Humbug! to Holiday Stories
Editor: How in the world did you manage to assemble such a group of Grinches and Christmas-phobes to judge your Christmas short story contest [Dec. 23]?
Everyone of the winners is a depressing "downer." (Yes, I know, that is a prime example of superfluity and redundance, but I use it deliberately for emphasis.)
Even in the Hanukkah story, the protagonist is more concerned with what she will receive rather than with the spiritual significance of the celebration. To use an overworked cliche, O. Henry must be turning over in his grave (viz: "The Gift of the Magi.")
. . . I am glad that I decided not to participate. What has happened to the magic and the wonder of it all?
Francis A. Stelka
Editor: "Day of the Dolphins" by Patrick McGuire [Dec. 30] was right on target. Captivity kills marine mammals. Since 1981, 14 marine mammals have either died or have been relocated due to stress illnesses. Fifty percent of those captured are dead within two years. The average life span of captive dolphins is 5.4 years as compared to up to 45 years in the wild.
According to Jacques Cousteau, one of the earliest captivists, nothing of wild dolphin or whale behavior can be learned from captive animals. It is like studying human social interaction in the Sing-Sing prison.
Keeping dolphins and whales has everything to do with gate receipts and nothing to do with education. The lessons that are taught are negative. They teach that it is all right to deprive these intelligent, gentle creatures of their freedom for our entertainment.
Coordinator, the Maryland
Forum for Animals
Editor: I appreciated very much Mr. Michael A. Karcher's "Dream School" in the Jan. 6 issue of the Sun Magazine. He opts for a Baltimore public school which "is the Harborplace of our educational system. . . . the Harvard of public schools, the envy of private schools." That's a tall order, but Poly, City and Western are excellent. I know Western best. It is superb. It has a great principal, a demanding curriculum and a distinguished student body. Baltimore could do much worse.
William R. Mueller