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Films, not `star wars'

The article ``Buster Keaton: moments of comic genius,'' Nov. 17, was a delight to me. Mr. Keaton has long been one of my favorites. This article captures the peculiar genius of a unique character; it brought back a host of memories. I am probably one of the very few Americans who have seen Buster Keaton on the screen in the Soviet Union. During the summer of 1929, soon after the beginning of the Stalin era, I traveled in the USSR.

After a long boat trip down the Volga, we stayed overnight in Volgograd (Stalingrad). It was then named Tsaritzin, a small, slightly dismal town, where the local hotel provided bedbugs, among other extras.

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In the evening we attended the local cinema. Featured was the silent film ``The General,'' with Buster Keaton in the major role. The local audience was utterly captivated. They laughed and applauded vigorously; what they actually made of the film I shall never know.

Did they share with us a generalized human love for Keaton's deadpan antics? Did they regard the story as a picture of America, and therefore absurd?

I like to think that Buster Keaton gave them something of universal delight that transcended language, culture, political ideology.

If so, perhaps it would be beneficial to send more films like this to the USSR rather than to build ``star wars.'' I think I came closer that night to a human approach to the Soviet populace than at any other time. Watson Smith Tucson, Ariz.

The costs of giving life In response to the article ``Making fathers accountable for children born to unwed teens,'' Dec. 2: Shifting responsibility for children born out of wedlock toward the fathers is certainly overdue.

The article stated that two-thirds of the fathers of children born out of marriage are at least 20 years old.

These men are old enough to understand the consequences of their actions; they should be held accountable for them.

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Social workers who tell unwed teen mothers that it is useless to seek child support payments need to be educated. Many of these fathers do have jobs; it is only right that they should pay for their actions just as the mothers do.

Even though America is considered a ``free country,'' many things should not be free. Giving life to a another human being is one. Lisa A. Sibbers Eau Claire, Wis.

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