Losing sense of truth when mixing fantasy with history at...

Letters to the Editor

August 01, 1998

Losing sense of truth when mixing fantasy with history at parks

Bill Bishop's piece about make-believe vacations ("On vacation, give us make believe, not historic facts," July 28) connects with some disturbing trends in many other aspects of our culture. The struggle between truth/reality and lies/fantasy is ancient but has taken on more vast proportions in our day.

The public's hunger for entertainment keeps growing, and the interest in understanding truth or reality keeps shrinking.

While historical theme parks struggle to uphold historical accuracy, they cannot resist the pressure to entertain a public whose appetites seem to require ever-increasing levels of stimulation.

The ultimate competition to places like Williamsburg, Shakertown and Sturbridge Village is the holodeck on "Star Trek Voyager" -- a technological fantasy that the modern entertainment industry will undoubtedly find a way to realize in some form.

History as entertainment, in historical novels, in movies such as "Mississippi Burning," "JFK" and "Amistad," in which actual facts are distorted or ignored, is directly connected to the tendency of news to become a form of entertainment and to suffer distortion.

A public that loses its sense of the line between fantasy and reality is a public that can no longer distinguish between truth and lies.

We thus become a public that is susceptible to the manipulation of truth by invisible mouthpieces of corporations and government. It is a public that can be taken in by supposedly objective statistics generated by questionable studies of this or that social phenomenon.

The craving for entertainment becomes a readiness to accept a very fuzzy concept of what constitutes truth and reality. How long will it be before there are no truths available in any form, in any sector of our society?

Elizabeth Fixsen


Come clean about affair when in a legal proceeding

Certainly it is not unexpected, nor illegal, for one to lie about an extramarital affair to one's spouse, family, friends or associates. (Once the affair is found out, however, most people would own up to it.)

That dispensation ends when a person is hauled into a legal proceeding and asked about it under oath. That is the realm in which President Clinton has already testified and is accused of lying.

Dave Reich


Don't blame pet for allergy without a second opinion

Many years ago you printed an item by Baltimore's Samuel Morrison, a now-retired and well-known and respected authority on gastrology, in which he strongly suggested one should not hesitate to get a second medical opinion if a first opinion was disturbing.

His advice comes to mind when we hear of doctors who are stymied when pet owners complain about their allergies and learn there's a cat or dog in the family.

They too quickly recommend "getting rid of the pet." Given our pet population explosion, this is tantamount to a death sentence for the pet because there just aren't enough good homes for all available pets. There are remedies for allergies.

B. J. Small


Albright made wrong move with overtures to Iran

The article "Honeymoon may be over for Albright" (July 20), describing the inadequacies of Madeleine Albright as secretary of state, hit the nail on the head.

The comment that she is all style and no substance reflects a failed foreign policy that has emerged from the present administration. With considerable lack of foresight she has tried to cuddle up with the notorious terrorist regime in Iran, not only to be rebuffed but also to have within a few weeks Iran test a missile capable of hitting Israel and troops in Saudi Arabia.

This overture on the part of Ms. Albright was shocking in light of the evidence that Iran was behind the bombing of our military barracks in Saudi Arabia and a participant in the attack on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie.

If the policy of our State Department is to satisfy our commercial interests, then it has been successful. If, instead, it is supposed to represent the democratic values of our country, it has been an abysmal failure. It is high time that Ms. Albright be replaced in this most important office.

Nelson Marans

Silver Spring The volunteers at the World Lacrosse Championships at John Hopkins University deserve congratulations. The volunteers at the gate all appeared to be retired, pleasant and cheerful, and they assisted everybody with a friendly smile. They toiled in the hot sun for eight to 12 hours each day during the event.

But I saw security in the red shirts acting rude and obnoxious to spectators.

When one game ended, a couple of rambunctious men who appeared to be under the influence of alcohol began a scuffle.

The older volunteers and a couple of spectators quickly defused the situation. The security people were nowhere to be seen. We should be proud of the quick and mature actions of the volunteers for their quick and decisive actions. Younger people should look and be thankful we have still have role models.

Bob Walsh


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