Letters to the Editor, part 3

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Author: Readers

Editor’s note: The letters that appeared in the Summer 2005
print issue are marked with a double asterisk (**).

And then there’s Notre Dame football

** Apart from my family, the most profound influence on my life has been my time at Notre Dame. I learned compassion, honor, tenacity and loyalty while there, and I have tried to make those traits the guiding principles of my life. Most of the Notre Dame graduates I know feel the same way, and we have all tried to make the world a better place “from the bottom up,” in the Saint Francis of Assisi mode. Notre Dame, with its recent emphasis on academic achievement and the personal accomplishments of its graduates, seems to me to be trying to make the world a better place “from the top down.” There’s nothing wrong with that as long as the human qualities of care for the feelings of others, loyalty and the like are not lost.

I have no idea whether the place I love so much has lost the humanity and characteristics that made it a special place in its quest “to be somebody.” But the recent Ty Willingham situation is some evidence to me that it has.

Ed McConville ’54
East Greenbush, New York

(Notre Dame football was the topic of the spring issue’s ReactOnline feature. Letters in response to that article can be found at www.nd.edu/~ndmag/sp2005/footbletters.html.)

Congratulations to the entire staff and the contributors to the spring edition. I was captivated by the entire publication and, as usual, while reading the magazine I experienced the full gamut of possible emotions, including laughter and many tears. Every page offered another treat. In particular the package on football was top notch—Kerry’s story on “The Decision” and Jim Donaldson’s bio on Charlie Weis have me motivated for the upcoming season. As usual the Perspectives columns knocked me out with their thought-provoking subjects. Bravo to the team at Notre Dame Magazine.

Mike O’Leary ’89
Palm City, Florida

Reading good books

As a 1955 ND grad looking forward to our 50th class reunion, I really enjoy the Notre Dame Magazine and your articles. I highly commend Dean Mark Roche for his strong support of great literature. I should try to secure his new book. Two friends and co-workers and I began a great books reading/discussion group 10 years ago. We read at least one great book a month and then discuss it over lunch at a different Philly restaurant, then chose another great book.

Our mentor and guide is Professor Harold Bloom, and we followed his monumental The Western Canon, which covers the entire range of literature divided into four ages. We emphasized 20th century American authors initially but also included writers from other nations. This decade of reading the best works of world literature has expanded my horizons immensely. We read and discuss short stories, poems, plays and novels. The only criterion was that it was on Dr. Bloom’s recommended canon list. Who said that engineers can’t have a liberal education? My avocations are music, books and sports. Reading great literature is the best food for your mind ever. There is no good substitute in TV, videos, films or computers. Dean Roche, I applaud you, your position and philosophy. More power to you and your cause!

Robert E. Moore ’55
Wallingford, Pennslvania

More Domers in the Media

First a comment on your editor’s note inside the front cover: Isn’t it ironic that your magazine should hit the mailboxes just a few days after the pope’’s death—after you hoped so sincerely that such untimeliness wouldn’t happen again? But, apparently unlike some of your other readers, I find it in the nature of your business that you do not cover the latest headline news. There are plenty of other sources for that. What I value most about the Notre Dame Magazine are in-depth articles about topics that have a lasting relevance. (OK, I also enjoy the updates from campus, the Perspectives in the back and various other features.) That you had already planned to publish a story about the church after John Paul II turned out to be good timing, since this topic is now on everyone’s minds. That it doesn’t directly address John Paul II’s recent passing is irrelevant. In my view, any apologies are unnecessary.

Regarding the article “Media Frenzy,” what happened to good old Right Reason? I remember this right-wing publication getting off to a bumpy start (in 1997 or 98) with dozens of its free copies getting taken by a handful of lefties on campus as a (somewhat counterproductive) demonstration of outrage with the content. This led to a note in later editions that only the first five copies were free. Even back then, accusations that The Observer was too liberal for so conservative a campus were common. But in the end, it has always remained the only paper on campus to cover events and issues at Notre Dame with any semblance of comprehensiveness and fairness. None of those started as a protest against its supposed bias have even claimed to be attempting unbiased coverage. That seems to be no different now than it was in my days at ND.

And in case anyone missed your point how lucky Notre Dame is to have such high-quality student media, let me just add that I never truly appreciated them until I came to New York University for graduate school. I stopped picking up the daily Washington Square News on my third day, disappointed that it didn’t even get close to offering the kind of reporting The Observer got me used to. And NYU does have a journalism school.

Thanks for another very interesting issue of the Notre Dame Magazine!

_Helga Schaffrin ’99
_ New York, New York

I read your winter magazine from cover to cover and enjoyed everything. However I was disappointed that one of your letters (to the editor) from Illinois used bully-type name calling like “canon of socialists and leftists” for someone who has a social conscience. The same people call Canadians socialist communists, anyone who is against the war pacifist wimps, etc… People who name-call in print like that deserve to be called right-winged fascist bullies but I won’t sink so low. Your magazine deserves better quality in its letters.

This letter as well as the one from Florida on the same subject, also displays an ignorance of the history of Mexico and of the economic devastation and havoc free trade and the globalization of the market is wreaking on countries trying benefit from their own natural and human resources.

Marjorie Moffatt, SNJM, ’74M.A.
Labrador, Canada

I enjoyed reading about the many Domers who have been successful in print and broadcast journalism. However, shame on you! You overlooked Pete Peterson, who graduated in the early 1970s. Pete was an occasional contributor to Notre Dame Magazine about 10-15 years ago.

Christopher Kashnig ’72
Champaign, Illinois

P.S. Your list of notable alums working in journalism today omitted Paige (Smoron) Wiser, ’92, columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, not to mention former Notre Dame Magazine intern Tim Rogers, executive editor of D Magazine in Dallas.

John O’Brien ’92
Chicago

Your ND Mag for Spring contained a listing of Domers in the Media. An impressive bunch. But incomplete because you forgot me. If you run the list again or run additions to it, please consider adding the following:

Howard J. Smith ’ 65 (English), executive sports editor, The Buffalo News. As a student: didn’t work in the student media (but did work in the pool hall for three years).

Howard J. Smith

FYI, you have a few things wrong in your Domers in Media list:

I’m currently at the Wall Street Journal as a news editor in New York. Formerly I was the WSJ’s South Asia correspondent, based in New Delhi. Before that I was assistant managing editor for the Asian Wall Street Journal, based in Hong Kong. At Notre Dame I was the station manager of WSND-FM.

Also, you overlooked my sister! Abigail Pesta, ND 91, is Copy Desk Chief and Personal Finance Editor at Glamour Magazine in New York. Formerly she was an editor at the Asian Wall Street Journal based in Hong Kong, and an editor at WSJ.com, also in Hong Kong. Before that, she was based in London as an editor at Dow Jones Newswires. She also worked at WSND-FM when she was a student.

Jesse Pesta ’88
New York, New York

I enjoyed Ed Cohen’s article “Media Frenzy,” which included a list of Domers in the media. You left out, however, my brother, Jeff Harrington ’84, a Pulitzer-prize nominated business writer for the St. Petersburg Times.

Joel F. Harrington ’81
Nashville, Tennessee

The Spring issue of your always interesting magazine has an article by Ed Cohen on distinguished ND journalists, “minus a journalism degree.” Excellent article, except it has two minuses, one historic and the other affecting current events.

The historic story certainly needs to include the name of Patrick Collins ‘68) one of the co-founders and editors of the Observer. When the paper began, it published some 12 issues during the year. By the time Pat graduated, it had gone to three times per week. As with everything else, Pat kept the paper timely, lively and a source of, shall we say, challenge to the school’s faculty. The best illustration of Pat’s style was publishing a game-day football program to compete with the assuredly slick (but dull) product which was the Administration’s pride.

On the current events side, the Washington _Post’_s Style Section recently published a front-page profile of television journalist Pat Collins. It certainly captured his dead-on deadpan wit (“Yes, the Mayor [out of town at a sunny Super Bowl during a Washington blizzard] appears to have a problem”). It also demonstrated his total dedication to making us confront a serious urban reality, the utter sorrow of the friends, families and communities of poor teenage murder victims.

Pat Collins has received extensive recognition for his reportorial achievements, notably 10 Emmys for stories during his 30-plus years with Washington television stations. Those awards are rather formal and certainly deserved.

But, besides the trophies, we also see Pat’s appearances at fund-raising events, where for years he has helped raise millions for Washington charities. He has never forgotten the poor, and we should commend him for that as we celebrate Pat Collins and the Observer.

Many thanks for a great magazine.

Bartley O’Hara ’63
Washington DC

The Anonymous Dead

For some time I had been thinking of the anonymous dead but had not called it such. When I read Mr. Paul Hundt’s piece, my brain kicked in.

Can anyone name a soldier or marine who died in April ’05? Veterans in 50 states assemble on Memorial Day to remember those who have died in service of our nation. In both cases they are just names. Known only to those who loved them.

At 71, I realize I, too, am in twilight years. As Mr. Hundt says, I too will not be remembered. Meanwhile, such genius as Mr. Hundt quoted, “…to strive, to find, and to yield.”

Mr. Hundt’s alternative inevitable message lacks one thing: he that believeth in me will never die.

James Day
Melrose, Massachusetts

Congratulations. I enjoy all your issues but this was particularly outstanding particularly the vignettes such as “Domers Index” and “The slice of Life” in addition to the usual thought-provoking articles such as “Eulogy for the Anonymous Dead.”

Bob Pohl ’41
La Habra Heights, California

Peace Corps questions

I enjoy your magazine and read it cover to cover.

I find the circumstances behind the disappearance of Walter Poirier “Into Thin Air” (Winter 2004-05 issue) very disturbing, and I’m curious what the reaction by the university’s administration and staff was?

If the Peace Corps is recruiting at the university, what responsibilities does the administration and board have to insure that its students are fully aware of the shortcomings of the Peace Corps and also, how confident are they that the PC is doing everything in its power to insure not only the safety of its corps, but the purpose of their missions? That Walter Poirier was given an assignment to promote tourism in that particular region of Bolivia seems ridiculous to me!

Also, what steps did the ND administration take to assist the Poirier family immediately and thereafter? Did they put pressure on the PC and Congress to fully investigate?

Just some questions that I though merited your attention and followup.

Veronica Sabloff
Boonton, New Jersey

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