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Drawing The Heartless Expert

July 28, 1996

I am an artist. Some years ago I took a drawing class with a fabulous artist named Cutrow. As I got better and began to feel better about my work he approached me one day and said, "Be careful, Batya. Many artists discover a working formula and then stop being artists and become experts." I have been careful to remember those words and they popped up again when I read John Balzar's excellent review of "The Choice" by Bob Woodward (June 30).

The only thing Balzar did not say was that Woodward is no longer an artist but an expert. A Watergate expert or, rather, any "gate" expert. Instead of flood water, we get toilet flush. If anyone scratches, it is below the belt. Woodward's idea of collecting information is voyeurism. Lying under people's beds and peeping through keyholes. The problem with this kind of information is not just the morality of it but also the accuracy: What kind of picture do you get when you sit under the table and look at people's feet?

BATYA DAGAN

LOS ANGELES

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