I'm pleased to hear that Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson are bringing the intrepid Tintin to the big screen [It's Tintin Time! Oct. 31]. For a generation, the Tintin books were a delightful adrenaline rush and part of the ritual of growing up. The movie will perpetuate the legend of the boy reporter and the unforgettable cast of characters.
Vinod Gangadharan, BANGALORE, INDIA
When Spielberg was in Brussels for the world premiere of The Adventures of Tintin in October, he received a medal of honor from the Belgian state. I wondered what he'd done to deserve it, but now that I've read your cover story, I understand. Spielberg has made Belgians proud of a part of their culture worldwide. Thank you, Mr. Spielberg!
Patrick Anspach, BRUSSELS
Growing up, the Tintin books were my prized possessions. To me, Tintin became a smart and clever detective who could outdo any enemy and emerge victorious. Your article brought back innocent childhood memories of those adventures I always looked forward to reading. I hope the animated movie will live up to Tintin's legacy.
Isphanyar Bhandara, RAWALPINDI, PAKISTAN
Speak Up, Silent Majority
I was glad to read about Joe Klein's recent road trip through the heartland [Middle of the Road, Oct. 31]. Compared with last year's Tea Party enthusiasts, with their constant rants, this year's group was much more interested in civility and compromise. I hope politicians are getting the message: The time for holding your breath until you get your way is over. Grow up and share.
Abby Loberg, GRANBY, COLO., U.S.
I do hope the Silent Majority becomes more vocal at election time.
Jim Ballard, EAST LANSING, MICH., U.S.
To boldly go where few liberals and conservatives have gone before! Does the U.S. have the enterprise to do today what should have been done yesterday?
Michael G. Driver, ICHIHARA, JAPAN
Lessons from Japan
I don't understand why Michael Schuman writes in his Essay that "Europeans are attached to their welfare-state system even though it is burying them in debt" [The Japan Syndrome, Oct. 31]. Is he suggesting that attempts for equality of opportunity, including successes like universal health care and old-age pensions, should be omitted from the policies of European nations? If anything, the U.S. should learn from these countries to create a more equal welfare system.
Jack Hochschild, LONDON
Japan is faced with mounting problems, a massive public debt, an aging and shrinking population and, seemingly, a Prime Minister for every season. But to take one example, Schuman's contention that policymakers aren't doing enough to encourage consumer spending just doesn't add up; shopping is a national pastime in Japan. And as for the "perennial savers" perhaps the government could learn from the people and not the other way round. Japan certainly needs to adapt and change (processes that can take longer here), but its positioning and history of reinvention surely favor Japan in what is undoubtedly looking like the Asian century.
J.J. O'Donoghue, KYOTO
Not Quite So Simple
Millions would approve of Fareed Zakaria's tax-reform proposal as superior to Herman Cain's or others' [Complexity Equals Corruption, Oct. 31]. The concept of merging a simple flat tax with a three-tiered system to make it progressive (9% for the first 90% of Americans; 18% for the next 9%, whose incomes start at $150,000; and 27% for the top 1%, whose incomes start at around $500,000) is the keystone. Competitive corporate taxes without all the loopholes will spur growth. With all economic classes having some skin in the game, it is the path forward for our country.
William Krieg, EAST ROCHESTER, N.Y., U.S.
Zakaria wants to enact a 50% inheritance tax? The hard work, investment and long-term vision rather than obsession with quarterly profits by one generation to pass to the next is the foundation of American small business. Our economy is hurt if the next generation must buy the business back from the tax collector.
John Hein, TOMAHAWK, WIS., U.S.
Mind Your Manners
Re "Switzerland's Last Finishing School" [Oct. 31]: The Institut Villa Pierrefeu masquerades female stereotypes as "good manners." I'm sincerely pleased to read that it's the last of its kind in Switzerland.
Dorothy Touponce, LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND
I was pleasantly surprised to see Imran Khan featured in 10 Questions [Oct. 31]. He has a long way to go before he reaches the heights of the great leaders of the Indian subcontinent that he mentioned in his interview. But, as in cricket, Khan has been lucky with his leadership. I wish that his "killer instinct" works for him in politics also.
Amyn Lakhani, MOMBASA, KENYA