Reed magazine welcomes letters from readers concerning the contents of the magazine or issues relating to the college. Letters must be signed and may be edited for clarity and space. Our email address is

The truth can be a burden
From Gerardo Nebbia '73
I wish to object to and correct an item that appeared in Adam Penenberg's article "Burden of Truth" (November '98). Penenberg's article refers to the firing of two CNN producers and the resignation of a third "as a result of an unsubstantiated story on nerve gas on NewsStand: CNN & TIME."This was an unfortunate example.

The firing of April Oliver and Jack Smith, and the public ridiculing of TV anchor Peter Arnett, had nothing to do with any part of their story ("Valley of Death," an 18-minute piece that appeared in NewsStand) being unsubstantiated or fabricated. In that piece these journalists presented powerful evidence that indicated that the nerve gas Sarin was used in an attack on North Vietnamese troops in Laos. Furthermore, it appears that the purpose of the operation (code named Tailwind) was to eliminate U.S. defectors among those troops.

More information can be found at
    I strongly object that Oliver and Smith are placed so cavalierly in the same category as people who resort to fabrications.

    Many other sources for information can be found at

    But there's no lack of caffeine at reed...
    From Joseph Bunnett '42
    "Date someone who knows Kofi Annan is not decaffeinated brew. Graduates and faculty of the Ivies, Seven Sisters, MIT, Duke, Northwestern, University of Chicago, Stanford, UC Berkeley, accredited medical schools. Date alumni and academics. More than 2,500 members."

    The above advertisement, plus the name of a firm, appeared in a recent Brown alumni monthly. Noteworthy is its lack of attention to liberal arts college alumni and faculty. Was the reason lack of space in a small ad? Or have alumni of Carleton, Grinnell, Oberlin, Reed, Swarthmore, and Wooster developed social maturity lacking in graduates of the named institutions?

    More on the 1970 thesis parade
    From Suzanne Leonora '82
    Regarding the photo of the 1970 thesis parade you published in the August 1998 issue: Jim McGill, along with his sartorial savoir-faire, went on to outdo his accordion- and garden-hose-playing comrades by mastering the dead goat known as the Bulgarian bagpipe (gajda).

    New column needed?
    From Bruce Weiss '80
    One hears less often from those alumni who, for whatever of a million reasons, have not pursued higher studies or otherwise endeavored/achieved anything to lend esteem to their name in class notes. How many plumbers are there among Reed graduates, garbage collectors, librarians, sign builders? Presuming they have graduated, whatever their present course of endeavor, one would be remiss in dismissing their hallowed walk through Eliot Hall with thesis in hand. Let us hear from them.

    As one such student, I feel a need to hear from other Reed students, alumni, and professors--both past and present--for the discussion of literature.

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