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Value in Fewer Work Hours

"Making the Case for Less Time on the Job" (March 20) highlights many valid points. The ultimate object of work should be to reduce the need for it. This would allow increased time for contemplation, exercise, conversation, avocations of every variety, and, perhaps most important, new kinds of work not directly connected to consumerism, such as environmental restoration and space exploration. More clear and energetic minds are needed in such areas if humanity is to survive into the 22nd century.

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But there is scarcely energy left at the modern workday's end for the average adult to read one article in the Monitor on any one topic, let alone to begin to participate through self-education and volunteerism. Instead, we take a dose of Oprah or Hard Copy, ignore our children, and go to bed (or to our second job). Whoever said that a hard day's work never killed anyone was a fool; a hard eight-hour day's work is killing the future for millions while lining the silk pockets of a few.

Neil R. Hughes

Athens, Ga.

Brahms in Beatletown

I am surprised there is no mention of the musician's nationality or birthplace in "Brahms: Chamber Music Hero" (March 21).

Johannes Brahms was born in Hamburg, Germany, a city renowned for its musical heroes, including the Beatles, who made an early appearance there.

That the young Brahms played "in a number of the city's taverns and waterfront dives" is understandable, since Hamburg was and is a leading European seaport. The Reeperbahn and Eppendorf areas are still lively with places that offer aspiring musicians opportunities to perform.

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By the way, perhaps it's time to lay to rest that chestnut about Brahms's apology for not insulting everybody within earshot. After all, the remark was "invented." What good does it add to the memory of a great composer?

Eileen Detlefsen

Bellevue, Ohio

Cute and fluffy and serious

That does it! I've been meaning to write ever since your Feb. 13 selection of letters complaining about your "cute" headlines. Now, on March 21 we read a complaint about the ice-cream ratings piece. In pointing out the other subjects covered in the paper, your response, "enough spinach for one day," is right on! Even spinach is more tasty when accompanied by a little salt and pepper.

Where has our sense of humor gone? To me everything about your newspaper is a delight; cute, fluffy, serious, whatever. Keep it up.

Nancy MacCoon

Los Angeles

Your letters are welcome. Letters should be mailed to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, faxed to 617-450-2317, or e-mailed (200 words maximum) to

Editor's Note: Our editor, operating at hyperdrive speed that day, got it wrong (see photo, above, this time right side up). The responsible party was turned over to Jabba the Hutt to be disciplined.

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