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Steve Allen and the Cultural Decline

January 14, 1998

Thank you for "The Perennial Steve Allen" (Jan. 9) about one of our century's true renaissance men. However, you seem to have inadvertently proved Allen's point about the dumbing down of America, in labeling his nuanced political and social philosophies as "angry" and "conservative."

Surely, Steve Allen's concern about the decline of American culture in general and the current state of the entertainment industry in particular is well-founded. Does anyone (whatever his or her political inclination) deny that the average U.S. child spends way too much time in front of the television or that the corporate media is generally devoid of any intellectual content or challenge to the status quo?

Allen is saying that people need real food for their brains and souls, rather than an endless stream of mind candy. It's about quality, and I, a self-avowed progressive, totally agree with him.

MIKE GREENE, Tustin

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I read your account of Steve Allen's views on the dumbing down of American culture on the same day as Sonny Bono's funeral seemed to be universally televised live.

While neither I, nor Allen, I am sure, would wish Bono ill, this misdirection of attention is just the latest to make me wonder what the cost is of the media's increasing preoccupation with celebrity.

DENA SCHULMAN, Canoga Park

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