Letters to the Editor, Sept. 1997

Paying for Our Enjoyment

I would like to take issue on several points raised in the article "Only a Game" [June 1997]. First I would like to point out several flaws in the thesis that we are only paying for "our enjoyment." What exactly is wrong with that? I work very, very hard at my job. My taxes go for a great many things that I don't take advantage of; rarely do I question their merit or worth to those who do use them.

June 1997 Columns

Secondly in regard to the economic impact graphs, they did not reflect true tourist revenue generated by out-of-town fans who spend their money at such places as the Pike Place Market. Third, Professor Bill Beyers' assertion, "That the money stays here" when a franchise moves, is simply wrong. That money will go to other venues that can be found in San Francisco or Oakland or Denver. In the case of the Mariners, the article never bothered to include the impact of the Tacoma Rainiers or Everett Aqua-Sox on their respective counties. These teams are direct affiliates of the Mariners; if the M's were to leave, they would surely follow.

We can argue point after point but we have to remember these few things: We asked Paul Allen to help keep the Seahawks, now a lot of people have made him to be a villain. If we vote no on Proposition 48, he won't buy the team and in all likelihood the Seahawks will leave. We will still have to pay the debt on the Kingdome, a venue with no tenant.

John Przebieglec, '94

Editor's Note: Proposition 48, the statewide referendum to raise $325 million for a new football stadium on the site of Seattle's Kingdome, passed June 17. While the UW is still negotiating with the team, the Seahawks hope to play in Husky Stadium during construction of their new quarters--probably during the 1999 and 2000 seasons.

Surviving Serious Harm

Your extremely well done article on artist Chuck Close, "Close Call," June 1997, had a reference to the Puyallup Fair art show uproar over his flag painting. [As a UW student, Close painted patriotic mottoes on a American flag. The artwork prompted protests when shown during the 1960 fair.] This reminded me that the incident destroyed that big, important, annual exhibition.

As I recall, Close wasn't the only artist whose entries outraged the "God-and-Country" faction. The show became a cipher in the serious art field, falling for years into tameness and drivel, and until about 10 years ago it no longer exhibited sculpture at all.

My origins made me the Northwest Sculptors Institute delegate to the "new" show organizers, but it was a waste of time. It took decades for the show to recover its present, bigger-than-ever condition as perhaps the most democratic, big annual in the state.

The fair shows were my first contact, in grade school and high school, with "serious" art. I've been glad, in the fair's recovery, to again be an entrant and now and then an award winner. I'm glad that Chuck Close, and the fair, each survived serious harm.

Gordon Anderson, '54, '58

Wrong, Unfair, Unconstitutional

Congratulations to Katuria Smith, '94, for graduating from Seattle University's law school, and for having the courage to challenge the UW law school's policy of racial discrimination. The UW law school denied Smith admission because she was white; had she been African American or Hispanic, she would undoubtedly have been admitted. Dean Roland Hjorth's rationalizations about "maintaining diversity" and "affirmative action" to the contrary, the fundamental fact is that Smith was discriminated against on the basis of her race. This is wrong, it is unfair to Smith, and to all but the most ardently politically correct, it violates the U.S. Constitutional guarantee of equal protection.

What makes me optimistic for the future is that more and more Americans of all races are recognizing that such racist policies are wrong. They recognize the true natural diversity of America. Just because you are African American or Hispanic does not mean that you are "disadvantaged" or unable to compete at the highest levels of the business and academic worlds. Just because you are white doesn't mean you are "advantaged." Is the daughter of an unemployed logger in Forks "advantaged" over the son of Michael Jordan, whose father is a millionaire, American icon and product of an elite college? What is discouraging is that law school bureaucrats like Hjorth continue to drag their feet even as the courts (Hopwood v. Texas) and the people (California Civil Rights Initiative) demand an end to affirmative action as a necessary step toward a diverse world where we can all "be judged by the content of our character, not the color of our skin."

John Steiger, '74, '80

Imagination Complications

"Imagination Inflation Found in Memory Trials," "Vistas," June 1996, failed to provide a complete account of the results in this study ("Imagination inflation: Imagining a childhood event inflated confidence that it occurred," Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 3 (2) 208-214.).

Overall, confidence levels for the imagined events increased only 8.2 percent for the eight imagined events as measured on an 8-point scale. Confidence levels for the "cut hand" event increased 24 percent for those who imagined the event and 12 percent for those who did not. Confidence levels for "rescued by a lifeguard" showed no increase.

Therefore, this study provides evidence to show that imagining some events may cause some subjects to increase their confidence that an event may have happened.

This study points out that "some mental health professionals encourage a client to imagine an abusive childhood event as a way of recovering hidden memories." The next research step would be a survey to determine how many mental health professionals whose clients have recalled memories of abusive childhood events had made such a suggestion to their clients.

Notably, a similar study found that while three (15 percent) of 20 subjects recalled a false memory of getting lost in a shopping mall, none of the subjects accepted a false memory that they had received a painful enema as a child from their parent (Pezdek, K., November 1995, 36th Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society). Therefore, no subject accepted a false event which involved a parent's action which was not only painful, but perhaps even traumatic to the subject.

Lynn Crook, '65, '70

Going to the Dawgs

In a membership appeal which was run in the September 1996 issue of Columns I found the photograph to be glaringly erroneous. While Jim Lambright may be a "pure bred Husky" as the headline declares, the dog certainly is not.

Since moving to Seattle and attending the UW, I have long wondered why the mascot representing the Huskies is an Alaskan Malamute. It seems a bit misleading as they are distinctly different breeds of dog, each recognized by the American Kennel Club. Even one unknowledgeable in dog breeds would be able to immediately recognize the difference between the breeds were they standing together. I, for one, find it odd that an institution of higher learning would engage in such imprecise terminology.

Anna-Liisa Little, '94

Editor's Note: While the UW adopted the Husky as its mascot in 1923, it has been a tradition to use an Alaskan Malamute at football games. When the UW received "Denali," a real Husky, as a gift in 1959, the ASUW "fired" the mascot because he was droopy-eared and scraggly, not "fluffy" (see "Our Back Pages," March 1995. For a look at the UW's first mascot, "Sunny Boy," see "Our Back Pages" in this issue.

Thwarting Election Thieves

I wish to share an event at the UW from almost 60 years ago. It was sometime during the winter of 1940 to spring of 1941. A group of us were sitting around a table in the Commons when the subject of an impending election for the presidency of the ASUW came up.

Prior to that time, a caucus was held by members of certain fraternities who determined who the next ASUW president would be. And so it was. There was one person nominated and no opposition. Well, our group decided, "What the heck. If we organized, maybe we could get an independent elected." This group consisted of Bill Sherman, Betty Allison, Bruce Layfield, Bob Pelton, Cliff and Clayton Knowles, plus myself and others whose names I can't recall. We put our heads together and decided that Dempster Drowley would be an excellent candidate, and with his permission we got him nominated.

Dempster was majoring in one of the basic engineering fields and had a very high G.P.A. (almost 4.0) at a time when competition between students was keen. ... Brainy Dempster was but, alas, he was also the archetypal "hairy-eared engineer." Physically attractive he was not, but he was our man and we campaigned hard for him.

The election was duly held and Dempster won. Or did he? The same bunch who nominated Dempster's opponent also comprised the election committee, which promptly found some minor flaw in the election process and then declared the election illegal. Another election would be held the very next day.

These boys thought that with fraternities closely bunched, it would be easy to roust out enough votes the second time around to overwhelm our scattered supporters. We looked dead in the water, but that evening we decided to act. We were irate. Our group got on the telephones and called every independent we knew and asked them in turn to call all the people they knew. It worked. Dempster won the second election by a landslide. I honestly believe that many fraternity and sorority members voted for him, too.

How did Dempster Drowley fare as ASUW president? I wasn't around to find out, and I haven't heard since. As a graduate in June 1941 of the UW NROTC unit, I was called immediately to active shipboard duty and did not return to Seattle until after World War II. If any of the alumni of that era wish to share their memories of Dempster's reign, please write to me at 610 S.W. Alder Dr., Dundee, OR 97115.

Dr. Ellis Finch, '41
Dundee, Ore.

It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This

Having been a part of journalism since high school newspaper and yearbook days, spending two years with Gannett Rochester Newspapers, my initial impression of Columns was that "It doesn't get any better than this." Having taken time to ready the magazine in its entirety this Sunday morning, I see that your peers at the Washington Press Association thought the same.

... Look at the cover of the June issue. As Ed Arnold said at Syracuse and in his seminars around the country, "If the cover doesn't have impact, it isn't worth a cover." This is impact, and the entire publication has an impact on society.

The June editorial by Tom Griffin is yet another inspiring piece. This is a good piece of writing but what it says has impact. Photographer Imogene Cunningham, '07, began her career same time as the Wright brothers began flying. She lived in a world of discrimination, unlike the opportunities available to women on our time. ...The opportunities have always been there but, yes, it was a struggle.

Glenn R. Showalter
Ivy, Va.

Letters to the editor are encouraged. Brief letters are more likely to be published; longer letters may be edited due to lack of space. Please include a daytime phone number and send all correspondence to: columns@u.washington.edu. You may also send a letter via U.S. mail to Editor, Columns Magazine, 1415 N.E. 45th Street, Seattle, WA 98105 or send fax to (206) 685-0611..

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