Just Let Him Play!

I cannot believe the paternalism and naivet toward David Helfgott's concert tour in "'Shine' Pianist has Tough Act to Follow" (March 10).

We have been privy to the personal story of a human being, with all its joy and suffering. Let's treat that with respect. Just let him play! And give him the "dignity of risk" you would all performers. Clap when he's good. Laugh when he's funny. Cry when he moves you. Leave if it disgusts you.

But let's not kid ourselves that our role is to judge whether we should "[allow] a person so fragile and work so lacking in artistic merit to go time and again before the public eye." That's his decision, as it is Stevie Wonder's, Itzhak Perlman's, or that of any other performer who happens to be one of 43 million Americans estimated to have some kind of "disability." Our role is to choose to share in it or not.

Nancy L. Mary

Long Beach, Calif.

Nonalcoholics anonymous

We greatly appreciate the biweekly movie guide, which gives clear statements of plots and messages, with added comments on excesses of violence, drugs, language, etc.

Do the current films reflect American life very well? In the Feb. 14 Family Movie Guide, all FIFTEEN movies reviewed included scenes involving alcohol or drinking!

Does this reflect liquor lobbies? Or is it director/producer blindness to the millions of families in America that do not use alcohol?

Bill Parkins

Carlsborg, Wash.

Starving artists - of recognition

Whenever an attempt is made to list and categorize an activity, the opportunity for an error of omission is large. This was obvious in "Who's Who in the Major Styles" ( Arts, March 14). Some relatively obscure styles were listed, but the major American style of abstract expressionism (de Kooning, Frankenthaler, Motherwell, Pollock, Rothko) that had an impact on worldwide creativity was overlooked. Braque (cubism) and Dali and Magritte (surrealism) are well represented in private and public collections. These influential artists deserve to be included in your list.

Al Kochka

Lansing, Mich.

[Editor's note: "Who's Who in the Major Styles" was published as a companion piece to "Sculpture Carves Its Own Niche," which shared the centerspread. It is a list of artists who are or have been extremely influential as sculptors.]

Sweetness too light

Please correct me if I am off base here. But I find the ice-cream competition, "Creamy DoveBar Wins by a Lick" (Feb.20), a bit over the top. For several years I have watched the Monitor become more and more a publication I would expect to find in the seat-back pocket on an airplane.

I couldn't help but think that the "Monitor Panel" might have better spent their time discussing more compelling issues. This is what I miss in the Monitor these days.

I believe Mary Baker Eddy established the Monitor to bring serious issues - deeply and thoughtfully researched - to the attention of readers. I realize that Mrs. Eddy did like ice-cream, but I find a contest to discover the best ice-cream bar somewhat frivolous. Mind you, I love to have fun, and I believe in "keeping abreast of the times." Nevertheless, I do remember that the Monitor was looked up to for years because of its insightful, thoughtful reporting. Too much fluff!

Stephen Loher


[Editor's Note: Articles like the DoveBar piece, while useful to consumers, are also fun. But aside from an occasional bon-bon like that, the Monitor is as dedicated as ever to important issues. That same edition contained articles on youth crime, water shortages, taxes, religious liberty, abortion, immigration in France, separatism in Spain, China diplomacy, and Romanian-Hungarian relations, to name a few. That seemed like enough spinach for one day.]

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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