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Harry Shearer

November 11, 1990

Harry Shearer's aim seems to be a little off (Man Bites Town, " 'A' Is for Awful," Sept. 16). If he had written an article entitled " 'B' is for Bureaucracy" that detailed the enormous administrative waste in large school districts, it would have been right on the mark. If he had devoted a column to condemning the L.A. school board for its preposterous leadership (their recent ban on cigarettes leaves us with the absurd prospect that the only thing to be found smoking in school is a gun), he would have merited some applause. But Harry clobbered the teachers instead.

Would Charles Dickens have been successful if he'd portrayed Bob Cratchit as the heavy? Would Upton Sinclair have won a Pulitzer Prize for blaming the workers for unsafe conditions in meat-packing plants?

Nevertheless, I will continue to support Shearer's right to be heard. His work can be quite useful. The next time one of my students comes up to me and asks why he should study history, I will hand him Shearer's column and say, "So you won't end up writing like this."

KEN LANDSMAN

Manhattan Beach

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