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“Political education,” “Grounded,” “On revision,” “Talking points,” “Benefits program,” “Mixed message,” “O’Connor remembered”
Re “The 100th Revisited” (Spring 2012): Seth Meehan’s account of the scramble by Boston College President Michael P. Walsh, SJ, to get a replacement for President John F. Kennedy as keynote speaker at the University’s 1963 centennial celebration was amusing to this reader, whose current view of Washington is of a sandbox occupied by political leaders who act like selfish brats throwing sand at each other. Washington was not a sandbox in 1963. But it did have woodsheds, and Walsh’s choice of Massachusetts Representative Tip O’Neill ’36, P’68,’72, to persuade Kennedy to accept bore fruit.
Meehan has written a tale of two great men. One was a young president who brought inspiration and hope to our nation. The other was a graduate of Boston College whose mission would be to keep Kennedy’s spirit of hope and fairness alive.
Thomas H. Alton ’80
Re “Clubland” by Thomas Cooper and Tim Czerwienski (Spring 2012): I was excited to see the picture of student EMTs preparing their first-response bags, more specifically their MERET first-response bags. I’m the founder and owner of that company and also a Boston College alumnus—with a master’s degree in geophysics. The analytical fundamentals I learned while I was at Boston College have carried me outside of my early world of dielectrics, stratigraphy, and three-dimensional hydrogeophysics.
Scott Decker, MS’00
Santa Ana, California
Re “Mixed Blessings,” William Bole’s account of professor Ruth Langer’s research into treatments of the Jewish prayer the Birkat HaMinim (Spring 2012): Prayer connects us to our creator—it is a time-honored bridge between the human and the divine. It is steeped in tradition, and its wording is considered more than just poetry or convenient expression of a moment. It is a heavenly inspired text, which was crafted and codified often to replace the spontaneous and private expressions that people of a bygone era could muster.
Any decision to censor, whether because of a governmental edict to limit thought or a self-imposed limitation to avoid social clashes, has consequences that go beyond a simple redaction. Jewish prayer has grown and evolved, but sections that still represent the active concerns of the people, especially people who constantly have to defend their faith and belief, should not be subject to any censorship in a free society, or sacrificed on the altar of political correctness.
Rabbi Daniel Rosen, MA’94
Teaneck, New Jersey
When did Boston College start using the term “Common Era”? I realize that the University is no longer the Catholic institution it once was. However, can you at least use the term “A.D.” in your publications? BC is well named.
George E. Malley, JD’90
West Roxbury, Massachusetts
Editor’s note: On this question, BCM follows the Chicago Manual of Style, which notes, “Choice of the era designation depends on tradition, academic discipline, or personal preference.” The article “Mixed Blessings” treats Jewish historical and theological themes, and therefore the Common Era designation is appropriate.
Re “What Right?” (Spring 2012), William Bole’s report on the April 18 panel discussion that focused on the federal government’s contraceptive insurance mandate: The panelists failed utterly by not explicitly rejecting the rhetoric of New York’s Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the bishop who has decided, without the support of the American Catholic laity, that contraception constitutes a breaking-point issue. Catholics have done better historically for themselves and for pluralistic democracy when working within the system, and Dolan’s brand of punditry threatens to endanger that tradition.
Matthew DeLuca ’11
New York, New York
There should be little doubt that the U.S. Council of Bishops is carrying out a plan to discredit the incumbent U.S. president. Does not this create a church-state conflict? Of course, it does!
Vito Tamboli ’56
Saint Louis, Missouri
Re “Runners’ World” by Tim Czerwienski (Spring 2012): Thank you for recognizing the efforts of the Campus School marathon team, a crucial branch of the Campus School Volunteers. The marathon team is the largest fundraiser for this undergraduate club, which annually raises more than $100,000 for the Campus School.
On Marathon day, Campus School families set up a cheering section at Boston College’s main gate at Linden Lane. Campus School marathoners are recognizable in their yellow marathon shirts (donated to the team by the Boston College Bookstore). Hundreds of Campus School marathoners reach their personal goal of finishing a marathon. In addition they create bonds with Campus School students and become part of a legacy.
Don Ricciato, Director
Sean Schofield, Volunteer Coordinator
Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
Re “Close-up: Holy Makeover!” by Thomas Christopher (Spring 2012): Although the general public may think that the “Immaculate Conception” refers to the conception of Jesus by the Holy Spirit, it is distressing to find this misinterpretation in a Boston College publication. Jesus was conceived at the time of the Annunciation, which the Church celebrates on March 25. Mary, the daughter of Anne and Joachim, was conceived naturally but without original sin; we celebrate this on December 8 (Feast of the Immaculate Conception). In the picture of St. Joseph (page 9), the angel Gabriel is telling him of Mary’s miraculous pregnancy, not her Immaculate Conception.
Department of romance languages
Editor’s note: This error was also reported by Vincent Gallagher ’67.
About 10 years ago, I was invited to contribute to a book of short tributes titled I Remember My Teacher. Thomas H. O’Connor ’49, MA’50, H’93, who passed away May 20 at age 89, came immediately to mind, and I recalled that while he specialized in teaching “the time between the revolution and the Civil War, he was proof that there is no dull period in history. . . . He brought Calhoun, Webster, Van Buren, Clay all to life. He taught me that history is not a dull and dusty thing, but full of life and rich in humor—like Thomas O’Connor himself.”
Martin Nolan ’61
San Francisco, California
- In fall 2010, BCM reported on a project by assistant professor of English Joseph Nugent to create an electronic guide to the Dublin of James Joyce’s Ulysses (“Bloom’s Way”). With the help of successive classes of Boston College undergraduates, Nugent produced an interactive, multimedia guide to both Ulysses and Dubliners that was launched as an iPhone app on June 14. Called JoyceWays, it contains historical and contemporary photos, video clips, and maps detailing more than 100 locations along the routes traveled by Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus. Details are available at www.joyceways.com.
- A 40-foot long replica of a section of the Berlin Wall that was created in 2009 by fine arts lecturer Mark Cooper and students to mark the 20th anniversary of the Wall’s demise (“Wall Space,” Fall 2009) has been re-erected in Northern Ireland as a peace memorial. Originally installed on the Dustbowl, the canvas and wood structure was moved to Strabane, a city much damaged during the Troubles, where local schoolchildren worked with area artists to add a new layer of art and commentary.
Corrections: In “Identification, Please” (Spring 2012) the man identified as John Tebnan in the lower right photo on page 18 was John E. Tevnan ’51, P’88. Our thanks to Richard Schrader, professor emeritus of English, for bringing this to our attention.
In Steve Pemberton’s autobiographical piece, “Marian’s Children” (Spring 2012), the newspaper cited in the caption on page 30 as the New Bedford Times Standard is the New Bedford Standard Times.
BCM welcomes letters from readers. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and must be signed to be published. Our fax number is (617) 552–2441; our e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.