I am a defector from Romania, so I was very happy with the article on Mikhail Baryshnikov (PEOPLE, Dec. 16). There are only a few people who can truly understand the feelings of a defector before and after the actual act of defection. I have been in this country for almost three years and still find it hard to get used to all the wonderful freedoms. The story of White Nights touched me very much. It was almost like watching one of my nightmares on film. Maybe your article will help some Americans realize and appreciate the freedoms they are born with, the freedoms they have without having to fight for them and without having to leave their home country.
I was thrilled to see your cover story on Baryshnikov. His talents in dance and drama are unsurpassable. I was pleased to see the article written in his own words; this allowed the man behind the image to be exposed as a witty, caring and humble human being.
We're having some unusually cold weather here in Southern California, so I wanted to thank you for that torrid cover study of Baryshnikov. It warmed up our periodical section (and our librarians) for seven days!
Marlise K. Hanson
Chula Vista Public Library
Chula Vista, Calif.
I am extremely disappointed in your cover. I consider it to border on pornography. I am not a prude and uphold everyone's constitutional right to print and read whatever he or she pleases. The problem is that I have PEOPLE delivered and I do not appreciate having material of this kind coming into my home. Please keep PEOPLE a family magazine.
Gerald and Carol Fox
Your story on the Fox family is further proof that racists have never allowed logic to interfere with their thinking processes. A motorcycle gang moves out and a nice, quiet family of four moves in and the neighborhood is in an uproar because they are of mixed races. Seems to me they should be thrilled.
Mary Lins Shetler
I can remember looking at the picture of Oscar Lorick in the Sept. 30 issue and wanting to cry. Now, after reading the recent article, I did...tears of joy! Thanks, Mr. Argenbright!
As a professional archaeologist I am always interested in how novelists such as Jean Auel approach the prehistoric origins of humans. While I share her interest in making the average person aware "that our ancestors were not a bunch of savage, groping animals" and that there was a great deal of complexity and diversity in early human cultures, the opening paragraph of the article points out that Mrs. Auel's living room was filled with ancient flint arrowheads and aboriginal spears. If Mrs. Auel has any appreciation for the reconstruction of prehistoric cultures, she must know that these artifacts are irreplaceable cultural items extracted from their all-important prehistoric context. This information is needed by archaeologists to reconstruct the past. Stated simply, these are scientific specimens, not curios that should be displayed on living room walls. It is important to stress to your readers that the archaeological resources of this country, when found, should be brought to the attention of skilled professionals and should not end up as home decorations.
Philip J. Franz
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Mich.
We are in pretty bad shape when we allow a $90 automated bear to take the place of a good book, warm lap and soft voice. Some of my best memories and my love of books stem from story time with Christopher Robin, Alice, and Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy.
Stefanie Gray Livolsi
Corte Madera, Calif.
Pity parents with "no time" for their children. Pity these parents when one day their children have "no time" for them.
Farmington Hills, Mich.
Picks & Pans
Dear Ralph Novak, Don't you know by now that we Barry Manilow fans don't pay any attention to what you have to say about his music? And as far as comparing Frank Sinatra to Barry—the high point of Frank's concert in Tampa two years ago was seeing Barry walk in! By the way, we gals love that "romantic pap."
Please don't apologize for doing your job. I'm sure if you admitted liking two Manilow albums in a row, your credibility as a critic would be questioned by your peers. As long as your conscience is clear that you reviewed this record honestly and fairly, you have nothing to fear from the fans. We will continue to buy his music and rejoice in his new acting career. What we won't do is apologize for impugning your eardrums, ancestry and wiseacre writing style.
Well, Mr. Novak, if Shirley MacLaine's explanations of karma in Dancing in the Light are, as you say, "inhuman stupidity," what do you call your vicious and unprofessional attack on a subject matter that you are obviously too narrow-minded to explore?
New York City
I was amazed at Ralph Novak's attitude toward Shirley MacLaine's philosophy. I thought his type of archaic thinking went out with high-buckle shoes. I have a suggestion for Mr. Novak, "Enlighten up."
Santa Monica, Calif.
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