Letters | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian
Current Issue
September 2014  magazine cover
Subscribe

Save 81% off the newsstand price!

Letters

Readers Respond to the April Issue

Smithsonian Magazine | Subscribe

Bad Breeding
I found “The Best Bull Ever?” to be a perfect description of how perverse the American system of beef production has become. With cows wearing progesterone vaginal plugs and being “overstimulated,” most likely with more hormones, to produce 25 embryos a year, I (and some health experts) wonder if that’s why American girls are reaching puberty at younger ages and may be at increased risk for hormone-dependent cancers in the future. The irony is that the best bull ever represents not a sentient animal, but the ultimate in marbled meat—muscle laden with saturated fat that may lead to obesity, heart disease, diabetes and a shortened life span. The perversion is that this cowboy makes money from disregarding animals’ lives to make a product that is unhealthy for the people who consume them.
Mary Barrett
Palmer, Alaska

Curiouser and Curiouser
As an attorney, I think “Unusual Suspect,” by Jenny Woolf, did a good job of documenting the modern-day habit of judging or casting spurious allegations based on hearsay and innuendoes. I agree that the photographs taken by Charles Dodgson, a.k.a. Lewis Carroll, were in vogue in the Victorian society of his day and did not condemn him. All the “suspicions” about his behavior arose several decades after his demise, coming from pseudo-scholars looking to make a name or a quick profit. Dodgson, unfortunately, cannot defend himself, and to smear his reputation in such a manner is unpardonable.
Jason Levi
Northridge, California

NASA Seamstress
gene kranz indeed became a symbol of success at NASA [“Dressed for Success”], thanks in part to his wife, Marta, who created the signature vest he wore at Mission Control, notably during the troubled Apollo 13 flight. The photographs of Mr. Kranz and actor Ed Harris, who played him in the movie Apollo 13, were welcome, but since the article was about Marta Kranz’s contribution to Amer-ican history, why was there no picture of her?
Stephen and Patricia Klein
Forest Hills, New York

Good question. See our answer above.—Ed.

Unsung Genius
Amanda Bensen raises interesting questions about the origins of color photography [“Hue and Cries”]. She reports that the 19th-century pioneering photographer Levi Hill never got the patent he sought for color processing and that he turned his back on photography after the death of his wife and research partner, Emmeline. I suspect that Mrs. Hill may have been the real brains, and that there was no way Levi Hill could duplicate her work after she died.
John Cornell
Monroe, New York

Jefferson’s Mammoth
We read “All-American Monsters,” by Richard Conniff, with great interest here at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. In early 2009, construction crews unearthed the skull, tusk and other bones of a 300,000-year-old Columbian mammoth on the site of our new downtown campus. It was a very significant find for our region. Lewis and Clark did not find any living mammoths, as Jefferson had hoped they would when he sent them on their expedition, but we think Jefferson would be proud to have mammoth fossils discovered at the law school named in his honor.
Rudy Hasl
San Diego, California

Hasl is dean of the law school.—Ed.

Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus