• U.S.

Letters: Aug. 27, 2001

6 minute read

The Most Spoiled Generation Ever?

“I was raised with good old-fashioned fear of authority, and if I did wrong, I’d have a fast meeting with my mother’s swatting hand!” KAREN H. DEPASS New Lenox, Ill.

We have a crisis with spoiled and overindulged children because they are being raised by spoiled and overindulged parents [SOCIETY, Aug. 6]. I am a baby boomer with two small boys. It saddens me to see my fellow boomers, who once turned their backs on mindless consumerism, jump feet first into the trough of rampant materialism. Parents should realize that to give their kids everything they want instead of just what they need is to sabotage their future. BILL WERNER Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Instead of providing a much needed substantive discussion of the changing relations of power and authority between adults and children, you provided us with a hollow piece of white, middle-class navel gazing. Children have clearly achieved a new, more empowered status as consumers, but you overstated the degree to which that has given kids the upper hand. More toys do not equal more power. In terms of politics, social policy and the institutions that directly affect and shape their lives, children continue to be relegated to the margins of social and political life. KYSA KOERNER HUBBARD Minneapolis, Minn.

Kids are like cars: If you can’t control them, you shouldn’t have them. Maybe it’s time to require parenting licenses. Firm, consistent and loving direction is as much the birthright of every child as are food and shelter. ALICE STEIN Tonawanda, N.Y.

When we grant our children their every whim, we fail to equip them to handle the hardships, disappointments and struggles of adult life. And to treat youngsters as full-fledged adults from the age of two is to rob them of a true childhood experience, which is essential in producing a well-adjusted adult. ROBERT KOLINSKI Hamtramck, Mich.

–Are they the most overindulged brats in history or the victims of a bum rap? Many of the young people who responded to our story felt they had been unfairly dissed. “How can parents blame us for being spoiled, when pop culture and advertising–created by adults–have targeted us as a market?” asked a Colorado teen. “You slapped negative labels on our entire generation,” complained a Californian. “None of my friends got a Mercedes for their 16th birthday. What we do have are the problems that the President is leaving for the future.” A Wisconsin high-schooler was more upbeat: “Rest easy, folks. The 95% of us who weren’t handed our lives on a silver platter will make sure your later years are prosperous and pleasant. Just keep the Cartier watch on layaway.”

Walking Away from Kyoto

You said President Bush believes the Kyoto treaty is “fatally flawed because it doesn’t require developing countries to limit their fossil-fuel use immediately, as it does industrialized countries,” and therefore he retreated from discussions in Bonn [NATION, Aug. 6]. Bush fails to acknowledge that most developing countries don’t have the resources to implement dramatic change in their fuel-use policies right away. The U.S. clearly does, however, and we must do so first and set the example for the world. We can’t expect the stretched economies of Third World countries to bear the burden of measures we are unwilling to take. SAMANTHA HARTER Miami Beach

The Republicans rejected higher fuel-economy standards in favor of increased oil production, including drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It seems they care only about the money that flows with the oil. BILL HAWLEY Findlay, Ohio

Follow the Dirt

Your article on the new Dallas stadium that was built on contaminated wasteland [BUSINESS, Aug. 6] said 15,000 huge truckloads of contaminated soil were carted away from the site. Who were the recipients of this “dirty” soil? WILLIAM C. MCGOWAN Wilson, N.C.

The soil now lies in two industrial-waste landfills not far from Dallas.

A World of Dung

I was surprised and disappointed by Molly Ivins’ article on Texas dairy farmers and the effect of cow manure on the central Texas water supply [VIEWPOINT, Aug. 6]. Ivins reported that Waco’s newspaper editor said Lake Waco is not fit for carp. The Environmental Protection Agency, however, does not agree and ranks Lake Waco 39th in overall water quality out of 111 Texas lakes. Moreover, her labeling Erath County dairies as “factory farms” seems inflammatory. All but a tiny fraction of the area’s dairy farms are family owned and operated. On our Erath County dairy farm, producing milk is a family affair, not a factory job. LEEANN ULICS MOOS Dublin, Texas

We know that overconcentration of livestock production can cause significant health and environmental problems. But Ivins provides provocative new data. If longhorn-loving Texans are complaining about cattle, something is not right. And if they think something Texan is too big, even if it’s a cow-manure problem, things are really out of hand. THOMAS BJORKMAN Romulus, N.Y. Lance’s High Road

Your account of Lance Armstrong’s victory in this year’s Tour de France was disappointing [SPORT, Aug. 6]. Those of us who passionately follow cycling know there is no desire to “posterize” the sport in the manner you suggested–to taunt opponents and revel in their weaknesses. Quite the opposite. This type of conduct is precisely what cyclists strive to keep from infecting our sport. At a time when other sports are filled with overpaid, trash-talking egoists who take every opportunity to besmirch their competitors, Armstrong’s motivation, work ethic and respect for his rivals show that he deserves to be a patron of the sport. MATT KREBSBACH San Francisco


In our story about President Bush’s lobbying efforts on the patients’ bill of rights [NATION, Aug. 6], we said Bush’s legislative liaison Nick Calio was out of town on the eve of the June 29 Senate vote on hmo reform. Calio was not out of town anytime in June.

Our Winners & Losers item on the failure of the Chicago-area Superior Bank [NOTEBOOK, Aug. 6] mistakenly referred to its being owned by the Pritzker family. While 50% of the bank belongs to the Pritzkers, the other half is owned by New York developer Alvin Dworman. Also, we said in error that taxpayers would be footing the bill for the estimated $500 million failure. The costs will be borne by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which is funded by assessments on the banking industry.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com