Sell It YourselfI would like to take...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Sell It Yourself

I would like to take issue with the letter written by Joan Solomon in The Sun March 6, in which she implies that everyone needs a Realtor to sell a home. While I agree that agents work and earn their money, it is not that difficult to sell a home if one does one's homework.

Not everyone has the time or the inclination, but for those who wish to try to sell their own homes, start by establishing a fair price (go to the courthouse for prices of comparable homes), hire a good real estate lawyer to read any contract presented and take him to settlement with you. I sold my last home in two days without any problems.

Mary Louise Lanci

Baltimore

People & Animals

I wrote to a friend, a Baltimore resident, about General Motors' continued use of animals in crash testing and mentioned People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, whose picketing brought this to my attention. She sent me a clipping of the story about Frank Perdue and the pie-in-the-face incident.

I am not a member of PETA but I would like to put in a word in the organization's defense.

It is only in the last few years that many people, myself included, have become aware of how ingrained widespread cruelty to animals is in the human way of life.

It is so accepted that we don't even question it. Laboratory experiments, hunting, the factory farm system, the fur industry -- all involve cruelties that would cause a universal outcry if inflicted on human beings.

When you finally do recognize the horror of it, really stop to think what it is like for these animals, you begin to feel a terrible sadness and shame and rage and a kind of despair because so many people -- nice people, good people -- continue to condone the cruelty or refuse to think about it. You want to take these people by the coat lapels and shake them into realizing what is going on.

I don't know whether some of PETA's controversial actions are the way to go. But I can understand the motive.

Just as others have done in the past when they believed in a cause and were faced with apathy or outright hostility, PETA has done some extreme, even outrageous things in order to shock people into awareness.

I am rather sorry its members did this pie-in-the-face thing, because I am afraid it made them look silly in many eyes and may have obscured and trivialized the message they are trying to get across. But I believe in the message.

It galls me to think of all the individuals who are getting rich in the meat and poultry processing industries.

I would rather live in a world where people did not climb to prosperity and prominence over the bodies of dead animals.

Mary L. Pennal

Irving, Texas

Real Artists

The Sun's placing of its editorial "Russia's Endangered Art" and Marshall Clarke's letter (March 5) on the same page offered an excellent comparison. The Sun's calling for the saving of Russian art is commendable. However, there is no interest in saving the Soviet art of this century. This "art" was painted, sculpted and drawn to please the Communist elite and frequently provided false impressions as well as showing little ability. This was also true in the field of literature and slightly less so in music.

In America much of 20th century art follows the same pattern as Soviet art. While not limited by politics, American art turned to the other extreme. Artists could not improve upon what had been accomplished in the past few centuries, so they turned to radical new "directions" in art. We have artists dribbling paint across a canvas which could only be improved upon by apes. They were followed by soup cans, comic book art, etc. And to be a sculptor, first you have to be trained as a welder.

Apparently Mr. Clarke recognizes anything as a "work of art." It would seem today aesthetics has nothing to do with art, nor does beauty. Even so, we've become a little more discriminating as viewers. We are mesmerized by a photograph of a figure of Christ immersed in urine alone. I myself am impressed by Jackson Pollock's Number 31, 1950, or was it Number 13, 1949; anyway it's the one that you're not sure which side is up.

While Soviet artists tried to please the Communists, American artists have attempted to legitimize their works through weird explanations that left the average viewer puzzled to say the least. Many today attempt to politicize art, as the Communists did, or come up with a new medium which will propel them to fame and fortune. This also can be seen in the areas of literature and music in America, although they are under more rigid restraints than art.

This is a scientific century, one unsurpassed in the history of mankind. This is not one of the better centuries for the fine arts, even considering the tremendous number of "works of art, literature and music."

Mr. Clarke might try visiting some public schools and see if he feels his tax money is being put to good use. This is where the real artists of America are to be found. Their art portrays America, both good and bad, in an unbiased and clear way, avoiding the gimmicks of many of today's "new-thought" artists.

R. D. Bush

Columbia

Patronizing

I was dismayed at the patronizing, sexist attitude toward women articulated by Charles E. Rosolio, the attorney for Kasco-Chesapeake Builders, in The Sun's article on the construction suit and countersuit with the Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart (March 2).

As a lay employee of the School Sisters of Notre Dame I respect the care with which these highly educated women executives run their congregations. They are no less entitled to satisfaction as a consumer than anyone else.

These sisters know all too well that perfection is difficult if not impossible to achieve and I applaud their pursuit of integrity from those with whom they -- and others less empowered -- do business.

Ellen McDonald Perry.

Baltimore.

Girls' Schools

The Feb. 20 Opinion * Commentary article by Barbara Landis Chase, headmistress of all-girl Bryn Mawr School, contains one error. She states that Baltimore's "Western High School is the only remaining public girls' high school in the nation."

There is another one -- Philadelphia's Girls High School.

Both institutions are under investigation by the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights for violations of Title IX, which bans sex discrimination in programs receiving federal funds.

Kauko H. Kokkonen

Towson.

Stop the Insurance Frauds

I read with interest the March 11 Sun article, "Insurance fraud reports surge after arrest." Recently, I served on a Baltimore City jury in which our job was to decide claims arising from a car accident. Two men who had been hit at a stop light were suing for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering caused by supposed injuries to their backs, necks and knees.

All 12 members of the jury were pretty sure this was an insurance scam of some sort. But there was no doubt that the two plaintiffs had been rear-ended by the defendant. And we were presented with fistfuls of medical bills and lengthy testimony by the doctor to whom the plaintiffs' lawyer had sent them for treatment.

On the basis of the evidence and the testimony before us, there was no way for us to differentiate reasonable and necessary medical care from medical care aimed at establishing an insurance claim.

Besides, as one member of the jury cogently argued, the plaintiffs had done exactly what accident victims were supposed to do. They had put themselves in the hands of professionals -- first a lawyer, then a doctor -- and they had followed professional advice to the letter. How could we now deny them compensation for the expenses of their entirely reasonable course of action?

In the end we gave them medical costs and time lost but nothing for their supposed pain and suffering. And still we felt, as we announced the verdict, that we had just tacked another tenth of a percent on our own insurance rates.

I speak for myself and, I think, for the other 11 members of the jury when I applaud the attorney general's office for addressing the root of the problem and going after not the accident victims, but the professionals who manage, manipulate and profit from the insurance fraud system.

John Spitzer.

Baltimore.

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