To those who would condemn Vanessa Williams (PEOPLE, Aug. 6) I say remember the words of Jesus Christ when he was asked to judge the woman caught in adultery: "Let him who is without sin among you cast the first stone."
Miss Vermont 1956
The Miss America Pageant herds young women about like prize cattle, but when their blue-ribbon cow appears in another fair, they turn her into hamburger.
Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Have all the people supporting Vanessa Williams seen the actual pictures in which she appears? God help us all if they still support her after having seen them. I don't buy her story for a second.
Marie P. Wade
Does Vanessa Williams really expect us to believe that a magazine the size of Penthouse, whose survival depends on the publication of nude women, is going to risk printing her photos without her consent? The editors can't be that stupid—after all, they did make an extra $4 million on that issue.
Come on, Vanessa, you've exploited the Pageant, disgraced the Miss America title and let down a lot of young girls. Don't insult our intelligence too.
Woodland Hills, Calif.
When I was 19, I thought most things were immoral, dirty or a sin of the highest order. Vanessa Williams obviously had a healthier attitude. It's true that I would never have done what she did, but I was never proud of my body. Then again, I was never asked to pose, naked or otherwise. The class she has shown through this overblown incident is commendable.
I find it ironic that when Vanessa Williams was crowned the first black Miss America, you saw fit to relinquish only a tiny corner of your magazine cover to her. Now, on the occasion of her traumatic and humiliating dethroning, you emblazon her across a full page.
Joyce L. Weiss
Ann Arbor, Mich.
How I wish my 17-year-old daughter, an eighth-grade dropout, had been lucky enough to have a teacher like Madeline Duncan, the woman who failed her first grade class. Instead she is the product of a school system that did not recognize immaturity as a valid reason to hold a student back. As a result she was always an unhappy child who felt herself a failure because she couldn't keep up with her age group. Today she is unable to find a job.
Coral Springs, Fla.
The story of Mrs. Duncan's failing her entire class reminded me of my own first-grade experience. I had trouble paying attention, since I had trouble knowing what was going on, due to my dyslexia. A young, unconventional teacher sought help for me from a special-education expert rather than punishment. Last year, at 23, I received my M.S. in physics from Purdue. The idealism of the 1960s saved my life. If I had been in Mrs. Duncan's class, I'd probably still be in first grade today.
Scott A. Imhoff
Glen Burnie, Md.
Madeline Duncan should be commended for her courageous stand. However, it's a shame that such a positive act had to be carried out in such a negative manner. Every year in our school, after kindergarten, about 15 would-be first graders are placed in the transition classroom because they are developmentally unready. After a year of individualized diagnostic and prescriptive instruction and play, they go into the regular first grade. The class is an excellent way to deal with today's hurried children.
Thank God that people can now be open about their problems and seek help. If there had been a Betty Ford Center years ago, Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe might still be alive. Liza Minnelli has brought joy to millions, and we hope for her recovery.
Your story on Liza Minnelli was filled with comments from nameless "friends" and "acquaintances." It seems superstars are always surrounded by such people who snicker behind their backs. "Just like her mother" is what they love to say about Liza. She is just like her mother—warm, generous and brilliantly talented.
New York City
Finally an article on my son's favorite cartoonist, Berke Breathed, but you forgot to ask the big question: How does he pronounce his last name? Is it the past tense of breathe? Does it rhyme with great dead? With meat-head? There are many possibilities.
Linda Gramatky Smith
Old Lyme, Conn.
Good question. Berke says Breathed rhymes with method.—ED.
Your article on Gremlins (PEOPLE, July 30) was terrific! However, you failed to mention all the voice-over actors besides Howie Mandel and Frank Welker who supplied the rest of the creatures' cackles and cacas. They are myself, Fred Newman, Mark Dodson, Michael Winslow, Peter Cullen, Michael Sheehan and Bob Holt.
Bob S. Berger