Letters

By , Reed S. Lewis, Mark F. Meier, and John T. Wilcox

Adults Feed Frenzy for Hot Toy

I was interested to read "Why Kids Are Gonzo for Beanie Babies" (April 28).

A couple of weeks ago I took my children to McDonald's, where they received their first and only Teenie Beanies in their Happy Meals. To be honest, they were not greatly impressed with the toys, and neither was I.

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How surprised I was to learn shortly after that adults were buying Happy Meals just to get the toys, and especially to learn through your article that people paid up to $700 for a discontinued Beanie Baby. I'm happy that small toy stores and the manufacturers are doing well, but if this isn't marketing manipulation, I don't know what is.

Among the few people I know that have Beanie Babies, the toys were bought by well-meaning adults who got swept up with the fad. It was not the children asking for the toy so much as parents and relatives trying to give them the hottest item.

What ever happened to children receiving a toy on a special occasion, or saving money to buy it for themselves? How many children can play with 20 toys at once? Is this just breeding materialism among our children?

Nancy Turner Katz

Norwich, Vt.

Bigger homes are not better ecology

While reading "American Dream of '90s: Palatial Is Appropriate" (April 17), I could only think of the terrible waste of resources these so-called dream homes represent.

In the same issue, you highlight the problems related to cleanup of abandoned mine sites, and numerous articles over the past year have addressed the problems associated with logging. Houses are made of wood and mineral products, and the bigger they are the more trees and minerals they require. Instead of blaming the producers of natural resources for ecological problems, perhaps we should be looking at our own selfish habits.

Reed S. Lewis

Butte, Mont.

Hype ideas, not sports

I am appalled that you selected a football coach to be part of the "Conversations With Outstanding Americans" series (April 14). Bobby Bowden is, no doubt, a source of inspiration to his players and probably has been unusually successful in instilling the virtues of honesty, fairness, and morality.

But America's obsession with sports, sports stars, and coaches, as well as with movie stars, just shows how distorted priorities have become. Theologians, scientists, public servants, artists, and others who make lasting contributions to society deserve to be singled out and praised, and yet the news media are not doing it.

Those in organized sports are hyped too often, and they are not going to change the world for the better. The few people who deal with ideas are the ones we should single out as role models.

Mark F. Meier

Boulder, Colo.

What judges do

The editorial "Prop. 209 - Still Questions" (April 14), reports without demur that the federal judge who had suspended its enforcement was "effectively" rebuked by three appellate jurists "for placing his judgment above that of 4,736,180 voters."

I recently heard a similar account from Newt Gingrich. The Monitor, however, shouldn't reiterate such a misinterpretation of the role of judges.

A judge in such a case is supposed to rule - as well as he can - on the constitutionality of voters' choices. We do not, nor would we want to, live in a pure democracy, where the majority can do whatever it pleases. The editorial, I note, goes on to call for review by even higher courts. But if the Supreme Court rules against Prop. 209, will you then say that those nine judges "placed their judgment above that of the voters"? I hope you'll be more careful than that.

John T. Wilcox

Binghamton, N.Y.

Your letters are welcome. Letters for publication must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. 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 oped@csps.com

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