Posted: January 02, 2000

Some other great inventions Thanks to The Inquirer for its thought-provoking editorial on inventions that shaped our lives in the 20th century (Inquirer, Dec. 26). I'd like to add the pairing of social justice with democracy. This led to better working conditions, some protection in times of unemployment, a more educated public, better health care, and more security in our old age.

The European democracies have nurtured social justice better in recent years than we Americans have, largely because democracy in the United States has been so weakened by the influence of big money. The good news, however, is that democracy is spreading worldwide, and along with it, hopefully, social justice.

Robert McMullin

King of Prussia

In all the writing on great inventions of the 20th century I've seen (Editorial, Dec. 26), no one has mentioned the electric guitar. This was Frank Zappa's choice, and I tend to agree. This powerful tool just might have done more to create a world culture than the airplane or even Disney.

Tom Schaffer


'A Parent's Wish' I read with interest Michael Vitez's series "A Parent's Wish" (Inquirer, Dec. 26-29). Four of my eight children have been living overseas, some as long as 15 years. Our family has benefited from their time overseas. We have visited Australia, Singapore, Ireland, Moscow, London, to name a few places. Currently, one is in Singapore, one is in Riga, Latvia, one is in Sydney, and one in London. There are a lot of pros and cons, but for our family it has been a rewarding and enjoyable experience.

Pat Querubin


The drama. The suspense. Would Michael Schmeltzer somehow make it home, so his mother could at long last reunite her family? Would he arrive at the scheduled time? Would Philadelphia-area cheerleaders get another two paragraphs to insist that, "As a region, we're on fire. On fire"?

It was these questions, among others, that kept me at the edge of my seat during the series "A Parent's Wish" (Inquirer, Dec. 26-29). Some of the others: If we're on fire, how come we need to be told so often? Had I missed something that would give this some importance, some weight? Four parts?

My wife's and my parents have managed to drag themselves through holiday after bleak holiday simply enjoying the company of those present and communing by phone with those not. I suspect my wife and I will do the same, feeling neither unfulfilled nor slighted by our children's travels and moves in pursuit of their own dreams.

Stephen R. Collins


Overlapping holidays I would like to commend Jane R. Eisner for her commentary about the problems involved in "overlapping holidays" (Inquirer, Dec. 19). She concisely addresses some of the greater issues that things like "Star of David tree ornaments" raise about our society. Most notably, Eisner observes that many Americans (both Jews and Christians) have lost sight of the original religious/cultural meaning that our sacred objects have been invested with. What does this say about the religious education of Americans in general? Can it really be that so many of us fail to realize the intellectual inconsistencies involved in appropriating the wreath as the symbol of Hanukkah?

Eisner has the courage to scream "yes" to this question at a time when most will probably criticize her for failing to get into the holiday spirit.

Jeff Brown

Mount Laurel

Simpsons comic strip Having just enjoyed most of the Dec. 19 comics, I have to ask about "The Simpsons": What were you thinking?

It presents, among other choice visuals, a mouse chopping off his own fingers with a meat cleaver, putting a burning, bloody stick through his ears, committing ritual disembowelment (with blood spatters, yet), and shoving a Christmas tree down a cat's throat and out its rear end.

Can we please, please, get this incredibly offensive garbage out of the paper? Thank you.

Vicki Ochocki

Blue Bell

The Dec. 19 installment of "The Simpsons" features two characters committing violent and disgusting acts upon themselves and each other. This was neither funny nor cutting edge. The editors should be ashamed of themselves for allowing garbage like this into the comic section. "The Simpsons" cartoon has got to go.

Paul Stratter

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