Readers write: Diwali details and the effects of anger

Letters to the editor for the December 6, 2021 weekly magazine. Readers discuss the distinction between "anger" and "righteous outrage."


History of the swastika

I enjoyed your Nov. 1 Explainer, “Diwali, the Festival of Lights, grows in the US,” but it left out one interesting aspect. In the Hindu, Jain, Tibetan Bon, and Buddhist religious traditions, the swastika is a venerated symbol and is often laid out in strings of lanterns as part of the celebration. This ancient symbol, meaning “well-being” in Sanskrit, has played an important, even cosmic, role in many cultures and dates back to 10,000 B.C. at the Ukrainian archaeological site of Mezin. Prior to its appropriation by the Nazis in the 1930s, it was a very popular good luck symbol in Anglo-America and a common motif on Navajo weavings and other Native American crafts. 

Dennis J. Aigner
Laguna Beach, California

Anger is not the solution

The Nov. 8 article “Americans are angry about ... everything. Does that have to be a bad thing?” makes some worthwhile observations about the effects of anger in society.

However, I must make two objections: First, it fails to make a clear distinction between “anger” and “righteous outrage,” which, it implies, is not directed at people. I believe the founder of this newspaper would be extremely troubled by the suggestion – appearing in her paper – that anger might not be a bad thing, let alone that it “fixes social problems.”

Second, I was disappointed to see the Jan. 6 insurrection referred to merely as a riot. This term usually refers to a spontaneous outburst of violence and property destruction with no apparent objective other than to call attention to a perceived injustice. But the armed attack on the Capitol was planned and coordinated with the obvious objective of overturning the results of the election and keeping the current administration in power. When this happens in another country, we generally call it an attempted coup. Failure to admit that it has happened here only increases the risk that the next attempt will be successful. 

Jennifer Quinn
Gate City, Virginia

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