Letters from our readers.
Jan. 22 1999 3:30 AM

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Who's the Greatest?


Your article " GI Envy" is right on, Jacob Weisberg, to question the descriptive "greatest" in referring to the World War II generation. (I have no problem at all with it being used to describe Muhammad Ali.) I was born in 1937 and have been a student of my parents' and my generation since then. I thought Tom Brokaw's term was cute until I saw on television the gist of his conclusion--then I thought it was stupid and packaged for television. (Did he hear about Peter Jennings writing a book then rush to get one out first?) The World War II people won a war (two wars, one on each side of the world) then felt they had earned riches, comfort, a homogenous society, everlasting youthful looks, the right to never die, the right to never being questioned with the corresponding right to never being wrong, etc. You did a good job of starting the dialogue. There's a ton of good, commercial stories to be had in mining that way of thinking.

--Shannon Smith
Yakima, Wash.

Fathers of Vietnam

Re Jacob Weisberg's piece "GI Envy": Perhaps we should also remember that those "heroic GIs" are the ones who ensnared their country in Vietnam and sent the "boomers" into that superbly planned and managed conflict without the support of their country.


--David Zellman
Modesto, Calif.

Bravo, "Book Club"!

As a recent subscriber to Slate, I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed the Book Club exchange between Dana Gioia and James Wood as they reviewed contemporary poetry. How refreshing to have candor in a review instead of the usual (and predictable) empty praise that passes for criticism. This is a concept--and these are two critics--that you need to repeat often in the future in order for me to change from a trial to a regular subscription. I want more of this type of intelligent honesty in the criticism I read. Good show!

--Michael Peich
West Chester, Penn.

McGwire's Balls

The Jan. 13 " Today's Papers" mentions the amount of money Mark McGwire's 70th home run ball sold for and points out the difference between the two quoted numbers--$2.7 million in the Los Angeles Times and over $3 million by the other major papers. The difference is: The first is the amount that the lucky fan is going to get (prior to IRS inquiries), and the second number is the first number plus the auctioneer's fee. This is the amount on the check the new owner writes. So how much did it sell for? I'd say it was the second number. But if the story was about the bonanza to the fan, the first number is accurate.

--Paul Strasser
Louisville, Colo.