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Sir: What mythical audience in never-never land do you have in mind when you complain about today's opera or concert audiences in America? They always applaud, even at the worst performances. The candy-munchers to whom you recommend bananas? In the 18th century they could buy oranges, but they might use them as weapons against the tenor. The score readers? In the 19th century, before the practice began of lowering the house lights during performances, people read the newspaper between arias. The latecomers? A hundred years ago it was normal to come late. The early leavers? During performances, people used to visit each other noisily, and ogle box holders with opera glasses from the main floor.
Professor of English
Illinois Institute of Technology
Sir: Morris Chafetz's proposal to curb alcoholism by the introduction of a drinking course into our educational system [Jan. 21] is about as absurd as initiating a practice sex program at an all-male school or college in order to curb the divorce rate.
ROBERT BRUCE KIRK '69
Sir: Dr. Chafetz's proposal is the most sensible thing I've heard in a long time. Drinking as part of the school curriculum may or may not prevent alcoholism, but it will give students a chance to learn physical and emotional reactions to liquor.
MARGOT J. FROMER
New York City
Sir: In the article concerning my remarks made before the New York Academy of Science, you chose French drinkers as an example of a culture where drinking is introduced early. This was unfortunate, since the attitudes of the French and their use of alcohol are as unhealthy as those of Americans. A better choice for cultural examples would be Italy, China or Lebanon, where alcohol is introduced to the young, where drinking is matter-of-fact, where intoxication and its correlates are negatively sanctioned, and where drinking is common and alcohol problems are not.
MORRIS E. CHAFETZ, M.D.
Massachusetts General Hospital
Truth or Trash?
Sir: As a psychotherapist, I resent your distorted article on homosexuality [Jan. 21]. Though you correctly quote a few experts, it is dreadful of you to sneer, and foolish to elaborate Catholic and Talmudic trash about an issue that is more rightfully a problem of psychological understanding than moral dogma.
CLARENCE A. TRIPP
New York City
Sir: The writer concludes that, above all, there must be "no pretense" that homosexuality "is anything but a pernicious sickness." This question of whether it is a sickness has been the subject of a controversy among highly respected professionals for the past quarter of a century and, unfortunately, it cannot be solved by editorial fiat. It is regrettable that a magazine like TIME should choose to ignore this controversy and to give the false impression that only "homophile opinion" rejects the notion that homosexuals are sick.
Editor, Sexology Magazine
New York City