Re "A tradition of common sense," Opinion, Nov. 23
Jonah Goldberg proves again that he is to journalism what George Bush is to the presidency. Because Goldberg doesn't like someone -- in this case, Elton John and Madonna -- he takes something out of context and blames and accuses. As a result, most of his articles are mean-spirited, without fact and lack intelligence or humor -- not unlike the president he loves. Goldberg's Thanksgiving article was placed below a real writer's piece. Patt Morrison ("If you want a better deal ... ," Opinion, Nov. 23) can do with pen what seems to be genetic (biological) rather than learned. She can make a guy like Cal Worthington interesting, while ol' Jonah has to hurl insults and quote (at length) to encourage a response. Goldberg belongs on a high school newspaper staff. On the other hand, after advising a school newspaper for 25 years, I'm not so sure he does.
Goldberg denigrates the hippies of the late '60s for discarding age-old traditions of hygiene. I worked as a physician for the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic (albeit a few years after the year cited by Goldberg). Surely, we saw some needless and sometimes disgusting infections and communicable diseases, often caused by ignoring simple rules of cleanliness. But they were treatable, and young people eventually learned there were some traditions worth keeping -- such as washing your clothes and your genitals. But these were the same kids who, in the great American tradition of freedom of speech and assembly, took to the streets and protested against a government that got us into an ill-conceived foreign war. They had social and political awareness, and acted on it. Many (myself included) were clubbed and tear-gassed in an effort to correct what all now agree was a terrible mistake. I don't see today's youth in the streets or on the campuses protesting the worst blunder in U.S. history. They may be hygienic and squeaky clean, but they are more interested in getting into a good hedge fund than preserving America's traditional values and place in the world.
RUSSELL KUSSMAN MD
Goldberg seems to be under the impression that the American people elected Elton John and Madonna to Congress in the midterm elections. He also seems to believe that a Democratic majority in the House and Senate will bring about a return to Haight-Ashbury family values. Goldberg doesn't understand that railing against entertainers and decrying the decadence of the '60s are old saws that no longer cut any lumber with a majority of Americans.