ARCHANGELS & MARTIANS…
Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Patricia J. Williams’s delightful piece about visitors from another world [“A Short History of the Pads of Brillo,” May 1] should include apologies to Mark Twain and his “Letters From the Earth.” The archangels have visited us before and have found humans equally perplexing.
New York City
I wasn’t channeling Mark Twain but Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Didn’t the reference to Beeblebrox make that apparent? But Twain or Adams, Martians or me, the noblest authorial stance in these times is outer space, no question.
PATRICIA J. WILLIAMS
I am enjoying The Nation very much. After going through the introductory issues, I decided to subscribe. Depositing my check in the envelope I noticed something I had not seen in years. In the corner where the stamp goes it said “No postage necessary if mailed in the United States.” I cannot describe the feeling of nostalgia and satisfaction coming from that tiny phrase. I felt that I really was still living in the good old USA, and that things will turn around for the little guy if only we as one people shrug off our apathy and participate, starting with this year’s Congressional elections. It’s amazing what one little phrase can do. Thanks for one tiny comfort.
A. PAUL HOGAN
I meant to change that to “No postage necessary if mailed in a blue state (or France).” –ART STUPAR, vice president, circulation
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO COKE
In “The Case Against Coca-Cola” [May 1] Michael Blanding expends some 3,000 words recounting tired, unsubstantiated allegations against The Coca-Cola Company. In all those words, there are about 150 of response from Coca-Cola, a disappointing but not surprising lack of balance that would make even Fox News blush. While The Nation is more about point of view than point of fact, it is still worth noting:
§ Of the approximately 440,000 workers in the Coca-Cola system (including workers at majority-owned entities and independent Coca-Cola bottlers) about 144,000 are represented by unions.
§ In Colombia, where fewer than 4 percent of workers are union members, about 31 percent of workers in independent Coca-Cola bottling plants are represented by one of the twelve unions with which the Colombian Coca-Cola bottlers have ongoing normal relations.
§ The International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers Associations (IUF), the global federation of unions that represents the majority of union workers in the Coca-Cola system, unanimously rejected the call for a Coca-Cola boycott. In its rejection the IUF said, “Sweeping, unsubstantiated allegations and assertions of the type found in the boycott appeal do nothing to help the cause of the unions that organize and represent Coca-Cola workers around the world, the majority of which are members of the IUF.”