Letters | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian

Letters

Readers Respond to the November Issue

Smithsonian Magazine | Subscribe

Pico Iyer's “The Great Wide Open” took me back to the time I once spent in Alaska and made me recall the quality of the air—so clean and fresh you could almost bite it.
George Olsen
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Out of Fashion
I was starting to enjoy “The Great Wide Open” until I turned the page and saw an image of a woman wearing a lynx fur hat. I had always believed that cherishing Nature's beauty also meant loving the wildlife that is an integral part of it.
Robin Ching
Kapolei, Hawaii

Bad Timing
On Veterans Day I sat down to read “The Battle of Arlington.” I felt it expressed more sympathy for the struggle of Gen. Robert E. Lee's family to hold onto the Arlington property than for what the property has come to symbolize. It seemed a slap in the face of the current “residents” of Arlington National Cemetery who have given so much more to this country than the Lee family ever has. The timing was not appreciated.
Matt Lungaro
New Lenox, Illinois

Robert M. Poole's November article about Robert E. Lee's house on Arlington Heights was exceptional.
Pat Sullivan
Colleyville, Texas

Picturing Pollock
Henry Adams' discovery of Jackson Pollock's name hidden in the brush-strokes of Mural ["Decoding Jackson Pollock"] is an example of pareidolia, a psychological phenomenon involving a vague random image being perceived as significant. He says no one has claimed to see Pollock's name in the painting before. This is because the name is not in the painting. It is in Mr. Adams' head.
Owen Findsen
Cincinnati, Ohio

In support of his own theory about Jackson Pollock's name in Mural, Adams said Pollock wanted Mural to be like a Thomas Hart Benton work, but that he, Pollock, needed to do something different. Well, Benton often drew his own portrait in his murals, and Pollock, using his talent in his own way, probably decided to paint his abstract self-portrait in the characters of his name in Mural.
Robin Brady
Silver Spring, Maryland

Corrections:
In the Alaska story, the author suggests he flew above 20,300-foot-high Denali in an open-door plane. He did not fly that high. The story also states that the Aleutian Islands cross the International Date Line; they cross the 180th meridian. The photograph of prairie dogs on page 3 was incorrectly attributed. It was taken by Morgan Heim.

Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus