I found your story on Raisa Gorbachev (PEOPLE, Dec. 2) to be very slanted. Had Raisa arrived in Geneva looking like a moose and wearing Army boots, had she been rude and ignorant, your reporter would have been happy. Instead she presented herself as an intelligent and very stylish woman. She waved and smiled for the press, and all your magazine can say is that "they are playing it up for all it's worth." As Americans we are very fortunate to have Nancy Reagan at this point in our history. But think back a few decades or so; Nancy is the most stylish First Lady since Jackie Kennedy. Could the First Ladies in between have ranked as high as Raisa? Let's face facts; Raisa did as much for her husband as Nancy did for hers. Why not accept her, instead of trying to find an ulterior motive for her public image?
Carmen William Russo
If a) Russia is a "classless society" and b) Raisa Gorbachev is a typical comrade, then c) every adult female in Russia must have a pair of $2,100 earrings, d) gee, we should be so lucky here in America and e) you wonder if Raisa is a tool of Soviet propaganda? These hypocrites are peddling Communism from the back seat of a Rolls-Royce. Tell it to the poor Russian slob waiting in line for his toilet paper ration.
Raisa Gorbachev can't defend herself, but let's face it, who would be best to lead a nation, a couple of intellectuals with charisma or a couple of actors?
I read with avid interest your story on Sandi Patti, and I greatly appreciated this coverage of the contemporary Christian music scene. I am disturbed, however, by the statement that one of Ms. Patti's songs could easily fit into the Top 40 if it weren't for the heavenly lyrics. It is a tragedy that hellish lyrics are readily acceptable on the Top 40 and not the other way around. Wasn't it just a few short years ago that My Sweet Lord and Put Your Hand in the Hand of the Man From Galilee were part of the pop Top 40? What a demonstration of the degeneration of values in our culture today!
After reading Moon Zappa's description of what kids today call overweight people ("wideload, heifer, lardass"), I'd like to offer my description of Moon and her peers. How about "insensitive, tasteless, cruel and just plain stupid."
Diahann Carroll and Vic Damone
Permit me to call your attention to an error in your story on Diahann Carroll and Vic Damone. It stated that Miss Carroll "started her career at 15, modeling for Essence magazine." It was, of course, for Ebony. Miss Carroll mentions that fact quite often, and Essence did not exist when Diahann Carroll was 15 years old.
Charles L. Sanders
Our apologies to Ebony, which is celebrating its 40th year, and to Essence, which is marking its 15th.—ED.
With all due respect to Fred Powledge, I am glad that I adopted my son via foreign adoption before I read his unduly negative article. After trying unsuccessfully to adopt for six years here in the U.S., I decided to try foreign adoption. There was red tape aplenty, but we just followed state/agency guidelines, and in four short months we brought our beautiful son home. We didn't need a lawyer, we didn't need to speak the language of Brazil (there was an interpreter with me at all times), and the cost was $6,000—nothing like the $15,000 mentioned in the story. A year has passed since our son came home, so would I do it again? You bet, and in fact, I hope to adopt a daughter from Brazil in the near future.
High Point, N.C.
It saddens me that Kristin McMurran traded an excellent opportunity to introduce the uninitiated to an extraordinary and varied body of written work in order to steal space for an expose of Harlan Ellison's demons-at-large behavior. And I resent that the little mention she did make of Mr. Ellison's work—the heart of the matter—was treated as nothing more than a backdrop for his emotional binges. You want something really juicy on Ellison? Try his books, Shatterday, Stalking the Nightmare or An Edge in My Voice, just for starters. The Ellison of Ms. McMurran's story ain't got nothin' on the Ellison you'll find in those pages.
Carol Lynn Hood
The profile was meant to introduce readers to a gifted writer who is also outspoken and volatile—qualities evident in his recent abrupt departure from The Twilight Zone in a dispute with program practices at CBS.—ED.
Picks & Pans
Thank you to Jeff Jarvis for his courage in giving Barry Manilow's Copacabana TV movie a positive review. It's much easier to criticize than compliment, and Mr. Jarvis had the guts to admit he likes it.
It wasn't enough that Jeff Jarvis opted for the Cliffs Notes version of Bleak House. While commenting on the novel's length, he reduced one of the greatest masterpieces of world literature to "mire, mirth and melodrama." As a professor of English who has a hard enough time getting his students to read novels and stop worrying about "difficulty" and "length," I feel Mr. Jarvis does not do the pursuit of higher education a favor. His Philistine behavior would find itself at home in the dark world of Dickens. Bah, humbug!
New York City
Jeff Jarvis replies: "Students plead a shortage of time. So do I. But you're right, that's no excuse. There is no substitute—neither outlines nor mini-series—for the original."—ED.