This week’s “Free for All” letters.
Regarding the April 5 Politics & the Nation article “Mormons reverse policy on children of LGBT parents”:
As per the announcement of changes to the style guide for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it is no longer respectful to refer to the church as the “Mormon Church.” Please be more respectful of this request, and do not use that term again in headlines. Other reasonable alternatives have been specified. Please use them instead. Repetitive and deliberate use of the improper term unfairly propagates the misuse of that term.
Paul Pulsipher, Hamilton, Ontario
The April 6 Free for All headline “He’ll be the judge of ageism” was inaccurate, offensive and misleading. This is not just semantics. “Ageism” is prejudice. “Age” is not. Ageism is pervasive and perpetuates a vicious stereotype. Ageism has real consequences medically, economically, socially, psychologically and politically.
Free for All writer Norman Gelman focused on age, rather than physical or mental capacity. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former vice president Joe Biden (D), both in their mid to late 70s, are the rule, not the exception, in terms of ability of our elders to think, study and act. The stereotyping of two extraordinary, adept, capable and qualified potential presidents in successive articles in The Post undermines and underrates all older people and evinces a disturbing, superannuated and narrow mind-set. The real danger today is that ageism could well deny and deprive us, at this low point in our history, of an elder, a leader who has the experience and ability to envision the long-term consequences of actions and policies.
Charles Kauffman, Bethesda
The writer is chairman of the Montgomery County Commission on Aging Alumni Group and a commissioner representing the elderly, people with disabilities and low-income residents on the Montgomery County Taxicab Services Commission.
I’m not sure how the April 10 Economy & Business article “Hearing on online white nationalism yields an ugly chat” could have failed to mention the church shooting in Charleston, S.C., in which nine African Americans were murdered by an avowed white supremacist. Is this yet another example where African American lives have less value than other lives?
Michele Brown, Columbia
The enormous satellite photograph of beautiful cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin was printed downside up [“Cherry blossoms, from the heavens,” news, April 7]. The top of a map is usually oriented north; it’s always the case for military maps. Further disorienting was that there was no compass rose indicating which direction was north (or magnetic north). In The Post’s version of the world, down became up. Please hire a few old veterans to get the important stuff correct next time.
Paul Sullivan, Bethesda
The April 6 front-page article “Trump dumps his ICE nominee” referred to a person as a “union boss.” Not a labor leader, not a union official, but a boss. Why? It is derogatory and smacks of a traditional anti-union bias. I am the son of a machinist who worked hard in U.S. factories to support his family and his union, and who was rewarded by an honorable and decent job and a pension, something most Americans today lack. I have supported unions in my life, although only rarely was the option of joining one available to me. The Post does not use such a description when referring to corporate executives or government officials, no matter how unsavory their actions. Please end it when referring to labor leaders.
Jeff Johnson, Washington
The gruesome injuries that Auburn University senior Samantha Cerio sustained during a National Collegiate Athletic Association semifinal gymnastics meet this month prompted me to do a search for more gymnastics news. I thought The Post might have an article about how the University of Florida Gators did not advance to the NCAA championships after 19 previous appearances. The Post did not cover this stunning upset. In fact, I did not find any results for the NCAA women’s gymnastics regional meets. I did not find any regular or postseason meet results for the University of Maryland or George Washington University, both women’s Division I gymnastics teams.
Can The Post increase coverage of the actual sport of women’s gymnastics and not just write about the scandals?
Diana Vasilakis, Ellicott City
I read with interest Philip Allen Lacovara and Laurence H. Tribe’s April 9 Tuesday Opinion essay, “Want the full Mueller report? Open impeachment hearings.” Their essay suggested that Democrats might support their requests for the entire report by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, including grand jury material, by framing their mission in terms of preliminary impeachment hearings. Without commenting on the remainder of their submission, I will simply say there is no such thing as a “preliminary” impeachment hearing. There are only “impeachment hearings,” plain and simple.
W. Burlette Carter, Silver Spring
Regarding the April 11 The World article “In Germany, the Bauhaus is back home again”:
This article brought back fond memories of my experience of meeting Werner Drewes, one of the first Bauhaus artists to immigrate to the United States and a pioneer of abstract art who once studied with Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky.
I came to know Drewes when he lived in Reston in the 1980s and I was asked to make a videotape of him. The videotape was a co-production of the Greater Reston Arts Center and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and it was shown in conjunction with a retrospective exhibit at the museum titled “Werner Drewes: Sixty-Five Years of Printmaking” in 1984. In the videotaped interview, Drewes said, “I always felt that in abstract work, one can express so much more that I have seen so far done.
“It is a form of expression which we are only beginning to enter in . . . if you form something new which didn’t exist, I think it’s a pleasure. It is the same as giving birth to a human being.”
Joyce Zeitlin Harris, McLean
The April 11 The World article about a new museum in Weimar, Germany, honoring the design school known as the Bauhaus, mentioned that there is no single Bauhaus style. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe brought one component of the Bauhaus, that of I-beam-and-glass construction, to the Illinois Institute of Technology’s S.R. Crown Hall, which was embraced by the Chicago area and the Illinois Institute of Technology and integrated into many educational and commercial buildings. As an Illinois Institute of Technology graduate, I continue to marvel at the subtle yet functional architecture of the Bauhaus.
R.C. Notar, Lewes, Del.
I have to disagree with Philip Kennicott’s review of New York’s Hudson Yards project [“A shred of hope with the Shed,” Arts & Style, April 7]. I watched the building of this spectacular assortment of skyscrapers for the past two years from across the Hudson River in Weehawken, N.J. It is an impressive engineering masterpiece.
While Kennicott attacked the project as “ugly as Dubai, it reeks of greed and mammon, and it only exacerbates the worst tendencies of a city that seems hellbent on erasing anything distinctive or humane in its built environment,” I say it’s a heck of a lot better than open train yards. I will agree with the author on one point, though: The “Vessel” structure seems to me to be a paean only to the architect.
And, call me old-school, but to call the High Line “the city’s most fashionable park” was ludicrous. The High Line is interesting in a redefining way of describing a park, but give me the beautiful, wide-open expanses of Central Park any day.
Peter Bucky, Ashburn
Regarding “A 19th-century ‘Madness’ that is just as relevant today,” Michael Dirda’s April 4 Book World review of an old but wonderful book, Charles Mackay’s “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds”:
Mackay’s chapters on the South Sea Bubble and the Mississippi Scheme alone are worth the price of admission. Mackay brings financial history to life and provides valuable lessons for students, financial-market professionals and government officials.
I’m sure Dirda’s colorful summary inspired more people to read Mackay’s work. But his review took some unnecessary cheap shots. He ripped social media as a vehicle for bubble-blowing, but our mainstream media also can contribute to a “crowd madness” system. And calling the national debt “Trumpian” overstated President Trump’s contribution to what is now a product of decades-long bipartisan mismanagement of the public purse.
Speaking of the national debt and bubbles, the federal government released the annual Financial Report of the United States Government a couple of weeks ago. To deafening silence. It had a lot of bad news, but it wasn’t covered anywhere in our mainstream media, including in The Post. Is the U.S. Treasury bond market a bubble?
Bill Bergman, Chicago
The writer, a former economist and policy analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, is director of research for Truth in Accounting.
Regarding the April 6 front-page article “For black voters, a 2020 dilemma”:
I’m no fan of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), but the suggestion that Sanders is just another white man who doesn’t represent the diversity of Americans is not accurate. If elected, he would be the first Jewish president.
Martin Kimel, Potomac
I’m sure headline writers and editors are rarely acknowledged, but some recent creativity and humor need to be recognized.
On April 6, guard Kyle Guy of the University of Virginia men’s basketball team made three consecutive free throws with 0.6 seconds left, and U-Va. won its NCAA tournament semifinal game by one point. The April 7 Sports section carried the headline “Yes, Virginia.”
On April 8, U-Va. won the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s national championship in overtime, 13 months removed from being the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed. The April 9 Sports section carried the headline “ ’Hoos laughing now.”
John Perazich, Washington
In his April 11 Critic’s Notebook, “The black hole image is beautiful and profound. But it doesn’t tell us much.” [Style], Sebastian Smee wrote, “Before we get too excited, look again at the image. It’s beautiful. It’s profound. But it’s not very detailed, is it?” Yes, and there is an embarrassing bit missing in the middle. But it deserves credit for effort and patience: By my calculations, the snap is of a subject 323,320,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles away, in light that took about 55 million years to get to the camera(s). Bravo.
Larry King, Reston
Seeing that “radiant-doughnut” black hole dominating the April 11 front page, and then reading the article “A new horizon,” a dead-on explanation of the discovery’s significance, made my breakfast. Anyone, devout or otherwise, should be delighted that the cosmos is so fantastic and that its mysteries can outdo fiction.
Yet, in the same issue, in flies Style’s art critic Sebastian Smee on a broomstick to play down the happy event. The image is “not very detailed,” he says — a minor fact, considering that it’s clear enough to lift black holes from decades of hypothesis to the real thing. He noted that it “isn’t really a photograph” but a data-driven picture. Would Smee trust an MRI? His GPS? All data-driven. Smee backtracked to call the discovery “heady stuff.” But by then, for the reader, it had been tainted.
Marjorie Centofanti, Baltimore
Congratulations to cartoonist Ray Billingsley for his April 6 “Curtis” comic strip. Billingsley cleverly captured the danger to our children caused by people in authority setting a bad example. In the strip, Curtis, a young boy, is seen describing his favorite television court show, which features a judge who “yells at the people, belittles ’em, and makes ’em look really stupid!” He follows this with his reaction: “She keeps me laughin’!”
So now Curtis has learned that yelling at people and belittling them to make them look stupid is how you can be funny. Is that how he will try to entertain his friends and gain their admiration in the future? Unfortunately, we have a president who is in a much better position than a mere TV judge to influence children (or even adults) who pay attention to his crude comments about people he doesn’t like.
Stephen Marschall, Burke
I am a fan of “Baby Blues,” but I was shocked at the April 4 strip in which Hammie threw a Frisbee at his baby sister Wren’s head. The text could have read:
Hammie: “I wish Wren could catch a Frisbee with her mouth.”
Mom: “Well, she can’t.”
Hammie: “That’s why we need a dog.”
Lila Snow, Chevy Chase