Not So Gurley After All
While I do not take issue with Madeleine Schwartz’s image of Helen Gurley Brown in her review of two recent biographies of Cosmopolitan’s most famous editor [“Notes From Many Years,” Sept. 26/Oct. 3], her characterizations of the magazine ignore something: Among the articles about attracting men and sex, one could find pieces that dealt with other issues affecting women’s lives. I know because, in the 1970s, I wrote them: the story of an adoptee’s long, arduous search to find her birth mother and the fallout from her adoptive parents; a long piece (in blank verse, no less) about the breakup of my first marriage, with no happy ending in sight; and a serious discussion of the effect of premenstrual hormones. Woman’s Day had rejected the latter with a brisk “Too retro.” Certainly I was not the only one writing such pieces.
The reason Cosmopolitan was successful was that, in between the articles on relationships and the joy of sex, we could find articles that other women’s magazines wouldn’t touch—articles that were either “too retro” or ahead of their time, depending on your perspective.
sag harbor, n.y.
I Beg Your Pardon!
I am disappointed in both The Nation and the ACLU for Jon Wiener’s “A Pardon for Snowden” [Sept. 26/Oct. 3]. To the article’s first question—“How many documents did Snowden release to the public?”—the ACLU’s Ben Wizner answers “zero.” Come on! He gave the documents to the media: In my book, that is disclosing them. Then Wizner goes on to say that the news organizations “made a determination that publishing…was in the public interest.” That’s BS. The determination was made to publish because it would be a money-making sensation. I had difficulty reading the rest of the article after that propagandistic start.
Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning are heroes who must be pardoned.
Charlotte E. Edwards
Patricia Williams opens wide a new window through which to perceive Donald Trump [“Trump l’Oeil,” Sept. 26/Oct. 3]. Yes, exactly: He is a performative signifier! As she explains, “Once we’ve been lured onto [his] emotionally charged field of rational bypass, words stop working.” And so even the most skilled moderator is unlikely to be able to contain him in the presidential debates, just as none could do so in those of the Republican primaries. For the same reason, Hillary Clinton’s much-touted debating skills may also prove ineffectual. It’s not hard to imagine Trump declaring that her very rationality makes her fundamentally untrustworthy, and even mentally unfit for the presidency. George Orwell would marvel at the man, and fear for us and the world.
Stephen E. Levick