THE GREAT LEVELER
It is regrettable that the standard of letters you publish has approached, and in some cases overtaken, the levels of journalism generally purveyed by your esteemed organ. Exhume Charles II and bury Rick Dees and his ilk.
The Rick Dees story takes a royal twist, see Page 75. LAWRENCE J. PIPPICK
To refer to Edward VI's sister Mary as a half-wit and thusly the cause of Lady Jane Grey being placed on the English throne for nine days is historical ignorance beyond comprehension ("Nunn's Story: A Challenge in 'Lady Jane,' " by Barbara Lovenheim, Feb. 17).
For the first 12 years of her life Mary Tudor was the putative heir to the English throne. She was educated from her earliest days to fill that position, being fluent in Latin, Greek, French as well as being able to discourse learnedly on religion, philosophy and the musical arts. She was praised by all the chroniclers of the time for her intelligence and precocity.
Now an Englishman is directing a film based on her half-wittedness? A pox on you, Trevor Nunn, and for shame, Barbara Lovenheim--Faugh, back to your history books and stand in the corner whilst you do so.
Please assure me that The Times did not pay Lovenheim for that lamentable effort.
If she was paid, I hope she has the integrity to return the money after seeing her words in print. To dismiss any of T.S. Eliot's poetry as "isolated" demonstrates consummate gall. To describe "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" as ". . . poems about some down-and-out opossums" shows abysmal ignorance.
Surely The Times can engage writers with greater skills than poor, pathetic, misinformed and ill-informed Lovenheim.
Ye gods, she even had the number of poems wrong!
Dan Sullivan's "Playwright vs. Director: Who Has the Last Word" (Feb. 10) disturbingly suggests that the mendacious auteur malignancy in film now might be insinuating itself into the playwright, from whom all blessings flow.
Though the Dramatists Guild protects a writer, some playwrights, so desperate to be produced, willingly relinquish their work and their vision, allowing it to be corrupted, distorted, diminished and an entirely new vision--that of the director's--to be imposed.
A director, like an actor, is an interpretive artist. Both are there to serve the work, not to have the work serve them. This is not to say directors and actors aren't, in their interpretive skills, creative.
But there is only one creator and that is the writer. Without him, both actor and director would not only be out of a job, but also no longer have any justifiable excuse for existing at all.
Poor crabby Martin Bernheimer. It is apparent from his reviews that there isn't much in this world that he likes, but he has a nice astringent style that makes his reviews fun to read, no matter how predictable they are.
So what happened to his review of Bejart Ballet ("Bejart Retrospective Honors the Vulgar," Feb. 14)? Such an extended, querulous whine, without even the usual leavening of wit!
How anyone capable of writing the phrase "he avoids good taste as if it were a dying, decaying, contaminated swan" can call anyone else vulgar is beyond me. Yes, the performances were vulgar, sensuous and (oh, horrors!) frequently even funny ! So what? The same adjectives apply to Bernheimer's best reviews.
We must not lose sight of the fact that dance is a form of entertainment. I was royally entertained by a great smorgasbord of music, costume, all manner of athletic bounding about, comedy, flying sweat, who knows what all. It was a rousing good time, and I hope Mr. Bejart comes back soon.
I also hope that Bernheimer recovers soon from his dyspepsia or whatever is troubling him.
Please, I beg of you. Send Martin Bernheimer to no more ballets if the companies contain any men. Confine him to the aural arts exclusively.
Spare us all further exposure to his curdled homophobic mutterings as displayed in his lengthy, personal and very petty grousings regarding the Bejart company.
GEORGE P. ERENGIS
SEE SPOT SCHLEP Like fine Swiss timing, Paolo, the little dog, brings in the Sunday paper.
WHAM!--GRAM For God's sakes, give Wham! a break ("Wham!Give Screamers an Earful,", by Richard Cromelin, Feb. 6).
Apparently, Cromelin and 99% of all other rock critics do not understand the role and purpose of a group such as Wham! They are not supposed to be heavyweight musicians. They are not supposed to convey a "message."
Instead, they aim to be sheer entertainment for teen-age girls and for anyone else who likes to hum a catchy melody and sing along to words that they can clearly understand. At this, Wham! is very successful.
What's wrong with a group that delivers?