Reed welcomes letters from readers
about the contents of the magazine or the college. Letters
must be signed and may be edited for clarity and space.
Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
where are the other students?From
Barbara Rockefeller ’68
I fell off my chair upon seeing the photo
I had taken in 1965 of Robert Hall (with my dog Xerxes) from
Reed’s Upward Bound program for disadvantaged youths.
Hall was the most thoughtful of that group of high school students.
I am not at all surprised that he went on to success. I’d
like to know how the others turned out. Having noble ideals
that are not carried through in a consistent and persistent
way is a challenge for any college, but it seems to me that
failing to follow through on programs like the one that Hall
was in is a particular failing at Reed. This is why the Portland
community thinks Reedies are a bunch of selfish, self-absorbed
hypocrites (as one of your letters in the last issue complains).
It took 38 years for a follow-up on a single person in a single
program, and Hall himself was the one who initiated it.
disputing a failing gradeFrom C. Norman Winningstad, 1978 Howard Vollum Science and Technology
History will judge whether Professor
Segel’s grade of “F” to
President George W. Bush is correct or not, similarly judging my giving
the professor a justified grade of “F.” First of all, I
note the professor does not show the president the courtesy of using
his title. Apparently, professor Segel is not up to date: George W.
Bush did win the election, fair-and-square, within the law. He even
votes in the Florida recount. Thus he is the president of the U.S.A.,
and deserves the respect due the office. Professor Segel claims the
president is wrong on the failure to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on the
greenhouse warming threat. The president did not ratify it for very
good reasons. First of all, the global warming hysteria is based upon
junk science, raised by the
environmental causes to raise money. The whole case for global warming
is based upon computer models, which are tuned to give the desired
future results. But the mask comes off, when you try to run the models
do not give correctly the past weather. Last but not least we will,
over the next few decades, not need hydrocarbon fuels. I can also rebut
the professor’s claims on the International Criminal Court,
the hard power/soft power issue, and his false claims on high tech
weapons. The professor has trouble with the “map and territory” problem.
Unfortunately, I have been limited to only 300 words, and the professor
had about 1,600.
From Lee Oser ’88
With the war against Saddam Hussein
almost certainly over (I write in early May 2003), and as Reed students
toil away over papers
it seems a good time to wish Professor Edward Segel better
grading those papers and exams than he had grading the Bush administration’s
From Edward M Kessler ’50
As a member of the class of 1950 and
a contributor to the college funds for many years I was quite troubled
by the article
Edward Segel. His grading of the president’s performance in “Realpolitik
101” presents his view of the subject.
While his students might be a captive audience to his evaluations of
their performance, I do believe that his position vis-à-vis
our president should be balanced by the presentation of alternative
views that most certainly
exist. If the magazine is not interested in presenting a dialogue
on such important matters so that the reader can decide which of
persuasive, then I must conclude that something of the Reed I knew
has been lost. My reaction to the article and the lack of a
counterbalancing point of view causes me to reconsider my feelings
about my alma mater.
From David Widelock ’68
Edward Segel writes that “the
problem with the Bush foreign policy is not that it is too materialistic
(‘war for oil’ is a
serious misnomer) but that it is too ideological.” Let
me give just one piece of evidence for the opposite belief.
While current Defense
Undersecretary Paul Wolfowitz’s
1992 defense planning guidance draft report is classified,
portions of it
were leaked to the media. A PBS summary reads in part, The
draft outlines several scenarios
in which U.S. interests could be threatened by regional conflict: “access
to vital raw materials,
primarily Persian Gulf oil; proliferation of weapons of mass
destruction and ballistic missiles, threats to U.S. citizens
from terrorism or
regional or local conflict, and threats to U.S. society from
narcotics trafficking.” I find Mr. Segel’s thesis
that ideology and realpolitik are in opposition in this administration
to be not very
just a more aggressive and self-confident (and possibly very
deluded) strategy than we’ve seen before. If one looks
at what Cheney and Rumsfeld and other members of the administration
do for a living when
not in government, this will be very clear. The record of the corporations
they were involved with shows a great grasp of realpolitik.
As events unfold in Iraq, I believe we will see the privatization
oil, the involvement of American corporations in extracting that
oil, and a major role for the U.S. in setting price and availability.
To paraphrase an old axiom, “when anybody tells you it’s
not about oil, you can be sure it’s about oil.”
From Michael Munk ’56
As a writer, Donald Wheeler [In Memoriam,
May 2003] did not confine himself to academics or political
polemics. He had
a gift for evoking lifetime experiences and intimate
his earliest published essays, “Carman Blossoms,” which
carefully described the efforts of Eastern Washington
orchardists to protect their fruit from a late
frost, first appeared in the Quest. Political science professor
Charles McKinley (who may have given Don the lowest grade he ever
received at Reed) suggested he send it to the Atlantic Monthly.
The Atlantic published
it in 1934, paying Don $30.
a note on fred rothchild and lloyd reynolds
From Stuart Baxter ’58
I first found Fred when I wanted to study
piano, as a newly-minted freshman, in 1955. What serendipity
that I found him and
what I can say now, almost 50 years later,
is that I think he started me right: that I still play with a continuing
satisfaction at what can be drawn from working through the scores
I remember Fred playing on campus—one
of his rare performances—the Beethoven
C minor variations. It was an intense
experience for me to hear my teacher play a great work, which was
later he gently told me that in another
time and place I might have become a professional musician, but
not here and now. (Luckily I was not thinking otherwise.)
Along with Lloyd Reynolds, Fred Rothchild
helped sustain a struggling adolescent in a
strange place. Through Lloyd, I first glimpsed my vocation (architecture),
and with Fred came my permanent avocation (music). Their
humanity and civilization
those of us privileged
enough to have known them.