Perhaps unconsciously motivated by a touch of riot envy, Steve Wasserman, in an otherwise informative review [“Exit Stage Left,” Oct. 29], mistakenly says that “the nation’s first teach-in, organized by the Vietnam Day Committee in May 1965,” was held on the Berkeley campus. The first Vietnam teach-in, organized by faculty and students of the University of Michigan, was held on the night of March 24,1965, on that campus. I oughta know.
Professor Sahlins is the father of the teach-in. —The Editors
Lizard Brains’ll Getcha Every Time
Patricia J. Williams rang my chimes with her “Lizard Brains vs. the Land of the Real” column [Oct. 29]. As a childless, pre-TV adult who talks to cabbies and came to children’s books late in life as an aide in a K-12 school library in post-retirement (recently cut because of state budget deficits), I have been continually amazed by the wisdom emitted from the mouths of stuffed rabbits and assorted other creatures. I vote for a law that requires both houses of Congress to watch Sesame Street for an hour each week and participate in monthly outreach sessions with Big Bird. They would get a basic grounding in science and critical thinking, and our country would be better for it.
Patricia Williams writes that “thoughtful and critical response must uncover all the faulty structures of knowledge that sustain such belief systems,” referring in part to Georgia Representative Paul Broun Jr.’s statement, “All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the big bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell.” He also said, “I don’t believe that the earth’s but about 9,000 years old. I believe it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says.”
It would take too long to deliver a thoughtful and critical response based on science, but let me point out some hypocrisy. The Bible also says: “Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens’…. So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city” (Genesis 11:4–8) and “The highest heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth he has given to man” (Psalms 115:16).
Both strongly suggest that God intended man to stay put on earth. And yet Broun, addressing the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight regarding NASA, said, “I…hope that we can all work together to ensure that our nation’s space agency can securely support and appropriately protect cutting-edge research, collaborative science and mission operations.” Could Broun’s cafeteria-style Bible reading have anything to do with the aerospace industry, which is so important to Georgia’s economy?
Good Deficits, Bad Deficits
Thank you for Sherle Schwenninger’s October 29 article, “The Missing Economic Debate.” It makes several points I have not seen elsewhere. In August 2010, when concern over federal deficits nearly caused a national default, I asked a Stanford colleague in the economics department, “Wasn’t it an early over-concern about deficits that prolonged the Depression?” To which he replied, “That was the double dip of 1937-38.” It was nice to see Schwenninger make that point.