Letters to the Editor

Re-waging the battle of the sexes; vouchers won't fix our schools.

Published May 19, 1999 4:00PM (EDT)

The humiliation of Bryan Winter


As a heterosexual male, the phrase "archetypically arrogant male brush-off" got me steamed.

Yes, the story sounds like a hoax, and yes, Gentry Lane grasps the craziness
of the medium quite eloquently, but I'm offended how all judgment on
the women who fervently condemn Bryan is brushed off. They have a lot of nerve
sitting on their moral high horse and rallying around their "sister"
just because she cries "foul" at a guy during courtship rituals.

These women should be told loudly to grow up. If "overworked young
professional" women are so persecuted in the club scene, they should
stop going so there's more room at the bar for me and my friends. In
the meantime, try building substantive personalities instead of
dolling up the role of "victim" in the battle of the sexes.

I understand this sounds harsh. I know you can give me 1,001 reasons why
women have it worse, but I am absolutely fed up with the
bashing of the male as this brutish, emotionally barren engine of
destruction, incapable of giving or seeking fulfillment, and out to
break women's hearts and ego. It is easily as insulting as saying
"you're just a girl" or "all women cannot drive."

-- Jeff Patterson

Hartford, Conn.

Thank you for the piece about Bryan White's humiliation. I found it
viscerally satisfying and therapeutic to hear what happened to this
egomaniac. It's not spiritual or kind of me, but I hope he's real. I have received messages that make this one, real or fictional, sound like something written by Emily Post. I did the personal ad thing and could not believe the lack of couth that is out there. One fellow offered to send his photo and I received a lovely visual of a gigantic male appendage.

-- Theodora Knight

Ventura, Calif.

Giuliani flunks school-voucher test

The most profound trouble with the school voucher issue is that it has not been thoroughly analyzed for its long-term effects. Clearly, our
urban public schools are in trouble. Vouchers, however,
will only serve as a short-term fix for a much larger problem.

Taking some students out of the poorest schools will not help
the troubled schools to improve. The "poor" schools will not receive more
money for their smaller student populations -- in all likelihood these schools
will lose money and teachers due to lower enrollments.

Those students who do attend private or parochial schools
through vouchers, will not necessarily receive better educations than their
public-school cohorts. Have we
forgotten that different students can and do receive very different types of
educations within the same classroom, often based upon social factors such
as race, class and gender? Students get tracked. Are we
naively assuming that private schools are above such discriminatory

We must also ask what will happen to these private and parochial
schools, once voucher students are admitted. The white flight that occurred
during the advent of de jure desegregation could just as easily occur
within private schools. It is entirely possible that those parents who pay
private-school tuition will not want their children attending a school
where voucher students are admitted. It seems terrible, but reality is not
always pretty.

We need to heal our ruptured public schools, not euthanize them.

-- Hilary Lochte

Buffalo, N.Y.

Freedman writes, "Hillary Clinton could easily be assailed as a
symbol of the class inequality that vouchers seek to correct: She sent her daughter Chelsea to posh Sidwell Friends at the same time her husband was rejecting legislation to give vouchers to Washington's most destitute and maleducated children.

Is Freedman saying that someone other
than the Clintons paid the fees at Sidwell Friends? He makes a parallel with
President Clinton rejecting vouchers for D.C., but the proper parallel
would be if the president supported legislation barring parents
from sending children to private school.

The president has little or no responsibility for schools in D.C. To the
extent any federal organization has responsibility, it is Congress.

-- David Margolies

Oakland, Calif.

Quake, Doom and blood lust

Au is right to say that some of the defenses of gaming are overblown,
but what he seems to ask for reminds me most strikingly of the Comics Code,
introduced in the 1950s. In response to shock at the gore in the horror
comics of the day, the comics industry agreed "voluntarily" to limit not
only particularly gory visual imagery, but any depiction of society that
wouldn't be approved of by Ward and June Cleaver. Heroes always had to be
good, the police were always honorable, and drug use was never depicted even
to disapprove of it. While this helped ensure that comics were nice and
wholesome for youngsters, it also helped ensure that no one over 12 could
have any interest in the medium whatsoever, because it was impossible to
provide any characterization or nuance unsuitable for a Disney movie.

Video games currently have relatively little aspiration to be high art, but
that doesn't mean that the entire medium needs to be dumbed down and
replaced with Tipper Gore's idea of what children should be doing with their
time. And just as banning horror comics didn't lead the children of the '60s
and '70s to be more innocent and wholesome than the kids of the '50s, it's
unlikely that stifling creativity in video games will do much more than
disappoint and anger people who enjoy spending their free time gaming.

-- Andrew Norris

Austin, Texas

Wagner James Au's equating of his
own personal experience with some sort of universal truth is an
obviously problematic way to approach the subject.

For a select few, such as Mr. Au, this prolonged effect may well be the
case. And it is obvious that some lack the ability to differentiate
between the virtual and the real. But it is not a universal truth. As evidence, I can only offer myself and my many co-workers [at GameSpot], who
spent countless hours playing Quake, only to return to our lives

Whether it is Ozzy Osbourne songs or a game of Quake, products meant
for entertainment have played a factor in any number of tragedies. The
question is whether they are the cause, or just small
elements of a much deeper, individual problem. I do not claim to know the answer, but I know that for me, personally, the truth is very different that the scenario Au
describes. If a simple death match really does cause such dark
urges in the author, I hope those close to him keep him away from the

-- Ron Dulin

If games were created that rewarded players with images of erotic
and sensual loveplay were created, a howl of protest quickly
followed by legislation to ban sales of such products to minors would inevitably
follow. Interesting that a slap is considered less harmful to view than a caress?

-- Rayner Garner

She's all chat


I like Oprah just as much as the next girl, but comparing Oprah with
God? Have we fallen off our rocker? Not only do I
find that offensive, but the reference to Oprah with the phrase "if she's not
God" is sacrilegious and downright ridiculous. Furthermore, closing out the
article by insinuating that God is a woman simply shows that the writer is
full of New Age ideologies. The writer of this article could have gotten her
point across without shoving her offensive references to the Almighty God
down our throats. Those of us who have a personal relationship with Him are
extremely offended when He is misrepresented.

-- Sanya Brown

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