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Name-Calling Spoils Irradiation Article

The opinion-page article ``US Should Allow Irradiation as Means of Preserving Meat,'' July 21, is an excellent article on food irradiation, that is until the last two paragraphs. In these paragraphs, the author ruins his otherwise effective article. He uses the label, ``anti-irradiation activists,'' and castigates those persons concerned with the bad effects from pesticides, power lines, and computers. Such generic castigation is unprofessional, is unkind, and casts a shadow over legitimate concerns with technology.

How does the author feel about Rachel Carson, author of ``Silent Spring''? Did she have technophobia? Ms. Carson no doubt had vastly superior technical knowledge and experience than the author's. Certainly her accomplishments are unquestionable. There are very responsible and legitimate concerns with problems from the bad effects of technology. Those working on good solutions to such problems are doing much more for the world than the author's unwise criticism and labeling.

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I worked for many years on the formulation of cleaner automotive fuels, and was very concerned with the bad effects of smog. Am I an ``anti-dirty-fuel activist''? Do I have technophobia? I hope not! Charles Gahr, Vancouver Island, B.C.

Color-blind admissions see correctly

Regarding the article ``Lawsuit in Texas Turns Racial Justice on Its Head,'' Aug. 1: I don't care if the University of Texas is lily-white, ebony-black, or pink with orange polka dots. The criteria for admission should only be ability and accomplishment. Richard Mittleman, Downey, Calif.

A close shave for the Citadel

I'm a man who has supported women's equality from childhood down to my 46th year, and I find your editorial ``The Punitive Haircut,'' Aug 5, with its plea to keep Citadel cadet Shannon Faulkner from having a short haircut a disservice to the cause.

Equality is absolute. One either is equal or one is not. It doesn't matter what is happening in the nation's service academies and it doesn't matter what local bumper stickers say. If the male cadets at the Citadel have their heads shaved and painted robin's egg blue, Ms. Faulkner should expect the same. If the same standards are not in place for Faulkner as for the male cadets, little will have been gained when she graduates because it will be said that, whatever she accomplished after she got in, it was because allowances were made for her ``womanly frailties.''

And here's a little secret ... As a former soldier I can tell you that a shaved head, like anything else, is only as humiliating as one lets it be. I hope Faulkner has her hair cropped, keeps it short, and holds her head high for the next four years. Mitch Barker, Seattle

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A picture worth a thousand words

Danziger could not have said it better. The poignancy of his sketch of the Rwandan mother and child, July 28, tears the heart, and I find myself time and again turning to the back page for one last look. Edith Smith, Ervinna, Pa.

Work: a question of ethics

Three cheers for your fine editorial ``The Dignity of Work,'' July 25. Well, well said! It should be on the front page. Susan Sykes, Southfield, Mich.

The editorial is detached from reality. Some of history's ugliest tragedies are a consequence of subjecting people to your fanatical and dangerous work ethic, which you believe is laudable. Your philosophy seems compatible with that of the mill owners of 19th-century England, villains from ordinary folks' perspective. The editorial is infested with middle-class, intellectual brutality - a compensatory deficit parading as wisdom. Wilbur Childs, West Falls, N.Y.

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ``Readers Write'' and may be sent by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by Internet E-mail (200 words maximum) to OPED @RACHEL.CSPS.COM.

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