Letters to the Editor – Weekly Issue of July 4, 2011
Readers write in on the wolf wars, women's career equality, and techno-gadget overload.
On wolves and sexism
The June 6 Focus story, "Can there be peace in the wolf wars?," repeatedly uses the word "man" as a generic term, meaning human being. It may seem a small matter to take issue with, but there has been a general backsliding from gender-neutral language recently, which, I fear, necessarily reflects a similar backsliding in the way women and men are viewed in the world at large.
I was heartened that in this same issue, the Monitor ran a commentary piece by Courtney E. Martin on the status of women in professions ("Why women still can't make it up the career ladder"). Kate Swift, one of the pioneers in creating genderless language and drawing attention to the way language shapes our perceptions of women and men was a close friend of mine. I'd be interested in a piece that takes stock of where we are now with language.
Regarding Ms. Martin's commentary, one institution that since the 1940s has given equal opportunity, pay, and benefits for women is organized labor. This fact is underreported as many Republicans and some corporate-owned media outlets blame organized labor for our economic ills – not Wall Street, where opportunity for women is still virtually nonexistent.
United Auto Workers member
Regarding the Focus story "Can there be peace in the wolf wars?," I will never understand why we continue to go through the exercise of bringing animals back from the brink of extinction only to go back to hunting them. This is especially true of such magnificent creatures as gray wolves.
A farmer's claim to land based on a family's 130-year tenancy pales in comparison to the eons that bears and wolves roamed that space. To add insult to injury, there are the Western ranchers who lease public lands to raise their livestock and then treat it as their personal property and demand that they be allowed to destroy any predators.
We usurp these animals' land, confine them to ever reduced living spaces, hunt their natural prey, and then destroy them to the point of extinction only to bring them back for another go-round. How perverse and despicable is that?
John Sanbonmatsu's June 6 commentary "We're plugged in – but checked out" was superb. Now I know I'm not alone in my feeling of general dismay over the technological takeover in our society. We seem to have already lost community, and the collective experience – that happened a while ago. Now, we hardly even acknowledge each other, and caring, polite communication is becoming a thing of the past. These gadgets are turning us into morons.
Judith Kay McClintock