Letters from alumni about Letters
I admire the range of letters that you publish, as well as the fact that
PAW does not shy away from controversy. Keep up the good work
PAW is always lively!
One of the delights of PAW is reading the letters from disgruntled alumni decrying something at Princeton they don't like, usually because it's not the way it was in the good old days. Normally I chuckle at these letters and move on, but your January 30 issue contains such a classic collection of old fogey letters that I can't resist commenting.
First in line is a fine example of an old favorite, the "women are ruining Princeton" genre, from one Hugh M.F. Lewis 41. (Why do so many of these people have two middle initials?) Mr. Lewis includes the always-fun assertion that he doubts you'll dare to print his letter even though lots of alums agree with him.
Unfortunately, the declining number of PAW letters complaining about women suggests there may not be many of this kind of old fogey left after all.
Next we have another familiar complaint, this one about architecture, from James F. Lotspeich 44. Mr. Lotspeich decries the decision to have the new science library designed by Frank Gehry, who is considered the greatest architect of our time by many critics and working architects. The writer tells us he has seen Gehry buildings and can't find any redeeming social or esthetic features in any of them. One suspects he feels the same way about the Picasso's in the Art Museum.
The most virulent of the January 30 letters, and the only one that bothered me, is from Robert 0. Woods 62 on the familiar theme of "people I disagree with who therefore shouldn't be allowed to speak on campus." The object of Mr. Wood's ire (he uses such words as "fool" "idiot" and "near treason") is Danny Glover, who apparently gave a speech opposing America's use of capital punishment (a view shared by every other western democracy and a hefty percentage of Americans.) My concern about Mr. Woods's letter, however, is not its substance or even its over-heated language. It is that Mr. Woods is from a younger class than mine.
Please do not print any more old fogey letters from classes younger than 1955. They make me fear that I am getting very old.
John C. Tucker 55
I have solved the problem of the appearance in PAW of "soapbox tirades, social criticism, and self-indulgence," of "emotional, close-minded, and overly simplistic political opinions," and in general of "letters that clearly belong somewhere else."
Obviously an authority is needed to provide pre-publication assessment of any potentially emotive opinion, before taking the rash step of exposing the entire alumni body willy-nilly to the possibility of upset. That authority will be: Me.
All alumni are hereby asked to submit letters to me for rating prior to publication in PAW. Assigned ratings will serve to warn unwary readers away from items which they may prefer not to read while eating. The following should cover all eventualities:
G - acceptable for general readers
G-Arc - acceptable for general readers, except supporters of campus architecture
G-Arc(V) - acceptable for general readers, including supporters of campus architecture, except those who like Venturi
Adm - critical of admissions policy in general
Adm-Ath - critical of admissions re athletes
Adm-Leg - critical of admissions re legacies
Adm-DFWIWA - critical of admissions re anything different from when I was admitted
PG - Prospective Guidance: do not read unless and until your child is admitted
R - ridiculous social or political opinion
R(JB) - ridiculous opinion re James Baker
R(RN) - ridiculous opinion re Ralph Nader
R-and-R - ridiculous opinion re a prior writer's ridiculous opinion
NC-17 - opinion (ridiculous or otherwise) of the seemliness of an Princeton alumnus editing a soft-sex magazine, and/or of the coverage of such behavior by PAW, and/or of the opinions of other alumni re such editing and/or coverage and/or opinions
Letters of appreciation may be sent to me. Letters of complaint are to be directed to the Alumni Council
Brian Zack '72
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