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Forum, June 8: Dartmouth Professor Emeritus Explains Elevator Remark


Thursday, June 07, 2018
Professor Explains Elevator Remark

I am interested to learn that the story about the consequences of me of saying “ladies’ lingerie” in an elevator in San Francisco in April at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association still resonates among your readers (“Dartmouth Professor’s Remark Draws Rebuke,” May 8).

I emailed the professor who was offended and said, “I certainly had no desire to insult women or to make you feel uncomfortable. I am struggling to understand why you were offended, and perhaps you can enlighten me in this regard.”

I was hoping we could meet for coffee and talk about our mutual concerns. I discovered that she had not grown up in either the U.S. or U.K. — where saying “ladies’ lingerie” in an elevator is a well-known gag line — so I explained in the same email the meaning of my remark and how it was in no way directed against women.

I further suggested that I considered a complaint of the kind she made damaging to efforts of women to combat serious and unacceptable mistreatment.

She complained to the ISA, this time about my having contacted her, and I was censured a second time.

What ISA officials want is not an apology but a capitulation; they demand that I acknowledge to them and to professor Simona Sharoni that my remark was “inappropriate and offensive.”

I refuse to do so because my remark was neither, and giving in to their demands would further chill free speech among younger colleagues and students who are far more vulnerable than I am to sanction by their professional organization.

I have appealed the ISA censures and await their response.

Richard Ned Lebow, Professor of International Political Theory

King’s College London

Not a Flattering Situation

Regarding your May 31 story, “Cancer Center Naming Rights Part of Fundraising Campaign”: There is a name for people or institutions who offer themselves for money. It is not a flattering term. And to do it so flagrantly, or perhaps I should say fragrantly, is even more sad.

Walter W. Noll, Emeritus Professor of Pathology, DMS

Etna

Roundup and Your Health

Gardening season is upon us and many people will turn to Roundup as they have in the past to control their weeds, believing it to be a safe product. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In an interview in the June/July 2016 edition of Mother Earth News, Thierry Vrain, an organic gardener and retired genetic engineer explained that Stauffer Chemical patented Roundup, whose active ingredient is glyphosate, in 1964 as a de-scaling agent to clean mineral deposits off industrial pipes and boilers. It does this by binding to minerals, making them non-reactive. When Monsanto discovered that glyphosate is also able to kill plants by robbing them of their minerals, they knew they could make a lot more money using it as a non-selective herbicide than as a de-scaling agent and they bought the rights in 1969.

Unlike mammals, bacteria and plants are able to make their own proteins by synthesizing all 20 amino acids. They do this in what is called the “Shikimate Pathway.” Glyphosate steals an atom of manganese in this pathway, making the plant unable to build protein and the plant dies.

For almost 50 years, Roundup was thought to be a safe product and was marketed that way because it was believed that the Shikimate Pathway existed only in plants, not in humans. Recently it has been discovered that the 100 trillion bacterial cells in our intestines do contain the Shikimate Pathway and are affected by glyphosate. Scientific studies, mostly done outside of the United States, show that 1 part per million (ppm) kills bacteria in the guts of animals, endocrine disruption starts at 0.5 ppm and even less causes oxidative stress and chronic inflammation. Every crop has an allowable level; sugar is 10 ppm, soybeans 20 ppm, cereals 30 ppm and non-grass animal feed is 400 ppm.

Is it any wonder that so many of us complain of digestive problems, chronic inflammation, allergies and food intolerances?

Think twice before buying Roundup to control your weeds and buy organic produce whenever possible to avoid exposure to this toxic chemical.

Connie O’Leary

Meriden