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Forum, May 11: An Apology Was in Order


Thursday, May 10, 2018
An Apology Was in Order

To the Dartmouth professor who announced “Ladies’ Lingerie” in an elevator recently, I offer this: As a woman of a certain age who remembers when elevator operators made such statements, my first reaction was to laugh (“Professor’s Remark Draws Rebuke,” May 8). I found it funny.

But I am acutely aware that many others did not and that the reference could be a trigger to a survivor of sexual trauma.

It’s also true that none of us can know how someone else will receive what we say, when we remark offhandedly or in jest. Another person’s life context will always be unknown to us, even for the few we think we know well.

The point is, an apology from the professor would have been the right thing to do. He didn’t mean to offend, but he did. If he is as tuned in to women’s issues as he says he is, he should be aware, when it was brought to his attention, that he erred.

Making an apology is not an admission of anything. It’s an acknowledgement that we are all imperfect — the hearer as well as the speaker — and willing to try to do better.

Pat Whitney

Sunapee

A Remark Best Left Ignored

This is in regard to Dartmouth professor Ned Lebow’s remark in a crowded elevator, saying “Ladies Lingerie,” and the offense taken by Simona Sharoni, a professor of women’s gender studies at Merrimack College (“Professor’s Remark Draws Rebuke,” May 8). For years, department stores had elevator operators who announced the floors. Sharoni considered Lebow’s remark harassment and filed a complaint. As a woman, it strikes me that this kind of reaction to a remark of so little consequence does nothing to promote equality. It does just the opposite. Maybe Sharoni could say, in retort, “Mens Wear.” Would Lebow then file a complaint of harassment?

Nancy Parker

Lebanon

Grave Concerns in S. Royalton

The community of South Royalton needs to ask some pointed questions about how the new high school principal was hired.

Why didn’t the hiring committee ask the South Royalton community at large to meet the candidates?

Why did the committee replace the current interim principal, who has experience and has already provided much-needed stability and infused a feeling of community into the school, with a candidate who has no experience as a top school administrator?

Have they forgotten the main lessons we learned from hiring inexperienced principals after Shaun Pickett retired?

It seems the input provided by the South Royalton School staff and faculty was ignored? Why?

Who put the hiring committee together? Why was the hiring committee populated primarily with people from Bethel?

We were allowed only two representatives: one teacher who is new to us this year and came to us from Bethel and one community member whose spouse used to teach at Bethel.

I have grave concerns that we are making the same mistake all over again in hiring someone who is new to the position and will not be up to the demands of our newly merged school. This concern is especially true when we have a candidate in place who has proven her ability to heal and strengthen the school.

Kate George

South Royalton

Cost of Privacy on Facebook

Scott Duke Kominers argues that, barring “outside pressure,” the economics of advertising imply that Facebook cannot adopt a “privacy tier” pay system for customers to protect their data from being used for advertising, benign or unsavory. (“Facebook Knows It Can’t Offer More Privacy,” May 1).

Still, no one has to be on Facebook. Whether or not the cost of a privacy tier is too expensive for consumers to pay, if your concerns are sufficient, leave or don’t join Facebook. Since teenagers and early 20-year-olds are abandoning Facebook in legions for other social media, privacy may be playing into those leave-takings in an odd way: Who wants constantly to think of their life as being subjected to the social comparison of Facebook?

Indeed, Kominers’ observation that “the more data you give Facebook, the better it can advertise to you” starkly reveals the cost of such participation to young people. If the cost of displaying one’s own life is social anxiety, why make your life public? Are kids starting to recognize how to do something about the cost of privacy on social media that economic analysis may be overlooking?

J. Scott Lee

Bradford, Vt.

Stand Up and Be Counted Now

In his recent letter (“We Are Afraid of Truth,” April 30) Neil Meliment cites “camps” as a looming possibility in today’s political climate. We’ve already had them. Franklin D. Roosevelt, the president pretty much hagiographied in popular imagination, authorized them.

​Since our founding as a nation we’ve been here again and again and again and again. This is normal, unfortunately, and not exceptional.

​What we need to remember is that a constitution is not a magic encirclement of virtue. Government-R-Us.

​And we the people keep allowing successive elected administrations to recycle the same bureaucrats, complicit though they may be in facilitating, or being complicit in, or failing to move forcefully to prevent crimes against humanity.

​We’ve got Donald Trump today because all the smart people of both major parties failed us so badly. If we’re now forced to confront the stink that’s been here all along, then we should thank God for the results of the 2016 election. We are all now called upon to stand up and be counted, but we ought to have gotten to our feet long ago.

Sarah Crysl Akhtar

Lebanon

The Sanctity of Motherhood

As Mother’s Day approaches, I would like to comment on what I call the sanctity of motherhood.

The tragedy of abortion is not just that babies are dying but that motherhood has been desanctified. For every childhood that is aborted, a motherhood is aborted as well.

Sanctity of life and sanctity of motherhood go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other.

Those who are zealous for the lives of unborn children should consider: The best way to love a child, in or out of the womb, is to love its mother. Whoever lacks compassion for the mother has none for the child, either.

A woman who finds herself in an unplanned pregnancy should absolutely choose motherhood. However, she should not be left to fend for herself. She needs the love and support of her mate, her family and her community. That is what the sanctity of motherhood is all about.

David Thron

Hanover

Abolish the Death Penalty

For the second time in recent history, the people of New Hampshire have spoken through their elected representatives to pass legislation in both houses to abolish the death penalty in our state (SB 593).

Gov. Chris Sununu appears ready to veto this landmark legislation. I believe he is out of step with the majority of the people in New Hampshire, and indeed the United States, as the evidence against this practice mounts, making moral and financial considerations clear.

We know that innocent people have been executed in U.S. prisons. We know that keeping a convicted murderer in prison for life without parole is far less expensive than the extensive process of appeals that must take place before an execution can occur — millions of dollars that could be spent on education and health care, to name two of many underfunded needs in our state. We know that murder victims’ families and the families of the accused suffer deeply during each appeal, when the horror and sorrow of the crime must be relived in the public domain. We know that the death penalty is not a deterrent to murder.

If we do not believe as a society that anyone has the right to take a human life, why do we as a society allow our state’s government to do so?

If you are a resident of New Hampshire and support the abolition of the death penalty in our state, please call Sununu’s office (603-271-2121) and voice your opinion.

Elizabeth Morse

Plainfield