THE GREAT LEVELER
It is regrettable that the standard of letters you publish has approached, and in some cases overtaken, the levels of journalism generally purveyed by your esteemed organ. Exhume Charles II and bury Rick Dees and his ilk.
The Rick Dees story takes a royal twist, see Page 75. LAWRENCE J. PIPPICK
To refer to Edward VI's sister Mary as a half-wit and thusly the cause of Lady Jane Grey being placed on the English throne for nine days is historical ignorance beyond comprehension ("Nunn's Story: A Challenge in 'Lady Jane,' " by Barbara Lovenheim, Feb. 17).
For the first 12 years of her life Mary Tudor was the putative heir to the English throne. She was educated from her earliest days to fill that position, being fluent in Latin, Greek, French as well as being able to discourse learnedly on religion, philosophy and the musical arts. She was praised by all the chroniclers of the time for her intelligence and precocity.
Now an Englishman is directing a film based on her half-wittedness? A pox on you, Trevor Nunn, and for shame, Barbara Lovenheim--Faugh, back to your history books and stand in the corner whilst you do so.
Please assure me that The Times did not pay Lovenheim for that lamentable effort.
If she was paid, I hope she has the integrity to return the money after seeing her words in print. To dismiss any of T.S. Eliot's poetry as "isolated" demonstrates consummate gall. To describe "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" as ". . . poems about some down-and-out opossums" shows abysmal ignorance.
Surely The Times can engage writers with greater skills than poor, pathetic, misinformed and ill-informed Lovenheim.
Ye gods, she even had the number of poems wrong!
Dan Sullivan's "Playwright vs. Director: Who Has the Last Word" (Feb. 10) disturbingly suggests that the mendacious auteur malignancy in film now might be insinuating itself into the playwright, from whom all blessings flow.
Though the Dramatists Guild protects a writer, some playwrights, so desperate to be produced, willingly relinquish their work and their vision, allowing it to be corrupted, distorted, diminished and an entirely new vision--that of the director's--to be imposed.
A director, like an actor, is an interpretive artist. Both are there to serve the work, not to have the work serve them. This is not to say directors and actors aren't, in their interpretive skills, creative.
But there is only one creator and that is the writer. Without him, both actor and director would not only be out of a job, but also no longer have any justifiable excuse for existing at all.
Poor crabby Martin Bernheimer. It is apparent from his reviews that there isn't much in this world that he likes, but he has a nice astringent style that makes his reviews fun to read, no matter how predictable they are.
So what happened to his review of Bejart Ballet ("Bejart Retrospective Honors the Vulgar," Feb. 14)? Such an extended, querulous whine, without even the usual leavening of wit!
How anyone capable of writing the phrase "he avoids good taste as if it were a dying, decaying, contaminated swan" can call anyone else vulgar is beyond me. Yes, the performances were vulgar, sensuous and (oh, horrors!) frequently even funny ! So what? The same adjectives apply to Bernheimer's best reviews.
We must not lose sight of the fact that dance is a form of entertainment. I was royally entertained by a great smorgasbord of music, costume, all manner of athletic bounding about, comedy, flying sweat, who knows what all. It was a rousing good time, and I hope Mr. Bejart comes back soon.
I also hope that Bernheimer recovers soon from his dyspepsia or whatever is troubling him.
Please, I beg of you. Send Martin Bernheimer to no more ballets if the companies contain any men. Confine him to the aural arts exclusively.
Spare us all further exposure to his curdled homophobic mutterings as displayed in his lengthy, personal and very petty grousings regarding the Bejart company.
GEORGE P. ERENGIS
SEE SPOT SCHLEP Like fine Swiss timing, Paolo, the little dog, brings in the Sunday paper.
WHAM!--GRAM For God's sakes, give Wham! a break ("Wham!Give Screamers an Earful,", by Richard Cromelin, Feb. 6).
Apparently, Cromelin and 99% of all other rock critics do not understand the role and purpose of a group such as Wham! They are not supposed to be heavyweight musicians. They are not supposed to convey a "message."
Instead, they aim to be sheer entertainment for teen-age girls and for anyone else who likes to hum a catchy melody and sing along to words that they can clearly understand. At this, Wham! is very successful.
What's wrong with a group that delivers?
Regarding William Wilson on Caravaggio ("The Trouble With Caravaggio," Feb. 17): "Caravaggio was cast in the same mold as the poet Jacques Villon."
JOHN F. CONNOT
Regarding the letter from Walter D. Douglas concerning Michael Wilmington's review of "Heaven Help Us" and the errors therein (Feb. 17): What Wilmington undoubtedly meant to say (and what Douglas missed) was "None of its sins is mortal."
Anyone who remembers sixth-grade grammar will recall that none is the singular subject of the sentence, while sins is the object of the preposition of and has nothing to do with the number agreement between subject and verb.
Now if only we can get Sheila Benson to stop using adverbs like silkily . . . .
WILLIAM RELLING JR.
MORE WORD ON TERRY
I was glad to see Stuart Goldman's article on Terry Cole-Whittaker ("First Was the Word and the Word Was TV's Terry"). Every day brings out more "Prosperity--Your Divine Right" bumper stickers and I get more and more nervous about the future of the American people.
I've wondered what peculiar spell she casts over her unfortunate followers, and I've been puzzled that she hasn't been nailed by the press yet. The Times should be congratulated for breaking this odd media reticence.
However, you almost had to read between the lines to realize the writer's point of view, and the piece seemed oddly truncated. Was this tone set by Goldman, or were The Times' editors trying to make a clearly hard-hitting article into something apparently non-controversial?
If the latter, please don't let the current litigious atmosphere weaken your commitment to fine investigative journalism--and to your readers.
To think that for all these years I thought God wanted us to help and pray for those less fortunate than us and count our blessings. Now the Rev. Terry Cole-Whittaker tells us to ignore the less fortunate, be unsatisfied with our blessings and pray for more material things. And people listen to her?
KATHY A. HARNEY
It's a shame that the media, and society in general, are suspicious of anything spiritual and out of the realm of the ordinary. Having turned on several "suspicious" friends to Terry's Sunday show on Channel 9 and seeing their reactions change after one episode, my wish is that your readers give Terry at least one chance to prove that there's more to this preacher--and life itself--than glitziness, greed and gloss.
DAVID R. WATKINS
With reference to your recent articles on Rick Dees and Rev. Terry Cole-Whittaker, it's refreshing to know that you still support (and encourage) the notion that people would rather read the bad news than the good news about others.
Surely you could have stuck in just a teensie bit more about the positive good that these two people do for others in their widely varied fields, so that others might, perhaps, be inspired?????
I assume the fear is that if you printed only positive/good news, no one would buy newspapers.
JUDITH L. GRANT
As a member of the traditional Christian community I am grateful for Goldman's treatment of Cole-Whittaker. I am also disappointed and frustrated at the lack of public criticism of her and her kind. But more important, I am once again appalled that so many in our society are so quick to endorse this kind of teaching, thinking it is somehow Christian.
Rev. Terry is both powerful and wealthy. Jesus was neither. Rev. Terry says that power and affluence are our divine right. Jesus ran from both.
According to Rev. Terry's philosophy, Jesus was an unfulfilled person. According to the Bible, Jesus' life shows us what it means to be human.
Rev. Terry claims to be spreading a gospel of love but in reality is preaching the age-old message of greed and power.
Her message is anything but Christian.