Letters to the Editor

Published the week of August 2-8, 2000

I can understand why John McGuire was baffled when Cole Campbell told him to write with cultural authority ("Lost at Sea," RFT, June 7), but I think I know what Campbell meant. And I think I agree.

The Post-Dispatch -- and, to be fair about it, many other periodicals, including, from time to time, even The Riverfront Times -- have a tendency to cultural and literary illiteracy.

I remember, for example, a mention in a feature in the P-D of the film if ..., a dark comedy about an English public school that was released in the late 1960s. The article said the movie was produced and directed by Rudyard Kipling. None of the editors caught it. Similar whoppers occur almost daily.

Campbell was right, of course, in trying to avert this sort of solecism, if that was in fact what he was trying to do. His fault seemed to be that he was so self-enchanted that he thought he could add weight to his pronouncements by being oracular and obscure, like the Delphic Sibyl. I think he considered himself a mystic.

I wish the P-D all the best in its search for Campbell's replacement. I know my former colleagues harbor the fond belief that there's nowhere to go but up. But we've heard that before, haven't we?
E.F. Porter
Sunset, Maine

Sally Cragin may be surprised to learn that I understand one or two things about Shakespeare ("Say Uncle," RFT, July 19). One of them is that he didn't always pronounce words the same way that we do. My musty old Oxford English Dictionary includes this note on the pronunciation of "antipodes": "Formerly, very regularly, three syllables." Since Richard II has more regular iambic pentameter than any Shakespeare play I've read, I chose the older pronunciation: "Whilst we were wand'ring with the antipodes." She can do the math herself. I'll leave it to our audiences to discern whether I understand anything else.
Bob Koerner

Bravo to Jane Robert and the hardworking committee organized to bring Prince Louis de Bourbon to St. Louis the end of August ("The Man Who Would Be King," RFT, July 12). During the past four years, civic leaders and St. Louis 2004 staff and volunteers have sought events and activities that would focus national and world spotlights on St. Louis, engage our citizens in thinking about the future, and, as we celebrate the anniversaries of the Louisiana Purchase and the World's Fair, look at our collective history. What an ideal time to bring the dashing young prince to our city and region.

Alliance Française president Jane Robert should be congratulated, not only for her hard work on behalf of the Alliance and St. Louis, but for her vision. The prince's visit is an excellent link between the city's early history and culture and the 21st century and should be recognized as a cornerstone event for the St. Louis 2004 efforts. Certainly the arrival of the first direct descendant of Louis IX (St. Louis) to ever visit our city is cause to celebrate -- St. Louis style, of course.
Mary Schuman

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