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A U.N. pioneer

A galumph harrumph

Led astray by Bushaphobia?

Casts of character

Defining costs

Bravo, John Astin!

Correction


A U.N. pioneer

In your "Vignette" column (February, p. 21) an obvious mistake was made. The first U.N. Secretary General was not [Dag] Hammarskjold, but was Norwegian Trygve Lie, who served during the creation of the U.N., the Korean War, and the creation of the state of Israel. His daughter Gurie married the son of the famous international developer William Zeckendorf, who assembled the land the U.N. is built on.
Frank M. Weiser, MD
New York, New York


A galumph harrumph

Having come across a review of Kay Redfield Jamison's new book, Exuberance: The Passion for Life, for the second time ("Celebrating a Certain Joie de Vivre," November, p. 26), I was still struck by the word galumph not exactly re-echoing with joy and exuberance for life. There is a dull heaviness to its sound that goes with its meaning "to move with a clumsy heavy gait." Perhaps the word gambol (think lambs and children frisking and jumping about) suits.
Marleen Cunningham
tedmar1@msn.com


 
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, "galumph" originally meant "to march on exultingly with irregular bounding movements." However, in modern usage, the word tends to mean "to gallop heavily; to bound or move clumsily or noisily."


Led astray by Bushaphobia?

From the media and private conversations I was aware of the emotional aspect of the opposition to President Bush. But I wasn't prepared for the angry, inconsolable despair at his re-election that I witnessed during my three-week visit to the Baltimore-Washington area [last] November.

I failed to adequately understand the behavior until I returned to Jerusalem and read Joanne Cavanaugh Simpson's "Marginal Crimes" [November] concerning Richard Kagan and co-editor Abigail Dyer's Inquisitorial Inquiries: Brief Lives of Secret Jews and Other Heretics.

Johns Hopkins University historian Kagan says one of the stories "illustrates at least one parallel: the currently volatile issue of gay marriage." Specifically, the example is the constitutional amendment proposed by Bush and some members of Congress "defining and protecting marriage as a union between a man and a woman." Kagan then concludes, "I'm not suggesting we are in an age of Inquisition. But we are not as tolerant and open-minded as we think." So, there is hardly a parallel.

Bush favors a contractual arrangement in which same-sex couples would have the same social/economic status as heterosexual couples, but the relationship would not be defined as a "marriage." Kagan says, "Judeo-Christian religious beliefs sanctify certain kinds of relationships, and these notions are sanctioned by the state and written into laws." But the contractual arrangement Bush favors isn't sanctioned by Judeo-Christian beliefs.

It would seem Bushaphobia has led Kagan astray in his notion of what constitutes a parallel and what constitutes reality. That's an unfortunate condition that must be remedied to restore realism.

The prospect of peace in the Middle East is heavily burdened by the misuse of terms such as "Holocaust" and "ethnic-cleansing." Let's hope the same isn't happening in the American political arena by misuse of the historic term "Inquisition."
Joseph Lerner, A&S '43, PhD
Jerusalem, Israel
lernerjs@netvision.net.il


Casts of character

Thanks to Johns Hopkins Magazine for revealing one of the fun corners of the university — the Bayview cast gallery, a colorful and imaginative space where the formerly broken-boned scale the heights of whimsy ("Vignette," November, p. 27).
Daniel C. Boyer, CTY '91
Houghton, Michigan


Defining costs

In the November issue, the magazine ran a letter by Ray Gordon '66 summarily dismissing Vinny [Demarco's] work ["Grassroots Guru," September] as a failure and lamenting that he did not use his own money to finance the campaigns for control of guns and tobacco and to provide health insurance for all Marylanders. Mr. Gordon claimed that the health care proposals would cost the state $665 million and "bankrupt the private health insurance industry."

To attack efforts to bring about social changes, which a majority of our citizens have repeatedly supported, on the basis of their cost and the difficulty in attaining ultimate success is tantamount to criticizing the abolitionist movement, which required untold expense in wealth and lives before resistance was finally quelled. Many of us believe that Vinny's work will ultimately succeed because we have faith in the spirit of reason and justice in our society.
Nelson Goodman, A&S '50, MD '54
Board Member, Maryland Citizens
Health Initiative


Bravo, John Astin!

I was pleased to read that John Astin has created a viable theater program that will soon have a permanent home in the Merrick Barn on Homewood Campus ["Theater Program Finds a Home," November, p. 23].

I enjoyed a Hopkins career highlighted by six years working with Ferdinand Hamburger as associate director of the Hopkins Centennial celebration. Among the 13 committees involved in planning the 197576 academic year-long events was one dedicated to exploring the possible production of an original play. Astin was frequently mentioned; I'm sure members would be pleased at his current efforts. How fortunate the university is to have such a talented and dedicated alumnus!
Mary P. Johnson
Severna Park, Maryland
Member American Theatre Critics Association


Correction

In "Food, Fun, and Silliness on an Autumn Weekend" [ "Wholly Hopkins," November], a male student, Asheesh Laroia, was referred to as "she." We apologize, Asheesh.

Return to April 2005 Table of Contents

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