To the Editor:

I wonder what bitter pills Choire Sicha has had to swallow in his own personal life that would give rise to such acidic, below-the-belt, mean-spirited, hypercritical comments and have them flow from his pen [“Wales Beached Here,” Nov. 7].

If the royals visiting the United States are irrelevant, then his article about Camilla’s clothes is even more so.

Perhaps if he would put a dollop of honey in his tea in the morning, he might develop a sweet taste in his mouth, which just might lead him to being a bit more charitable.

Mr. Sicha has a way with words—a real talent. It would be lovely to read something he has written that is pertinent and uplifting. It might do his own heart some good as well.

Elizabeth Tomelleri

Springfield, Mo.

Choosing Between O.J. and Plasma TV’s

To the Editor:

Re Nicholas von Hoffman’s “Watch the Housing Market, and Fear for Your Country!” [The National Observer, Nov. 7]: I was a trader on the Chicago Board of Trade for many years. I’m so right-wing that I think Rush Limbaugh is a little liberal sometimes. When the Consumer Price Index would come out up x percent excluding food and energy, it would drive me nuts. What does it mean to somebody if the price of orange juice and gas goes up but the price of computers and plasma TV’s goes down?

Bill Pearlman


Bush’s Bogus Honor

To the Editor:

Glad to see Chris Lehmann bring up the matter of George Tenet being awarded the Medal of Freedom [“The White House’s Agency: That Tenet Doctrine Lingers!”, Oct. 31]. That very strange incident hasn’t received enough attention in the press. I recall being mystified at the time that George W. Bush pinned the medal on Mr. Tenet: The administration was blaming Tenet’s C.I.A. for all the lousy intelligence on Iraq, while it gives him one of the nation’s highest honors? It didn’t add up, and for me this fawning treatment of George Tenet is a very strong indicator that the administration was desperate to keep a lid on all the shenanigans that took place in the run-up to the Iraq war.

Why in the world isn’t stuff like this more apparent to mainstream journalists, and why didn’t it get any notice at the time it happened? Why was there almost no discussion of the bizarre nature of Mr. Tenet’s award in our national press? I would be curious to hear if Mr. Lehmann has any insights on what made our media go into the tank for the Bush administration to the extent that it has?

Keep up the good work.

Peter Jung

Hudson, N.Y.

From Watergate to Wilson

To the Editor:

Re Ron Rosenbaum’s “Frenzy of Judyism May Augur the Dawn of New Neural Age” [The Edgy Enthusiast, Oct. 31]: Well, O.K., no doubt the blogosphere has changed the way our minds perceive things, even if, for us non-media types, it’s only a small perturbation.

But the central absurdity—the Bushheads’ concern over what Joseph Wilson might say—equates quite nicely to the central absurdity of Watergate: the Nixonian paranoia about what Larry O’Brien might know about Howard Hughes. Plus ça change ….

Keep up the good work.

Charles F. Schmidt

Brownsville, Texas

Pursuing Purse Perfection

To the Editor:

Thanks so much for Simon Doonan’s H.A.G.S. column [“Ladies! Open Up Your Purses,” Simon Says, Oct. 31]. It was a relief to have my disorder recognized and named! (I have 40 or so bags, and none of them are exactly right. Would love to see a future column in which Mr. Doonan discusses what is the minimum number of bags any woman should have for a streamlined life, and what kind he recommends …. )

I love Simon Says, and it’s just about the only reason I read The Observer. I’ve depended on Mr. Doonan’s humor and good sense for years—thank you so much!

Maxine Frost-Lenzi

Portland, Ore.

Columbia Director Responds

To the Editor:

Jason Horowitz was correct to write that the National Arts Journalism Program was cut loose by Columbia University’s School of Journalism [“Did Lee Bollinger Abandon Commitment to Columbia’s Culture?”, Oct. 24]. But regardless of whether or not that action was reasonable—I think it was—Mr. Horowitz stretches logic when he implies that the dean’s decision establishes the president’s indifference.

The real problem with his piece, however, is that it left out the most pertinent fact: Within days of the J-school’s decision, the Columbia Arts Initiative, which was created by Mr. Bollinger, offered the NAJP a home. (I know this to be true, because I made the offer.) This may not have been a perfect solution; the National Arts Journalism Program would have become the National Arts Journalism Program. Perhaps this is why the NAJP’s director declined refuge. In any case, an offer to work in a shop reporting directly to Mr. Bollinger was on the table. Including this information would have turned Mr. Horowitz’s story on its head and led to the headline “NAJP Declines Bollinger’s Offer to Increase Arts Emphasis.”

The omission is unfortunate, but not grave, because anyone paying attention to the issue knows that Lee Bollinger’s commitment to the arts is demonstrably unsurpassed.

Gregory Mosher

Director, Columbia University Arts Initiative

Manhattan Letters