Letters to the Editor 

Week of June 29, 2001

The Case of the Missing Mentor
TO THE EDITOR:Times have changed. Elizabeth Hollander ("Opening Minds," June 22) writes of the "weekly advisory meetings" with her UC English Department advisor, Paul Alpers.

Lucky student--all the years I was a graduate student in English in the early 1960s, I never exchanged a single word with my "advisor." At beginning of the semester, I'd walk in with my card to be signed. The eminent Professor B. would swivel his chair so he wouldn't have to see me. I'd put the card in his hand, he'd sign it, and hand it back to me over his shoulder. That took care of it, annually.

Such cavalier disdain in major universities surely helped fuel the FSM and the sit-ins. In a long career in diverse universities, I've seen many changes for the better. Hollander was fortunate to be in on the new era, and to have a good professor who was aware of it.
Peter Neumeyer
VIA THE INTERNET

You Forgot "Neither a Borrower nor a Lender Be"
TO THE EDITOR:Where to start with Katy E. Shrout's review of Cymbeline ("Shakespeare Soaper," June 22)? Declaring prima facie that it's a "weird" play, while aw-shucksing through a few softball compliments to the cast, isn't so much bad as lazy.

Rather than bringing down the gavel, let's have some analysis. Start by not assuming that Jonathan Moscone is as cynical about restaging Shakespeare's work as you are (that's why it's called a Shakespeare Festival!).
Paul Jenks
OAKLAND

Treading Water in the USA
TO THE EDITOR:Phil Broaddus ("Letters," June 8) must live a very sheltered existence if his "impression is that rich folks--are the ones working the most hours."

This year I taught part-time in Danville high schools, for which I was paid less than the cost of my rent, and I was consistently late to my 2:00 class when obviously wealthy local mothers, in huge new SUVs, BMWs etc., felt they had to pick up their kids from school rather than let them take a perfectly serviceable school bus home, creating roadblocks on the streets and in the school parking lot for those of us who had barely enough time to commute (in our aging Ford Festivas) from another job.

In contrast, the parents in my Berkeley after-school program, who are obviously poorer than the parents of Danville, do not have the leisure to pick their kids up from school in the middle of the day. Why? Guess what, Phil, they have to work.

As for Broaddus' suggestion that Mexican janitors and other poor folks' kids will "go a lot further" if they are more educated than their parents, my experience has been that even with my PhD and a private college education I have ended up much, much poorer than my less well educated parents. They have a house, a pension, and benefits, none of which I can hope to attain working the sort of temporary and/or part-time jobs that employers favor these days. Unlike my parents, I have had to live with the "new economy" and post-Reagan national policy, which has been devastating to significant portions of what used to be the American middle class.
A.W. Dediu
BERKELEY

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