I wish I could have told the members of the Academy (PEOPLE, April 4) to come down off their thrones and open their eyes. Kids and their parents loved E.T.A lot of hard-earned dollars went to buy those tickets.
Battle Ground, Wash.
The backlash against E.T. was not inspired by merchandising or by competitors, but by the fact that this mawkish trifle, filled with cute kids, bumbling authority figures and slapstick, couldn't live up to the hype surrounding it. It's okay for people to seek refuge in childhood fantasies, but let's not confuse Disneyesque mediocrity with art.
Once again, Hollywood has ignored Steven Spielberg, out of either self-righteous pomposity or simple envy. Movies are made to entertain, and Mr. Spielberg is the master.
I sympathize with the Patzes and all families who experience the pain of not knowing what has happened to their missing children. Their loss of peace of mind is too often a tragedy without an ending. More than 60 years ago, the boy who would have been my maternal great-uncle, Oscar Jacobson, disappeared in Newport, Oreg. at the age of 4. His hat was found floating in Yaquina Bay, but no other evidence was ever found to prove what happened to him. He is still spoken of and remembered in our family.
His students are fortunate to have a superb and daring teacher like Jerry Lasnik, the man who brought a cadaver into his classroom. We need this kind of dedication and competence to produce leaders in science and medicine. It's a shame when teachers of his caliber are paid so poorly that he must work two jobs "to make ends meet."
Herm and Barbara Ziegler
The black musicians featured on MTV are still black, no matter what Mr. James claims. MTV has showcased a variety of black artists, including Musical Youth, one of the hottest young bands around. Why Rick James wants to bog down our already overburdened legal system with such a puny, whining case is beyond me. I expect that, if he were missing a sequin from one of his costumes, he would think it was because he was black.
Contrary to public belief, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is not rare; it affects two in every 100,000 people in the U.S. ALS is a progressive neuromuscular disease that affects the motor cells of the brain and spinal cord. In the final stages, the patient is unable to move or speak, but remains mentally alert. Although many people live with the disease for many years, average life expectancy is three to five years. Our foundation is devoted to raising funds for research and to establishing clinical services to sustain the quality of the patient's life—an example courageously portrayed by Senator Javits.
Rochelle L. Moss
New York City
Readers can write to the National ALS Foundation, 185 Madison Ave., New York, N.Y. 10016.—ED.
I applaud Jacob Javits for his courage and fortitude in facing his disease and continuing his life's work. But I wonder if he and his former colleagues in the Senate know what it is like for an average family to face such a crisis when they cannot afford nurses "around the clock." Working in rehabilitation hospitals and nursing homes, I have seen countless people with first-class brains and disabled bodies doomed to living in institutions because their families can't pay for live-in help. Years ago I watched then Gov. Ronald Reagan close down state mental institutions with the fond hope that the private sector would find a place for these people. The shopping cart folks in every city center show the failure of that plan. Now I hear President Reagan insisting that we spend more billions on nuclear weapons while cutting social programs. For the first time, I am seeing even therapy denied to many of our patients because of cutbacks in Medicare. Perhaps Mr. Javits can use his influence to remind the President of what his programs are doing to Americans.
Long Beach, Calif.
Bunny lovers arise! Thumper, Uncle Wiggily, Peter and Harvey are in danger of having their goose cooked as a part of Richard Stewart's harebrained, get-rich-quick fast-food scheme. But beware, Richard, rabbits plan revenge: a dish called cabbage and carrots a la Stewart, which will be, of course, quite tasteless.
Huntington Woods, Mich.
Attila von Somogyi
I was glad to see Attila von Somogyi's picture, since there are few of us left who have not gone the feathered-back, blow-dried route. My 18 inches of hair haven't gotten me a modeling job, but they do get me a lot of questions: Isn't it hot? Hard to take care of? Do girls like it? When are you going to cut it? The answers: No, no, they love it, never.
Picks & Pans
Critic Ralph Novak is definitely a 10! He's wasting his time behind the scenes. Tom Selleck would get a bit of competition from this cutie.
Susan K. Collins
Morris Plains, N.J.
Your record critic's turntable is spinning at less than 33 rpm. I don't know why he bothers to review the Oak Ridge Boys. Last year he tore apart Bobbie Sue, which went gold; this week, he rips up American Made. I love their singing and so do millions of others.