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Letters: Jan. 26, 1998

7 minute read
TIME

MAN OF THE YEAR

I always look forward to seeing your pick for Man of the Year [Dec. 29-Jan. 5], but I can’t remember ever having such a good feeling about your selection. The story of Intel’s Andrew Grove could easily be turned into a Spielberg movie about overcoming adversity and achieving the American Dream. Great choice! BOB JACOBSON Eden Prairie, Minn.

Why do so many people unquestioningly worship Grove’s achievements? Sure, his personal history is thrilling, but what he and his fellow technopolists have done is speed up the world past the point of human comprehension. DAVID DRUMMOND Seattle

Your Man-of-the-Year winners have ranged from the patently inept (Wallis Warfield Simpson, 1936) to the truly inspired (Martin Luther King Jr., ’63). As has happened many times before in this century, science has provided the stage and a worthy player has claimed a starring role. Grove clearly merits notice for his drive, intelligence and that most American element, luck. HARRY PUNCEC Lakewood, Colo.

Where but in America could the story of Grove’s accomplishments have been written? This inspirational piece should be required reading for schoolchildren, committed pessimists and all who are looking for a hero or a role model. Only in America! RAY PANTUSO Doylestown, Pa.

You reported Grove’s view that technology is not good or bad, it just happens. That may be a reflection of society, but I’m still naive enough to want heroes. I want leaders to proclaim that if used wisely, this technology can provide one of the seminal moments in human evolution. The printing press, radio and television all come to mind as precursors of this revolution. Perhaps Grove has made his goals clear simply in his involvement with Intel, but if he has a view that reaches beyond our limited horizons, how I wish he had shared it with us. EVAN RHODES Bay Point, Fla.

The microchip has changed the world, but do we know what the long-term consequences will be? Like the programming changes needed to adjust computers to the year 2000, unexpected difficulties lie ahead of us. As has been pointed out by anthropologists, the tools we use to shape the world shape us reciprocally. Computer programmers have not taken this into account. The results will be a modern Tower of Babel: an avalanche of improperly understood information producing increasingly serious errors, messed-up minds and even economic catastrophe. DAISY SWADESH Farmington, N.M.

You said every schoolchild should have a personal computer. I disagree. What is needed is access to and training in how to use a PC. For many, owning the hardware would only lead to more game playing. Access to computers before, during and after school hours, perhaps at public libraries or rec centers, would enrich children of every economic level and benefit society at large. But youngsters must learn how to use the hardware and software for learning and for doing research–not just for getting facts. Does this mean hardware alone won’t do the job? Yep. Trained and dedicated teachers will once again be the key. DOLLY ZIEGLER Towson, Md.

Grove’s life appears to be intricately linked to that of TIME’s 1956 Man of the Year, the Hungarian Freedom Fighter. This connection, over the span of four decades, illustrates quite well how momentous past events in Europe are directly related to current American innovation and prosperity. MARK GERSTEIN New Haven, Conn.

As a Cuban American and naturalized U.S. citizen, I was very happy that Grove was TIME’s choice. A virtual unknown to most people, this man is a clear symbol of success for every refugee who comes to the U.S. with a sincere desire to succeed through ingenuity and hard work. I admire his quick assimilation into American society by changing his name from the Hungarian Andras Grof to Andrew Grove, learning the language and contributing so much to our country and the world’s technology. JAY M. CASTANO Washington

Andrew Grove’s genius is the result of superior intellect, discipline and the fulfillment of opportunities available in the U.S. A heart-wrenching question, never to be answered, is how many Albert Einsteins, Arthur Rubinsteins and other Andrew Groves has the world been deprived of by the Nazis’ slaughter of Jews during World War II? SID SKOLNIK West Hollywood, Calif.

Grove believes “only the paranoid survive.” My dictionary defines paranoia as a chronic mental disorder characterized by delusions of persecution and of one’s own greatness. Poor Grove. He would have us believe that our competitive free-enterprise system works only if one is emotionally sick. ROBERT ROSS Hendersonville, N.C.

PEOPLE WHO SHAPED 1997

I was surprised that Mother Teresa wasn’t recognized as one of those who made history last year [Dec. 29-Jan. 5]. Surely she contributed more to this world than Princess Diana and U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. A lady of leisure who spent her short life with royal jokers and playboys is hailed as one who shaped 1997? And a human being who tirelessly spent her entire life tending to the destitute doesn’t warrant any mention? That omission makes me wonder where we are headed. SAM SWAMINATHAN Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Princess Diana was the personality of the year, if not the decade. She and 1997 will go down in history. ASHER NOOR Karachi

GAY COUPLES CAN ADOPT

New Jersey’s decision to allow gay couples to adopt jointly [NATION, Dec. 29-Jan. 5] was called “another effort by the homosexual lobby to advance their agenda” by a spokesman for the Christian Coalition. The real agenda of proud adoptive papas Jon Holden and Michael Galluccio is to provide two-year-old Adam with a loving home–exactly what the dedicated couple have been doing as foster parents since Adam was a cocaine-addicted infant. What could be more Christian than that? How odd that in 1997 the religious right insists that the Ozzie and Harriet family of the 1950s is the only viable one. SCOTT SEOMIN Los Angeles

If the Christian Coalition spent as much effort encouraging love among us as it does discouraging it, we might have less violence. Little Adam has got to be better off being loved by his two fathers than being in an orphanage. JOHN GAITSKILL Park Forest, Ill.

Kids raised by committed gay couples compare favorably with their peers brought up in unbroken “straight” households. There are far more children looking for adoptive parents than people willing to adopt. Adoption officials have to deal with reality. Their options, when considering the best interests of each child, should not be limited by pie-in-the-sky delusions. WILLIAM C. STOSINE Iowa City

BATTLING THE DEMONS

Comic Chris Farley was no suffering fool, as your headline said [NATION, Dec. 29-Jan. 5]. He was a man who made me and thousands of others laugh at his high jinks. You quoted Saturday Night Live cast member Rob Schneider as saying that Farley “didn’t love himself.” I disagree. Although I did not know Farley personally, I believe the joy he brought to others is love itself. We all have good angels and bad angels. The bad angels took Farley flying off to heaven laughing. WALTER BUITRAGO Hollywood

A STUDY GUIDE TO AMISTAD

The piece “Amistad is important. Discuss” distorted the facts about the study guide my company developed for the film Amistad [ESSAY, Dec. 29-Jan. 5]. The guide was written not by publicists but by editors of this company, which has almost 20 years’ experience in creating classroom materials. It was designed as a supplement to–not a substitute for–the social studies curriculum. We ask students to explore the difference between historical drama and historical scholarship and include a comprehensive bibliography. The response from educators has been overwhelmingly positive. DOMINIC KINSLEY, Editor in Chief Lifetime Learning Systems Stamford, Conn.

FULFILLING ITS MANDATE

Your report on the investigation into the crash of TWA Flight 800 [NATION, Dec. 22] referred to the Federal Aviation Administration’s “sometimes contradictory mandate [which] requires it to tend both the airline industry’s safety and its financial health.” The FAA has not had a “dual mandate” since October 1996, when legislation stripping that anachronism took effect. The FAA is not responsible for the financial state of the aviation industry, and financial concerns were not a factor in the safety actions the agency took following the TWA crash. ELIOT BRENNER, Assistant Administrator for Public Affairs Federal Aviation Administration Washington

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