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updated 08/16/1982 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/16/1982 01:00AM

The "400 Ball"
The only thing that saved me from losing my lunch while reading the story about the party in Newport (PEOPLE, July 26) was Whitney Haley's statement, "Let's face it: The 400 doesn't mean anything anymore." It's a pity that we poor slobs have to worry about such trivia as nuclear war and pollution and whether we'll have a job tomorrow instead of worrying about traumatic questions like whether we have the right color dress so that we won't be barred from the party. If it weren't for the fact that they were born into so much money, most of the illustrious 400 would be right where I am—sweating it out!
Jean Gitchel
Lake Mary, Fla.

Aerobic dancing
A round of applause from this reader for your fine article on aerobic dancing. I attend two classes every week and have never enjoyed myself more: It's both fun and effective.
Peggy Smith
Jefferson City, Mo.

Medical malpractice
As one who has endured a totally debilitating illness for eight months, I have to say that the patient must take a great deal of personal responsibility for all illnesses and medical procedures, large or small. Too many people are willing to place blind faith in the man or woman wearing the white coat. If we all make sure that the medical care we receive is top-notch, then these quacks will soon find themselves without customers.
K. McFarland
Bryan, Texas

Your article about incompetent doctors was quite informative, but unfortunately it was written to sensationalize a few outrageous cases of gross medical incompetence without trying to explain the complexity of the issue. There are grossly incompetent physicians, and the disciplinary system is trying to weed them out. They are protected to a great degree by their right to due process and by their ability to purchase high-quality legal help. There are also many fine physicians who make occasional mistakes and are sued for malpractice. Should a hard-earned medical license be revoked or suspended just because a physician loses his case or makes one mistake? There are no easy answers.
Richard J. Feinstein, M.D.
Tallahassee, Fla.

There is a distinction between malpractice and maloccurrence that your article failed to discuss. Examples of the true malpractice problem are those frivolous suits which are becoming ever more numerous and the excessively large awards that make it difficult to compensate those who are in need. What is true compensation for brain damage? Of course there are incompetent people in all walks of life, but would you take away a truck driver's license because of one accident due to human error?
Fred Teichman, M.D.
Lewisburg, Pa.

In your article "License to Kill?" you barely scratched the surface. Not only do physicians participate in this "conspiracy of silence," so also do administrators and nurses who depend for their professional survival upon the goodwill of physicians. With notable exceptions, peer review is grossly inadequate. Add to this the public's need to believe in the infallibility of its docs, and it appears to me, after five years as a hospital administrator, that the inmates have indeed taken over the asylum.
Andrews. Myers
Kingsburg, Calif.

Kirstie Alley
Kirstie Alley is stunning both as a human and as a Vulcan. Her courage in risking security to tackle difficult projects in the midst of personal loss makes an even rarer type of beauty.
Daniel J. Pingelton
Boulder, Colo.

Your article on Kirstie Alley revealed much about her goals and personal triumphs. But as a Trekkie all I can say after seeing Star Trek II is that I think she should turn in her ears.
Z. Zimmerman
Los Angeles

Picks & Pans
The songs of the Rolling Stones' new album Still Life are certainly not lifeless. The only thing I found lifeless was the reviewer. I have a question for him: If Still Life is so dreadful, why is it near the top of the charts?
Sherri Golinsky
Littleton, Colo.

Ozzy Osbourne
How can such a respectable magazine print an article on Ozzy Osbourne? You call this entertainer "outrageous," but as an animal lover I feel that his biting the head off a bat or a dove is cruel and sadistic.
Debbie Selleck
Owosso, Mich.

Thanks for covering a wedding that meant more to me than that of Lady Di and Prince What's-His-Name. Congrats, Sharon: Landing Mr. Unpredictable is nothing to sneeze at. Many happy anniversaries to you both.
Robin Scott
San Diego

John Davidson
I used to think that John Davidson looked like he belonged in one of those schmaltzy romance novels, but I didn't realize he talked as if he did, too: "Our relationship makes me the driving force...she makes me feel like a man."
Gregory Solomon
Indianapolis

Of course John Davidson's young girlfriend has time to give him "overwhelming" attention, since she isn't raising his children or washing his socks. Davidson has joined the ranks of insecure men facing mid-life who leave wife and children to find reassurance from a younger woman. Davidson shouldn't believe his own press releases—it is apparent that Mr. Vanilla has melted.
Brenda Bennett
Tullahoma, Tenn.

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