Yipes! Did We Really Write All Those Cutesy Headlines?

A number of readers, responding to an earlier letter, take the Monitor to task for some of its recent headlines. Others write about Everglades National Park, stamp collecting, modern fatherhood, and this newspaper's series on the abuse of children around the world.

I'm in total agreement with the "Drop the 'cute' headlines" letter writer of Jan. 14. The worst one was "Golly! Molly" about the writer Molly Ivins. "Golly" and "gosh" are "mild oaths, euphemisms for God." "Gee" is also "a mild oath, a euphemism for Jesus" and has been used twice in the Monitor in the last year - once in a religious article. These are sleazy expressions and not worthy of the Monitor's standard of excellence.

I do love the Monitor and truly appreciate you and all your colleagues' good work - but I am not just quibbling re "golly," gosh," and "gee."

Jewell Vardiner Halleman


The "headlines" letter was well-written and politely states the thoughts I have had for many months. As if to illustrate one of the writer's points, the next day the paper contained a five-word headline on Page 8, in which each word began with the letter "g." Very cute.

While I find such headlines, as one person said, "high-schoolish," there are others which I find truly offensive. They are the cute headlines on articles which concern a serious situation. Following are two examples, both appearing Jan. 16.

1. "Milosevic's Iron-Fisted Grip Rusting?" A very serious situation, and yet the Monitor saw fit to write a headline that attempted to treat the matter in a light-hearted manner.

2. "Russia on Idle Until Yeltsin Revs Up." Very poor taste.

Charles C. Carico

Sunland, Calif.

I may have said this before. I know I intended to do so. I very much like the punning headlines and the alliteration. I certainly would not call them "cute" or "trendy." To me, they are a kind of poetic language. I think the person who wrote complaining about them has lost her sense of humor. Life is meant to be enjoyed; a little fun is necessary in this grim world. Besides, some of the humor in the headlines is subtle. Keep on writing them, whoever you are.

Mary Porter Wise


The letter headed "Drop the 'cute' headlines" echoes my thought and that of many others. Has the Monitor lost its sense of dignity and true journalism? Our leader's intent was to "bless all mankind" not to denigrate the high standard for which it has always stood. Please, bring it back to that high standard.

Geraldine E. Grimm

Prescott, Ariz.

I second the notion to "Drop the cute headlines." The Lancaster, Pa., reader expressed my feelings perfectly.

June Holtz

Menasha, Wis.

I heartily agree with the letter writer who comments on your headlines. I love the Monitor and appreciate its dignity, integrity, and truth.

J. Cain

Hanover, N.H.

I know you had to modernize, but you don't have to be cute or trendy. We don't read it for that. There is too much sports and show-biz and money now - just like the daily papers.

You still have good, informative, succinct writing on serious or real matters which I am grateful for.

Helen Rubar

Bath, N.Y.

For too long I've been squeamish about so many headlines. One published used the word "geek." (The World Book Dictionary defines "geek," which is US slang, as a freak in a carnival troupe whose act consists of eating live animals.) Disgusting! In our home we were never allowed to say the word. Imagine my surprise to see it in print in my beautiful beloved Monitor!

We are seriously considering cancelling our subscription or not renewing it.

Kay Cooke

Rye, Colo.

To those writing "cute" or "trendy" headlines for the Monitor: I agree with the reader who wrote that the "Monitor represents top-quality reporting and stands as an example for other papers to follow." I also agree with her in that I think the "cute" and trendy" do not do the Monitor justice.

Margaret A. Nickelson


Everglades housing

The Jan. 9 article, "Tribe Battles Park Service to Build in Everglades," requires a response to correct some of its statements and to provide additional information to your readers.

The article incorrectly describes the housing issue as occurring in the tribe's "reservation" and further describes the area in question alternately as "on the edge of - and on the northern lip of - the Florida Everglades."

The area in question is not the tribe's delineated reservation; their reservation is farther north in the Everglades, but outside of Everglades National Park. The area on which the housing issue centers is a 333-acre portion of [the] park. This area provides for the tribe's administrative and housing needs under a National Park Service Special Use Permit.

Relatedly, the article states that the Park Service has been trying to block the tribe's proposed new construction in that area. In its Environmental Assessment, the Park Service recognized the tribe's legitimate need for additional housing and approved up to 95 new houses. The approval was based on spatial configurations that would, in our view, lessen negative impacts on park resources and overall Everglades restoration.

A recent agreement between [Interior] Secretary Bruce Babbitt and the tribe has resolved the dispute with respect to 30 of the new houses. Construction has already begun, but in a way that maintains the objective of preserving the park's unique natural resources. There is ongoing close cooperation between the park and the tribe in the remaining steps of site preparation and design of support systems for this construction.

Unfortunately, litigation continues over the remaining new houses. The tribe prefers its original site location plan to that selected by the park. As your article points out, the tribe has maintained it does not need the park's approval; an argument that has been soundly rejected by the court.

You are correct that this case is being watched by other Indian tribes who want to strengthen their ability to live in other parks, for example Death Valley National Park. However, it is important to understand that full-time residency by native people in our national parks is extremely rare.

Richard G. Ring

Homestead, Fla.

National Park Service

Thanks for series on children

My deep and heartfelt thanks to each one of you. The series "The Child Sex Trade" is one of the most outstanding exposs and special reports that the Monitor has ever published. The writing and reporting are superb, and epitomize the best of what the Monitor is all about - throwing light on the dark places of human thought so that there can be reform and healing. I'm sure you made some readers uncomfortable, but that's good - far better the discomfort that uncovers evil than the "peace, peace where this is no peace" of blindness to wrongdoing.

As a Christian Science practitioner, I have had firsthand experience with the situations and victims that you talk about. Everything you wrote rang so true and was so helpful in better understanding the individual, familial, and social forces that are behind this modern-day plague on our children. I've given away at least 10 reprints and have five on hand for future sharing - I'm so grateful you've made it available in this form. Our world so desperately needs the moral and spiritual light you brought to this series.

Steven L. Fair

Malden, Mass.

The family-career balance

Hooray for the insight in the Feb. 10 essay, "A Mommy Wonders If There's a Daddy Track." As a mother of three sons and as a preschool teacher, I appreciate dedication to the teaching profession. We need a brave pioneer to trailblaze and show other daddies how to "practice the balanced art of living" and demonstrate that individal success doesn't need to be at the expense of well-roundedness.

Nancy Davis

Glenview, Ill.

Your letters are welcome. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. All letters are subject to editing. 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

Siblings offer to trade stamps

Our names are Rivka and Elchanon Bedein.

We are sister and brother, aged 13 and 10, and we live in Israel.

We collect Israeli stamps and we would like to trade stamps with people around the world. This way, we get to learn about you and your country.

Please print this letter and maybe your readers will send us some of their stamps and we will send them some of our stamps.

Our address is 37 Hillel St., Jerusalem, Israel.

Rivka and Elchanon Bedein


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