REED HOME Book icon
LETTERS
reed magazine logoSpring 2009

Reed welcomes letters. The sender must be identified, and letters may be edited. Send them to reed.magazine@reed.edu, or Reed Magazine, Reed College, 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd., Portland OR 97202-8199.



Remembering Jack

Thanks for the felicitous pairing of Defending the Citadel and Remembering Jack Dudman (letters from Gray Pedersen and Tom Forstenzer). Allow me a few words to praise Gray and Tom and Dick Frost and, of course, Jack Dudman. All of us can say with pride that we knew Jack, he was a friend of ours and we would forever want to be the man he was. Some forty years ago Gray was my dorm adviser at McKinley—the very model of individual decency and community responsibility. Dick Frost was my political science professor and chairman of the Community Senate in which I served. In both capacities he almost perfectly meshed intelligence, integrity, principle and pragmatism. Tom Forstenzer was represented to me by them both as the epitome of real student leadership. And of course Jack was our dean of students. To me then and now he is the example, keeper, and protector of Reed Community values. I trust we continue to honor that legacy by vigilantly promoting those values.

—Marc Madden ’71
Corte Madera, California

Defending the Citadel

Laura Ross’ article, Defending the Citadel, leaves the impression that the sciences did not exist at the college. This reflects accurately what I experienced as a young faculty member in biology. The faculty traditionalists thought that the humanities core curriculum was a Reed education; everything else was an add-on. Fortunately, they were so firmly fixed in this position that they simply ignored us. Our laboratories were brimming with activity and excitement, and our students got into the best graduate and medical schools, but we existed in a sort of parallel universe. I kept having the nagging thought that, to borrow Jon Roush’s image, the arguments raging around me were about what to put on the museum shelves. Meanwhile in the world outside the campus, Sputnik had been launched, the Cuban missile crisis threatened nuclear Armageddon, President Kennedy was assassinated, the civil rights movement was in full swing, activists were being clubbed and murdered in the South, and received wisdom was everywhere being questioned.

In the midst of this upheaval, I began reexamining my own views about higher education and the role of science. Jon Roush, Mason Drukman, and Howard Waskow provided me a much-needed sense of community. Through our discussions I became convinced that there was serious intellectual content in the stuff of everyday life. One summer, Jon organized an informal camp meeting at his ranch in Montana with Young Turks from Reed and an assortment of other adventurous educational thinkers from around the country. It was exhilarating and a far cry from the deadening faculty meetings I endured. In the mornings, we shook the frost off our tents, washed in cold water under a pump, and spent two weeks brainstorming about what a brand new college might look like if we could design one.

Several years later I had an opportunity to do just that. Recruited by former Reed physics professor Byron Youtz, I moved to the State University of New York to help found a new four-year undergraduate college. We had a mandate to design a college-wide curriculum centered on themes of social justice. Our planning team in the health sciences created an innovative interdisciplinary program that seamlessly integrated teaching in the sciences and social sciences. We brought in community leaders to debate issues of public policy, and students had to express their responses in writing. We also appointed a highly qualified multiracial faculty with a student body to match. All this was very different from a Reed education, but for me none of it would have been possible without the crucible of those formative years at Reed, for which I am very grateful.

—Stephen Karakashian
Milwaukie, Oregon

Regarding the excerpt from Marvin Levich on The Ideology of Relevance, is it not the perfect irony that Marvin Levich’s speech against “relevance” is intended to defend the ancient weathered texts, which are still alive today precisely because they are so deliciously relevant? And equally humorous, that when Marvin thrusts his silver sword of sharp wit, one that he uses so deftly to defend the academic’s Holy Grail, “seeking the truth,” he seeks not the truth at all! Instead, like a heat-seeking missile, he aims to obliterate another point of view, believing that the last citadel standing must therefore be the holier. Alas, debates are not designed to ferret out the truth, they are a game in which there must end a winner and a loser, and truth cares not a whit for that folly. The truth is far too wily and elusive to be captured in such a narrow alley. As much as I dearly love the classics, I love the truth even more. I think this may be so especially because the truth is ours to discover, wonderfully hidden where we least expect it, but it is not ours to control, nor are there any walls mighty enough to contain it. It is the only thing left on this good green earth that is forever wild.

—Bill Rotecki ’70
Ketchikan, Alaska

Thank you for writing an extraordinary piece (Defending the Citadel) in the recent Reed College magazine. It was beautifully structured, clearly written, and had superb pictures and layout, particularly the 1960s typewriter fonts (which I remember well—a toothbrush was required when I learned to type, to brush the keys with) and the Levich-Roush call-out blurbs. But, oh, the substance! I found myself rooting for The Old Guard early on, but wasn’t sure exactly how the story would turn out since wacky things were happening on campuses in that era. Levich’s bus-aspirin point is wonderful, in which he explains the error of treating education like something that requires “external justification.” You captured so well what remains as the intellectual platform of the Reed curriculum today. You caught this thing that what counts is the thinking quality of the mind. I hope prospective students and their parents have access to it—it puts the college in a very good light. Congratulations to you for a truly exceptional piece of journalism.

—Dudley Ladd
Milton, Massachusetts

Editor’s note: Dudley served on board of trustees from 1994 to 2004 and is the father of Ethan Ladd ’95.

Breaking Depression’s Icy Grip

Regarding Breaking Depression’s Icy Grip. With all due respect to Kenneth (’45) Koe’s laudable hard work at Pfizer, the antidepressant Zoloft (and others like it) has not broken depression’s “icy grip,” unless we’re willing to give equal billing to other underwhelming treatments such as placebos and herbal remedies, and perhaps a few more column inches to psychotherapy. A thorough review of the research on Zoloft (among other SSRI drugs) shows a very modest effect, often indistinguishable from placebo, depending on the rigor of the research design (which in the psychiatric literature is often quite biased, and still shows poor results).

Further, the hypothesized link made by Professor Currie between greater serotonin availability and alleviating depression is simplistic. Depression is also alleviated after non-serotonergic drugs are administered, after no drugs are given, and with non-drug interventions like therapy, or experiences that are nothing like formal treatment. For those helped by any of these modes of treatment (or life-altering experiences), a change in brain activity correlates with symptomatic improvement, not drug administration. This is a crucial distinction given that about 50 percent of people given such drugs do not experience any significant clinical benefit. So much for the “chemical imbalance” basis for psychiatric drug superiority.

The methodological critiques of psychiatric drug studies have filled many books and peer-reviewed research articles in the past 25 years. Entire curricula could be built around such studies to promote rigorous and responsible scientific inquiry. I credit my education in Reed’s psychology department for my early disillusionment about the effectiveness of psychiatric medications despite my initial (mostly theoretical) excitement and admiration. By learning to read research critically, I learned how different the guts of a study can be from the conclusions of its authors—how much research quality is affected by the all-too-human qualities of ego, material need, and wish-fulfillment winning out over a clear eye and a willingness to face the crushing blow of data.

Many of us on the front lines of treatment have a very different impression of the “clinical applications” of these compounds. A full review of the research backs the skeptical side of the debate. I hope that Reed’s psychology department continues to challenge its students to critique the epistemology and methodology of such research rather than gushing over the technical prowess of the biopsychiatry industry that is frankly working to kill psychological treatment options through sheer salesmanship. If professional psychology and psychiatry can’t distinguish between effective treatment and the effective selling of treatment, then Reedies are going to have to step up and do it for them.

—Jason Seidel ’90
Denver, Colorado

In Search of Hung Alums

Thank you for the article on Kenneth Koe ’45. I learned from it that, al­though separated at Reed by a quarter century, we share a common bond: I too was a Hung Far Low busboy in its glory days on Burnside. Perhaps there are other Hung alums out there, and we could form a Society.

—Dan Feller ’72
Knoxville, Tennessee

Red Handed?

We are writing this letter on behalf of the fall ’08 members of the Quest editorial board and one of our writers, Katy Joseph ’11. As editors, we valued our publication. We labored for hours each week, worked late nights, and put off schoolwork to ensure that Reed College had a newspaper each Wednesday. We were unpaid and often felt underappreciated, but we held dear what we accomplished. We are writing this letter because Defending the Citadel, appearing in the latest issue of Reed magazine, used the exact same lead photo as one of our articles without any mention of the Quest.

You complimented our extensive two-part series on the 40-year anniversary

of the Eliot sit-in when you passed us in the hall. However, it appears you have reprinted the same lead picture, front and center. The picture is perhaps a historical document of some sort; we have no claim to the photo. However, from one college publication to another—at a college run on the Honor Principle—we would have expected some kind of professional courtesy.

Our semester’s Quest sought to bring some important issues to the forefront. We, however, do not have a professional staff, cannot print color, and are often forced to take articles that read more like diary entries than informational pieces. It would have been a crowning compliment to end our service with credit for the design and for the months of work by our student writer, Katy Joseph. We took pride in the article; now, we feel as if the design has been lifted from our hands.

We were hurt by your decision to publish the exact same lead photo and would like your readers to know that we were, at the bare minimum, responsible for that photo finding its way to your magazine.

—José Palafox ’09 and Emma Fredieu ’09
Portland, Oregon

Editor’s note: As a recovering Quest editor myself, I remember well how heavy was the burden of putting together an issue of our beloved student paper, and how scant the acclaim. I confess to brazenly plundering the photo of Vic Rosenblum from your pages and agree that I should have given credit to you for unearthing it in the first place. Hope printing your letter—and my response—will salve the wounds and let our readers know that the Quest got it first!

Lines on Lloyd

I wrote this little poem a couple of years ago, but it may be relevant to any springtime at Reed.

It is spring again.
Lloyd Reynolds is here.
He stops to listen.
I do, too.
Someone sitting on an
Old wooden kitchen chair
Underneath the flowering
Cherry tree is playing Bach
On a cello.
Of course he is

—Eileen Reierson M.A.T. ’67
Portland, Oregon

Was Crucifixion a Fiction?

Regarding The Half-Time Crucifiction: I can corroborate that it wasn’t fiction. But as a witness to the “crucifixion,” who graduated in 1962, I am fairly certain that the event must have occurred in 1961 (possibly 1960), thus divorcing it from the windstorm of October 1962. Fritz von Fleckenstein ’61 was the would-be Son of Man. The event, however, was certainly spectacularly blasphemous and made the desired impression on those Columbia Christian students present. I believe that the religious schools we played, George Fox, Multnomah College of the Bible, and Columbia Christian, were all smaller and less academically ambitious than Reed, which meant that to them we were the Big Game (hapless though we were). Part of the joke was that they took the whole game much more seriously than we did.

—Michael E. Levine ’62
New York, New York

In the February, 2009 issue of the magazine, your article in “Apocrypha” is a lovely story. Would that it were true. But, alas, the Halftime Crossing did not happen in 1962 as a precursor to the Columbus Day Storm. We do know some things about the event, thanks to a summary of the football season in the Quest by Pete Lomhoff ‘66. Reed played Columbia Christian College on Friday, October 12, 1962, and won the game, 19 to 7. This was Coach Jack Scrivens’ first year in charge of the football team, and he led the Mighty Griffins to a 3–1 season. Indeed, one unsubstantiated rumor is that the team threw the last game so that Coach wouldn’t be fired for overemphasis of athletics. During the halftime of that game, there was a performance by a pickup marching band, for which one of us (Eveland) was the Drum Major because he owned the whistle and umbrella and one of us (Casseres) was a musician and marcher. We each independently remembered that the only cross on the field during halftime was a formation used by our band. One of us (Kahan) has scoured the Quest and conferred with well over a dozen football team members, likely witnesses, and notorious pranksters. Not one person will confirm having seen the Halftime Crossing, much less participating in it. One of us (Casseres) cowrote (with Dugan Barr ’64) a song to commemorate the storm (and the game) in the fortnight after the event; had we heard about the cross, that would surely found its way into the song, given its biblical theme. Even some people who have adopted this story as one of their own amusing Reed Tales have confessed to having only heard of it.

There is a possible story behind the story. One of the football team members (Ron Fox ’64) later that year attended a costume ball dressed as Jesus, complete with cross on his back. His date came as Mary Magdalene. At the ball, James Dickey, then Reed’s poet-in-residence and a buddy of Jack Scrivens, was very intrigued by Jitterbugging Jesus. It is entirely possible that Dickey, never known for letting the facts get in the way of a good story, created this embellishment, which has, as you entitled your column, passed into the realm of Apocrypha.

As to whether or not there ever was a Halftime Crossing, there remain rumors about the late 1950s; research continues.

—David Casseres ’65, J.D. Eveland ’64 and Jim Kahan ’64

Disconcerting Quietude

In late September, I made my first visit to Reed in 35 years as part of Volunteer Weekend. The discussion in the Reed magazine, together with the experiences of my college-age children and their friends had made my interest in Reed more focused and concrete. I came to get a feel for the role of alumni at Reed, and to see if I could find a way to ask questions and express my concerns. While I was disconcerted by the quiet and sleekness of the campus, and the dogs on leashes, and while I felt that the only place that fit with my experience of Reed was the student-run coffee bar, the level of discourse was amazing. I was able to have some private conversations with members of the college where I felt that my concerns were heard, and my ideas were valued.

One of the points made during the weekend was that there was going to be more outreach to alumni in the three years leading up to the 100th anniversary of the college in 2011. The many voices describing their discomfort with Reed’s current direction could use this opening to express views that they feel are being simply dismissed as nostalgia for Olde Reed, or disregarded because it has been said that we were admitted when there were no standards. These voices have been saying something substantive and profoundly felt about learning, community, respect, integrity, and concern for the individual and the future of the college.

I would like to suggest that in addition to the pages of the Reed magazine, there is a need for a more interactive forum, such as the upcoming reunions, for those voices to be heard, a dialogue to begin, and a consensus to be reached, so that not only our monetary contributions, but our contributions of experience can constructively influence the future of Reed.

—Janet Burstein Svirsky ’74
Potomac, Maryland

Tender Subject

Your article on Lester Lave ’60 was very interesting to read, but some of the terminology wasn’t right. Technically, electricity generators are selling electricity to the grid so they must be placing offers rather than bids. I know most fields outside of trading are loose with bid/offer terminology, and maybe the rarified world of electricity traders is too, but I couldn’t let it slip by.

—Reece Heineke ’03
Chicago, Illinois

Editor’s note: Yikes! Allow me to tender an apology for reversing the polarity of the bid/offer terminology; I hope no other readers were similarly “fried.”

In Praise of “Tommy” Thompson

My friendship with Enid Thompson Sales ’44 spanned 65 years with many memories attached. We met at Reed, both lit majors, but the great interest we discovered in common was in a Bauhaus-oriented course in the art studio, where we both fell in love with working in clay. Thinking that we were going to be writers or journalists or teachers eventually, after graduation we thought it would be fun first to go to San Francisco and make pottery. Unlikely as it might seem, we actually made and sold pottery as Allied Potters for almost five years. We lived on Telegraph Hill, met artists and writers, and had the time of our lives. Then she married a grad student from Berkeley and I married her brother, who graduated from Yale in engineering, and we parted ways for a number of years.

Tommy, now Enid, passionately pursued a series of projects and I traveled from Northern Canada to South America on engineering assignments. (When we finally landed home to stay, I got a master’s degree in museum studies, which I pursued until I retired.) As both friends and family, Tommy and I were reunited and saw each other often. I was able to follow her activities first-hand as she aimed to preserve the built environment of the world, starting in San Francisco, and culminating in Carmel and environs where she made her most significant contributions. She had a sense of fun as well as high purpose, and her energy and enthusiasm made people from all segments—architects, carpenters, realtors, housewives, shop keepers—want to be in on her projects.

A celebration of her life, held in one of her most elegant restorations, Orientations in Monterey, brought 175 friends, family, and admirers from far and wide to raise a final glass for a truly remarkable person. Congressman Sam Farr also entered a testimonial to her into the Congressional Record on November 19, 2008.

And so, she leaves vivid memories and a very large gap in all our lives.

—Barbara Wuest Thompson ’43
San Francisco, California

Turn Toutle

The Spring 2006 Reed magazine In Memoriam on Leone Bonney Wollenberg recounts her founding membership of the Toutle River Ranch, now known as the Youth and Family LINK Program. In 1963, when I was president of the Longview Jaycees, another Jaycee and I met with the TRR board of directors, which was meeting to close the ranch. We asked how much they needed and how much time to raise it. Given three weeks to raise $15,000, we created a fund-raiser that raised $21,000. The Jaycee project, which I co-chaired, won first place in project of the year awards both in Washington State and nationally. Thirty-five years later, the ranch still lives.

—James Robertson ’51
Ashland, Oregon

Editor’s Note: Another Reedie, alumna Marilyn M. Palmer Hoehne ’48, is credited with conceiving of the Toutle River Ranch in 1959, and assisting its establishment in 1960; see In Memoriam, November 2007.

Ebb and Flow

I am a second generation Reedie. I entered in 1940 and graduated in 1948, with four years out during the war. Much of what is going on on campus today is reminiscent of what was going on when I was a student. President Diver is speaking out, which keeps Reed in the news. SDS returning will also attract publicity; individual students will attract attention to the school. It reminds of a storm at sea when the wind whips the waves and blows scud off them to drench anyone out in it while a few feet below the surface the tide ebbs and flows responding to the laws of the universe and sea life goes on its evolutionary way to an unknown and unknowable destination. I hope Amanda Reed can feel pride in what she and Foster started.

—Dick Blohm ’48
Chestertown, Maryland

reed magazine logoSpring 2009