Phillips Collection from 1987 to 1991.