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'Dumbth' Article Hits Close to Home

January 28, 1990

In "Dumbth," (Times, Jan. 21) Steve Allen updates us on the demise of American smarts. I'm sure that we can all find examples in our daily lives of this serious and embarrassing cultural problem.

The other night in a Westwood bar I was chatting with a professional woman in the financial field. It was just days after the U.S. intervention in Panama, and I asked her if she was disturbed by the invasion.

She said yes, but then went on to say that she was more bothered by the fact that Noriega had been sending the letter bombs to the judges in Florida (confusing the situation with a completely unrelated story in Alabama). She must have had an extra drink when she read the newspapers.

And a UCLA journalism classmate, who happens to be from Switzerland, told me this week that she went shopping at Bullocks recently. She paid with her credit card from a Swiss bank. "Switzerland?" asked the teller, "what state is that in?"

In a country that can produce the best basketball players in the world, put a TV in every home and put people into space, can't we do better in educating ourselves about the world?

If not, what are we doing in Panama, anyway?

Or Florida, for that matter! And that's one I can't answer myself.

ANDREW LIBERMAN

Los Angeles

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