Every week, The Post runs a collection of letters of readers’ grievances — pointing out grammatical mistakes, missing coverage and inconsistencies. These letters tell us what we did wrong and, occasionally, offer praise. Here, we present this week’s Free for All letters.
On Page C6 in the Metro section, a photo showed the Lincoln Memorial with a handful of people listening to the speaker at the march.
There were tens of thousands of people at the demonstration, yet the editor decided to show only a handful of people. It was a bad choice and was very disappointing.
Homa and Joyce Zarrinnahad, Burke
That’s a wrap on plastic
Kudos to The Post for announcing that on June 26, the Washington Post Magazine and inserts will no longer come in plastic wrap. Reducing single-use plastics is necessary to preserve our planet. Now what needs to happen to eliminate the plastic bags that Post papers are delivered in?
Dean Schleicher, Monrovia, Md.
I applaud The Post’s decision to eliminate the Sunday inserts plastic wrap, but I will miss receiving the magazine on Saturday, which meant a jump-start on the crossword for me. Progress, nonetheless. Now will you consider eliminating the plastic in which my daily paper arrives? I can understand keeping it dry when it rains or snows, but other than that, dog owners can find other sources for their scooping.
Elaine Gillespie, Rockville
An occasion for florid language
In his June 17 Style essay, “Location, location, location,” Chris Richards shared an experience in Paris in which he came across a group of trees. He said the sun was “beaming down on the fauna in a way that made every leafy branch look like a Monet stroke.”
My husband and I would be happy to join your staff as editors, but if that is not an option, we would gladly donate a dictionary and a copy of Strunk and White for the edification of many of your current staff members. For those who are wondering why we are making this generous gesture, trees are not fauna; trees are flora.
If people choose to insert words they think will show how erudite they are, one should be quite sure of the definitions of those words.
Cynthia B. Evans, Alexandria
Getting our committees out of joint
The June 10 Metro section included a Retropolis article, “In 1987, another congressional panel captivated the U.S.,” on the 1987 congressional hearings on the Iran-contra affair. In it was this statement: “The joint Senate-House committee was chaired by Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii),” which is only partially correct. The House and the Senate each created its own select committee to pursue this matter. Inouye chaired the Senate committee, and Rep. Lee H. Hamilton (D-Ind.) chaired the House committee.
Each committee had its own staff, but, as stated in their joint report in November 1987, they merged their investigations and hearings and shared all the information they obtained. One of the joint hearings is the subject of the top photo in the article, and it is Hamilton who is swearing in Robert “Bud” McFarlane, with Inouye sitting to Hamilton’s left.
Erik Rasmussen, Arlington
The writer was a staff member for Rep. Lee H. Hamilton (D-Ind.) from 1969 to 1976.
Rightly livid over LIV Golf
I always begin feeling a growing anticipation whenever too many days pass and Sally Jenkins has not yet weighed in on some important issue. And I was not disappointed when she dropped the hammer on Phil Mickelson and Co. on June 12 [“Mickelson and Co. are saving the planet, one green at a time,” Sports]. With scathing vocabulary, skewering sarcasm and unmatched wit, Jenkins completely dismantled the absurd idea that a golf circuit backed by Saudi money is a winning idea.
Though the style was humorous, the subject matter is not, and her points are clearly taken. Using Saudi money to line the pockets of millionaire golfers is horrendous. Thank you, Ms. Jenkins, for amplifying this story to us all.
Sheri Langford, Fairfax
The print product’s raison d’être
The June 15 Food section mysteriously dropped Dave McIntyre’s delightful weekly column and instead explained that he will appear now just every other week. How disappointing! And now we get to search online to find where to buy the wines described.
I tried this approach as advised with the Chateau Saint-Nabor Côtes du Rhône Blanc and had no luck. We didn’t need to go online when we had the paper to guide us. Please bring back this delightful column in all its culture and glory.
John Reardon, Alexandria
Paint school buildings white
In his June 8 op-ed, “No school should have to close because of extreme heat,” Joseph G. Allen stated that school “buildings were typically built with materials with high thermal mass, such as brick and concrete, that help capture and retain heat.”
Although I totally agree with everything else stated in the article, I would like to point out that, although “materials with high thermal mass” do retain thermal energy, capturing that energy is not a characteristic of their thermal mass but of their exterior coating. Brick covered with a low-absorptivity coating (such as white paint) could reflect solar energy, effectively “retaining cold.”
Thomas McBirney, Columbia, Md.
A difference of night and day
Douglas Brinkley’s masterful review of Jeff Nussbaum’s book “Undelivered: The Never-Heard Speeches That Would Have Rewritten History” [“In undelivered speeches, history’s alternate paths,” Outlook, June 5] was a timely reminder that if the events of the day had enabled the delivery of the often remarkable presentations never given, “the 21st century would have been different.”
In the interest of historical accuracy, however, I must point out that Brinkley was wrong in referring to the speech that President John F. Kennedy intended to deliver “at the Dallas Trade Mart on the night of his assassination.” Kennedy’s motorcade was in Dealey Plaza when he was shot at 12:30 p.m. — he was pronounced dead at Parkland Memorial Hospital 30 minutes later — while en route to the Trade Mart to deliver the speech in question at a luncheon, not a nighttime event. In fact, that evening the president and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy had planned to make their fifth and final stop of the Texas trip in Austin, where the president would speak at the Municipal Auditorium — with yet another never-heard speech — to the Texas Democratic State Committee.
Echoing a theme repeated throughout his truncated presidency, Kennedy’s never-delivered speech at the Dallas Trade Mart on Nov. 22, 1963, would have included the memorable line “We in this country, in this generation, are — by destiny rather than choice — the watchmen on the walls of world freedom."
Matthew V. Rudorfer, Potomac
When will grammar win the squash match?
I am sure I wasn’t the only reader expecting a different correction in the June 11 Free for All letter “To infinity and beyond,” namely that you squash a squash but quash a protest. Instead, it was perhaps the more egregious error of the government cutting subsidies by “as much as 300 percent“ that was mentioned. Math always trumps grammar!
Judy Treanor, Wheaton, Md.
We make this mistake 1 in 3 times
The June 7 Health & Science section-front teaser for Sean Loughran’s essay, “It’s dangerous to ignore eating disorders in men. I know why firsthand.,” said “1 in 3 eating-disorder patients are men.” It should have said “1 in 3 eating-disorder patients is a man.” As written, the verb agrees with the object of a preposition, not the subject of the sentence. This mistake has become too common recently.
Courtenay Welton, Richmond
Where’s the canyon?
While the June 9 news article “Biden plans to make Hudson Canyon a marine sanctuary” was informative and interesting, it was never clear just where this new national sanctuary is located. The article noted that the sanctuary covered a “seabed about 100 miles from New York City.” So it’s somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean?
The computer-generated map accompanying the piece, while colorful, was of no help in locating the Hudson Canyon’s whereabouts. Interested readers might want to know.
T.H. Otwell, Silver Spring
The benefits of ‘body doubling’
The June 9 Local Living article “ ‘Body doubling,’ an ADHD productivity tool, is flourishing online” reminded me of an observation my daughter made years ago.
When she was in high school and college, she earned good money tutoring both younger children and peers. Many of them, she thought, weren’t struggling with their schoolwork. They simply needed (or their parents felt they needed) someone to sit with them at the kitchen table while they did their homework or studied for an exam.
For students who need company to study, finding body doubles online is probably a cheaper option than hiring a tutor. But isn’t that what libraries and study halls are for?
Dian Seidel, Chevy Chase
Leaving readers disoriented
The June 8 front-page article “She lost her house to the rising sea. Nowhere else feels like home.,” on the effects of climate change on Senegal and, more specifically, on Saint-Louis, was an eye-opener, especially for those of us who know this beautiful and historic city. We can only hope that efforts to save it will succeed.
However, my guess is that readers would have benefited from a map of Senegal showing Saint-Louis and, more specifically, the Langue de Barbarie (perhaps translated?). In addition, readers might have better appreciated the beauty of this city had you included at least one photograph of old Saint-Louis. This could have replaced one or more of the seven pictures of the settlements on the Langue de Barbarie and Diougop, which were poorly identified.
Jennifer Ward, Washington