Letters to the Editor

Published the week of October 4, 2000

The incident that finally repulsed me enough to tune Pinion out was a racist comment he made one day. One of those comedy bits was to have an in-studio guest read a page of Joseph Heller's Catch-22 while the gang made fun of it, presumably because reading a classic is such an outrageous pastime. A guest was reading the book and read the word "snigger." Pinion stopped her and said something along the lines of "You can't say that on the radio. You better say "snegro" instead." It's obvious what kind of individual would even think of a joke like that, not to mention broadcast it over the air. As far as I know, he suffered no repercussions from that bit of "comedy," in which he revealed his true nature to the listeners. This was sometime in August of 1999. It would have been on a Tuesday, because female guests were featured on Tuesdays and males on Fridays. The next day, Pinion read a letter from someone who complained about something on his show. Karen Vail asked him what the complaint concerned, but he avoided the specifics, preferring instead to imply that this malcontent was oversensitive. Then, as if to send a feel-good message, he read another letter praising him from a fan who professed to be black. It was obvious that Pinion was attempting some measure of damage control without admitting to his comment. That was it for me.

At least the RFT's readers picked Roy St. John as Best Radio Personality, but it's disappointing those same readers think that Pinion is the Best Radio Talk-Show Host. I had higher expectations of the RFT and its readers.
George Haberberger

I live directly between the Schnucks stores at Lindell and on Kingshighway. The point you made about Schnucks being the only major chain in the city is an important one that I consider quite often (Ray Hartmann, "Schnucks: Not the Friendliest Weeks in Town," RFT, Sept. 20). I have to think about that fact in order to calm my anger in noticing the major discrepancies in my neighborhood Schnucks and those like the ones on Clayton Road and at Ladue Crossing. Forget the fact that there is less of a choice of items. I understand that in my area there may be less of a market for kosher, ethnic, vegetarian, exotic produce and gourmet items. But why are there fewer cashiers at my Schnucks, resulting in stressed-out, unhelpful employees and longer, slower lines? Why aren't there well-designed carts that are easy to push and fit through register lines well and are shallow enough to lift groceries into and out of easily? Why are there shelves full of unpriced loaves of bread and no employees around who are able and/or willing to give me a price? If I drive out of my way to Ladue Crossing and something goes wrong, it's easy to find employees who are friendly, capable and helpful. The Ladue Crossing Schnucks is cleaner and better organized, and there are almost always free delicious samples. I dread walking into one of my Schnucks stores. I am almost guaranteed that there will be something frustrating and unpleasant about the experience there. I don't feel it's right to say that they're the only chain in the city and that makes them the good guys. They obviously put less money and attention into the stores in my neighborhood and then dare to wonder why sales may be insufficient to operate the stores. I've been angry at them since I've moved here and am also angry at Dierbergs for not being here at all.
Lauren Buchsbaum

As a faculty member at Lindenwood University, I was disappointed to read the letters of alumni concerning the institution's academic standards. Yes, many of us faculty members disagree with Dennis Spellmann and his politics (Jeannette Batz, "The Talented Mr. Spellmann," RFT, Sept. 6). Yes, the teaching load, at five courses per term, is a definite overload. I come home tired most days, if not exhausted. Because the courses are overfilled, there is more and more and more to do; I frequently work 70-hour weeks. I am one who questions why I stay, but yet I do stay. Why? Because I believe the spirit of the school lives on and will outlast Spellmann's regime. Because I love the students and I love my vocation of teaching. Perhaps I am naïve; perhaps I am badly mistaken in still wishing to serve a school whose vocation so obviously serves money. Nonetheless, I stay because I feel I can still make a difference to the Lindenwood students.

The students at Lindenwood are denied some fundamental rights as students and, indeed, as people. Doublespeak becomes their second language. They are given hats and told not to wear them. They are expelled for drinking and for visiting members of the opposite sex but not for plagiarism. For mentors, they have highly educated professionals who fear to speak or to be named. The students cannot publish a newspaper, as the current administration is absolutely intolerant of criticism (and critical thinking), whether that criticism is valid or invalid, real or perceived. Yet many of these students are first-generation college students, given scholarships at Spellmann's bequest. They are given a chance. Some make it; some cannot. Some will not. But those who stay do so for a reason. I think they trust us, the faculty.

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