The Fortitude to Come Forward
I am proud to know that Richard Clarke and I are both graduates of Penn’s College of Arts and Sciences [“National Insecurity,” Nov|Dec]. After 9/11, only one person in government or the military had the fortitude to come forward—first to apologize for his failure to protect us and then to ask for our forgiveness. Unfortunately, he was the only one to engage in this act of national healing. All of us know and have experienced in our personal and professional lives acts of confession and forgiveness and the wellness that comes from that. Thank you, Richard Clarke, College Class of 1972.
In the judicial world, these acts are known as restorative justice. My own public event occurred a dozen years ago when I was shot by a 14-year-old in an attempted holdup. He was apprehended; he apologized and sought forgiveness. We talked, and we both healed fully. Our families and community benefited from our acts. We actually exchanged letters while he was in prison. Later, while he was being released by the Department of Corrections, we had two opportunities to share a meal and life experiences.
Restorative justice took place both with Richard Clarke and my assailant. Forgiveness leads to healing of all souls. God knows we need such acts urgently today.
Dale L. Kemmerer C’55 Colorado Springs, CO
Just finished reading the Nov|Dec issue of the Gazette. It is the most solid issue I have read in a long time. Really excellent article on Richard Clarke, which motivated me to buy his new book.
Keep up the fine work.
Mark D. Homer C’66 Knoxville, TN
Predictably PC …
Since graduation, I’ve read your magazine with some interest, tolerating its liberal prejudices as I have in publications of the other universities I attended, Columbia and Oxford. But Page 96 of your Nov|Dec issue [“Window”] reveals how low the Gazette is willing to stoop in pandering to leftism. What’s so disgusting about this page? Is it the snide mockery of Sarah Palin’s lower middle-class idiom (“You Betcha, Champ!”), when a quick survey of Joe Biden’s speeches would yield at least as many zingers—likely plagiarized? Other liberals with amusing verbal idiosyncrasies come to mind—Jesse Jackson, for instance. What are the chances of the Gazette picturing students laughing at one of his semi-literate pronouncements? No, such derision is clearly off-limits unless directed at white Christian traditionalists like Palin.
How predictably PC is the photo: a racially mixed group of students making fun of a conservative. I guess it’s the combination of complacency and bias that causes revulsion. And just feel the deep self-satisfaction of the closing line: “[T]his picture seems to say it all”—that is, that Penn students hold Palin in contempt.
If I asked those affiliated with Penn whether “diversity” is an important value of their school, they’d no doubt fall over themselves reassuring me that it is. But they would be referring only to diversity of race and gender, not political diversity. Page 96 epitomizes a double standard that’s sadly common in American higher education, and characterized by the smugness of its adherents.
Thomas Dineen GL’95 Baltimore, MD
… And Breathtakingly Arrogant
The Nov|Dec edition took my breath away with the photograph of the students on the last page laughing at the vice presidential debates. We are to infer from this that their jocularity is aimed at Sarah Palin since neighboring Joe Biden slicked past this gabfest while Impaling Sarah Palin was the agenda on most of the mainstream media’s mind. Yes? What was it that Lady Hillary of Clinton once said, “a vast [something] conspiracy?” I guess your kids bought into it.
Captions and content notwithstanding, I am breathless with the intellectual arrogance that you offer to the presidential discussion. And, we forever look at these five juveniles as the 21-year-old know-nothings, opinionated as all 21-year-olds are, puffed up with professorial blatherings injected in class—the self-same I received over in Dietrich Hall during the Sixties.
I remember how brilliant I was at 21 and how stupid my father had been while climbing the oil rigs down at the old Atlantic Refining on Hog Island that paid for my education at Wharton. At 35, I was wiser, and he, dear soul, had gotten so much smarter—how I’ll never know, still climbing those oil rigs.
I wonder how smart those five children will look in 25 years with wrinkles on their faces and fallen careers around the ankles? They won’t be smiling so much—that I’ll guarantee.
Roger Fulton W’68 Yuma, AZ
No doubt we’re all smarter, or at least humbler, than we were in college, but laughing at our politicians and political campaigns is surely something to which all Americans, of whatever age and beliefs, have a right. In truth, we have no idea what moment in the debate prompted the students’ laughter. The headline, however, seeks to be an equal opportunity offender, combining Biden’s Champ and Palin’s You Betcha to create a single faux-folksy phrase.—Ed.
Being a dedicated Survivor fan, I was excited to read that Charlie Herschel is a Penn alumnus [“Profiles,” Nov|Dec]. I have loved Charlie from the first episode and now really had an excuse to vote for him as my fan favorite. His brutal honesty struck me favorably as election politics were in stark contrast. His obvious thrill to be part of the experience won my loyalty immediately.
Unfortunately, within two days of reading the article, the tribe spoke and Charlie was relegated to the role of jury. Survivor Gabon won’t be the same and this fan is no longer obsessed, but is instead depressed. Sorry, Charlie.
Terry Torres, staff Philadelphia
Just One Study, Please
Violating the civil rights of same-sex couples, E. Jeffrey Ludwig [“Letters,” Nov|Dec] argues, is justified due to the “poverty, crime, violence, substance abuse, illiteracy, homelessness, and chronic illness [that] are linked to the decline of the heterosexual marriage.” I wonder if Mr. Ludwig can provide one—I am only asking for one—published study that demonstrates this supposed link between the severity of these societal ills and decline of specifically heterosexual (as opposed to homosexual) marriage.
Given that (1) homosexual marriage remains against the law in most of the world, and (2) in those few territories where gays have equal rights, same-sex marriage has, thus far, been on the books for a very short time, it is doubtful that there are sufficient data to be marshaled in support of his assertion.
Daniel Silverman C’85 San Jose, CA
A Republic, Not a Theocracy
Did you notice that Cyrus J. Sharer [“Letters,” Nov|Dec] intentionally omitted the phrase “created equal” when quoting the Declaration of Independence? Speaks volumes, doesn’t it? Did you notice that he said the reason heterosexual marriage “counts” is procreation? So it follows that couples that are unable or unwilling to bear children should not be allowed to marry.
Remember that pesky document, the Constitution? The one that is the law of the land? And has that inconvenient “equal protection of the laws” language? The United States is a republic, not a theocracy. Marriage is a civil contract. The argument against marriage equality is intellectual fraud, unworthy of the Ivy League. But it’s the only way to make religious bigotry appear acceptable.
As a member of the Class of 1944, Mr. Sharer is of “a certain age,” and as November 4 so definitively demonstrated, change is coming—for my partner of 26 years and me, and for our country.
Mitchell Martin Karig W’79 Staten Island, NY
It is shocking that you printed Cyrus Sharer’s letter with the following quote: “Will the culture of life survive a while longer or will the culture of death based on ‘the pill,’ abortion, and homosexual lifestyle carry the day? This will be no small matter for anyone whose cup of tea and purpose in life abjures a fate headed toward self-extinction/suicide.”
Please make sure I never receive another copy of The Pennsylvania Gazette in my lifetime. In addition, you may kiss goodbye any possibility of the University ever receiving a penny from me. Beyond that, I will work tirelessly to ensure that others cancel their subscriptions to the publication and withhold contributions to the University. With any luck, your publication will be headed toward self-extinction.
Your decision to print Sharer’s letter calls into question the mission and purpose of the Gazette as a communication medium for the University community.
Michael Kasloff W’89 EAS’89 Maplewood, NJ
Annenberg Dates Didn’t Add Up
Your obituary on Annenberg School faculty member Robert Lewis Shayon states that he joined Annenberg at the school’s founding in 1965 [“Obituaries,” Nov|Dec].
While I do not remember the exact date, Annenberg opened sometime around 1959 or 1960. I can verify that:
1. CBS President Frank Stanton gave a lecture at Annenberg, which I covered for The Daily Pennsylvanian, on March 26, 1964.
2. While I do not remember exactly when Annenberg moved to its permanent facility, it was in November 1964 that I ran into the Southeast corner plate-glass door, broke my eyeglasses, and got stitches in my eyebrow.
3. I do not remember exactly when Shayon came to Penn, but I do remember asking a professor “if the Robert L. Shayon in that office over there was the same Shayon who wrote for Saturday Review.” Since I graduated in 1965, it’s a safe bet Shayon came earlier.
4. I also know his daughter, Diana Shayon CW’71, whom I met at WBZ-TV Boston (Group W) when she accompanied her dad when he consulted on an educational TV show they were producing for Westinghouse.
While none of these is proof, it is a good deal of circumstantial evidence.
Richard A. Rofman C’65 Van Nuys, CA
According to the University Archives and Records Center website (our go-to source for all matters of Penn history), the Annenberg School for Communication was founded in 1959 and moved into its own facility at 36th and Walnut in 1962. Our apologies for the error, and thanks to Mr. Rofman.—Ed.
Thanks also to C. Robert Paul Jr. W’39 for catching mistakes in the Nov|Dec “Scoreboard.” In the results for football and volleyball, while the overall records were noted correctly, our home-town scorers inadvertently rearranged the individual game numbers to give Penn’s teams nothing but wins. (If only it were that easy …) Our apologies for the errors.
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