Spring 2010

Winter 2010 issue

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I read with concern the hypercritical comments of readers who opposed your decision to put Newt Gingrich on the [autumn 2009] cover of Emory Magazine. . . . I am neither fan nor foe of Gingrich, but it would be hard to argue that he has not had an impact on politics. For that reason alone, his current views and work are worth examining. Perhaps the criticism is a reflection of our polarized society. People who don’t agree with an individual’s viewpoints or political practices may want to pretend that they don’t exist. But any enlightening public discourse starts with information.

Rebecca Adams 95C

Silver Spring, Maryland

I enjoyed the article on Newt Gingrich and was refreshed to see atypical conservative content presented in Emory Magazine. However, I found the reactionary letters in the winter 2010 issue disappointing and a bit trite. The idea of “rigorous quantitative analysis” was instilled in us at Goizueta Business School; all points are considered to gain a macro perspective. The vehement, vitriolic responses to the mere presence of the Newt material are representative of the partisan acrimony and lack of pragmatism handicapping America, with punitive threats to discontinue giving to the University, destroying the magazine in effigy, and the like. Unfortunately the politically correct ideology, “If you don’t think like me, you must be narrow-minded,” continues to thrive among many well-educated alumni. I’m proud to donate every year since graduation and will continue to do so, even though Emory Magazine seems a liberally slanted platform from my perspective. Keep up the good work and thanks for some balance!

Eli Flint 05MBA

Atlanta

The Emory I loved was mostly a Southern school, steeped in good Christian values where academic excellence, honesty, and integrity were stressed. In the years since leaving the campus I have seen steady change to a totally liberal environment and decline in the conservative values that served me so well over a long career. I was appalled at the responses to your having fellow Emory graduate Newt Gingrich’s picture on the alumni magazine cover. What, exactly, does it tell you about the people who would go to the extent of tearing into pieces the cover with Mr. Gingrich’s picture and mailing them in an envelope to you?

Allen K. Holcomb 56C 60M

Orlando

I have always associated liberal thought with tolerance. Now I have read all the letters in the winter 2010 Emory Magazine, especially as regards Emory graduate Newt Gingrich. I found the quality of tolerance to be very strained among letter writers.

Thad Waites 80M

Hattiesburg, Missippi

I enjoyed your Prelude piece explicating responses to the Newt cover story last issue. When the Newt issue arrived, I knew immediately what you had done—and why. It was not a surprise. Part of my reaction, in fact, was “What took so long?” Newt was invisible at Emory and spent decades growing out of that obscurity. I am dismayed about the negative reactions because many fellow alums still don’t get it. Paraphrasing great thinkers back to Socrates, the academy is as close as we come to a marketplace of ideas. Certainly, there is no such marketplace in the Congress, news media, and the “public mind.” Criticism invites immediate condemnation, vituperative remarks, and (usually) ad hominem arguments that shut down intellectual exploration. Alums and friends should embrace and protect discussion of controversial ideas (and people).

Woodrow Leake 66C

Atlanta

While no fan of [Newt Gingrich], I find the response by readers sadly telling. It’s crazy that we have come to a point that you are threatened and expected to apologize for covering a prominent alum. Please don’t fall prey to intimidation and self-censorship . . . now, more than ever, we need fair balance.

Rafael Harpaz 02MPH

Atlanta

I was shocked and disappointed to read many of the letters you had received on your fall issue. I must be honest, when I received the issue with Newt Gingrich on the cover, I didn’t think about it one way or the other. Not because I don’t personally have a strong feeling about Newt Gingrich and his political leanings, but because I would expect Emory Magazine to run that kind of story and recognize that a story such as that warrants the great cover that you gave the issue. Whether we agree with Newt or not, it’s completely appropriate that he grace your cover.

Jennifer Reichle Smith 92C

Fairfax, Virginia

This eighty-two-year-old alumnus . . . long ago discovered that the true believer is the most dangerous among us, whether they be of the left or the right.

Henry Randall 50C 54M

Kennesaw

I agree that Emory alumni should at the very least be tolerant of different political views. Most of us are not willing to put our private lives in such public view or take a stand for what we believe in. Newt may, indeed, be the most recognizable Emory alumnus. I felt your article was objective journalism; presenting friend and foe sides. Please continue presenting controversial alumni.

Dulcy L. Giuliano 74OX

Charlottesville, Virginia

I write to express my disappointment with the Emory community’s response to Newt Gingrich being on the cover of the autumn 2009 issue. Let me preface my comments by saying that I am not, by any means, a fan of the former Speaker of the House. I am not surprised that many other readers of your magazine share my views on Mr. Gingrich. However, I was surprised and disheartened by the number of letters you received that criticized the decision to write an article about Mr. Gingrich and put him on the cover. What does that teach the students at Emory? That we should ignore, castigate, even demonize those who do not share our political or social beliefs? That response certainly does not sound very open-minded. . . Surely, an institution like Emory should promote an open exchange of ideas that are measured by their merit, not by blind partisanship or knee-jerk ideology. I commend your efforts to encourage a balanced dialogue on issues that are relevant to our school.

Philip Bradford Byrum 95C

Lookout Mountain, Tennessee

I read your article [“Testing Faith” by April Bogle] with great interest and appreciate you sharing your experience. My husband has been practicing Vipassana meditation, a form of mindfulness meditation practiced by the Buddha himself, for the past twenty-five years. It would be wonderful if you could keep people informed as to whether there will be any opportunities for the Emory community (and their guests) to hear the Dalai Lama’s discourse.

Christi Bell

Atlanta

The article “Testing Faith” [winter 2010] is just one more reason I and many others are becoming increasingly disappointed in the direction of Emory University. It was while preparing my Easter message on Good Friday (I am a United Methodist pastor) that I get an article on my computer from a Methodist school espousing the virtues and truthfulness of Buddhism and informing me how actor Richard Gere believes “it will save the world.” The article describes the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative, an effort to merge science and the benefits of spirituality, more specifically, Buddhist principles of meditation. Why does Emory, a church-related institution, feel the need to use Buddhist teachings in their study? Why not use the time and energy to study the importance of Jesus’ teachings about meditation, compassion, and spirituality?

Stuart Greene 80T 88T

Smyrna

Each time I receive my alumni magazine I feel proud to have been an English graduate student there in the 1960s. I had a National Defense Fellowship, which gave me not only free tuition but also a monthly stipend. Over the past forty-plus years, I’ve taught English at various venues, including Spelman College, Ohio Northern University, a second-language institution in France, Dankuk University in Seoul, Korea, a medium-security prison in Ohio, and then, for twenty years, at Olivet College, in Michigan. Even now, in my retirement, I teach literature and writing courses to senior citizens.

Linda Jo (Samuels) Scott 63G 67PhD

Bellevue, Michigan

Your magazine represented Fitzgerald (where Jake Ward taught school) as “between Cordele and Tifton” in south Georgia. Actually, on Interstate 75, which runs roughly north to south, it’s Ashburn that is between Cordele and Tifton; Fitzgerald is about twenty miles east of Ashburn.

John T. Wilcox 55C 56G

Fitzgerald

The article on reality shows was very good and informative, particularly concerning radio and TV history. However, there may be a few, like me, who detest reality shows. It could be that some of us choose to escape to our fantasy worlds.

Mary Jo McIntosh

Stone Mountain

The choice of Arnold Schwarzenegger as the 2010 commencement keynote speaker is perfect for our daughter, who is graduating in May with a degree in anthropology. She was born in Atlanta and lived in the suburbs until we moved her to California in 1997. In the second and third grades, she was involved in medal presentations for the Georgia Special Olympics held at Emory. At that early age, she was awestruck with the grandeur of the beautiful campus with the marble-clad buildings. When she began her quest to choose a college, Emory was certainly high on her list. We visited twenty campuses and she applied to twelve. Emory, as it turned out, was her first choice . . . and has been a perfect fit for her (and for us). This transplanted Georgia-peach-turned-California-beach-girl will feel like Governor Schwarzenegger is talking directly to her. A great choice, selection committee—well done.

Barry Anderson 10P

Pismo Beach, California

Write to us

Has something in Emory Magazine raised your consciousness—or your hackles? Write to the editors at Emory Magazine, 1762 Clifton Road, Plaza 1000, Atlanta, Georgia, 30322, or via email at paige.parvin@emory.edu. We reserve the right to edit letters for length and clarity. The views expressed by the writers do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or the administrators of Emory University.

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