Double the fun
As Geoff Edgers suggests in his story about the MFA’s new contemporary wing and the ICA (“Double Visions,” October 16), a smaller contemporary art museum may not have the resources and “gravitas” of a comprehensive fine arts museum. However, contemporary art museums can deal better with truly avant-garde installations that might prove too upsetting to be mounted in the larger institutions. Part of the entertainment of contemporary art museums is their ability to make me gasp and then think when the exhibits push the envelope. Ed Kienholz and Andres Serrano are just two artists who come to mind for works that were so controversial when mounted in larger public museums that censorship issues arose. Smaller museums, such as the ICA, do not encounter the same outcry.
Jeffrey Kaufman / Longmeadow
I am more and more distressed by the people who choose to take part in Dinner With Cupid. They appear to be uniformly shallow, quick to write someone off on a first meeting if there were “no sparks” (the young woman in the October 16 column was overly concerned that her date was not taller than she). They don’t seem to get that it takes time to build a relationship and to get to know someone. The post-mortem comments all seem to stress looks or physical attraction, even when the couple appear to have had a lot in common. It is a sad commentary on today’s world and the maturity of the couples – young and not so young – involved.
Libby Miller / Eliot, Maine
In “The Hidden Costs of Choice” (Perspective, October 16), Kent Greenfield argues that the freedom to do whatever we want without suffering the consequences cannot exist in a free and just society. Greenfield’s explanation of this idea is the best one I’ve read. Taking responsibility for buying health insurance and wearing a motorcycle helmet (to use Greenfield’s examples) is our price, privilege, and responsibility if we want to remain members of society. When people use a public restroom, take a drink from a public fountain, or visit a soup kitchen that receives public funds, they are taking advantage of society without paying their share. Yet Greenfield is also right when he says society must help those who have failed to provide responsibly for themselves as well as those who faultlessly suffer. We are all a step away from the devastating accidents of life.
Mary Lynch Mobilia / Sharon
Hurray for teachers
Phil Primack’s October 9 Perspective essay “What Makes a Great Teacher?” echoes the qualities identified by my students in the Accelerated Post-Baccalaureate Program for those seeking initial teacher licensure in Massachusetts. A few days before the piece appeared, I asked my students to write a paper about their most effective teacher. They identified the same qualities that Primack did in his description of Dante Ippolito: teaching for understanding, connecting new learning to students’ daily lives, tapping students’ critical thinking skills by asking provocative questions, encouraging students with meaningful comments on their written work, maintaining high expectations, keeping classroom momentum, building relationships, and caring. These are traits of a teacher who is dedicated to the learning process. Skillful teachers are unsung heroes. It is time to praise them. Thank you for doing so.
Phyllis Gimbel / Assistant Coordinator, Writing Across the Curriculum, Bridgewater State University
Dante and I worked together at St. James School in Haverhill when it first opened as a public school. We had many inner-city youngsters who came from very difficult backgrounds, and he treated them with great respect and dignity. He established fair and challenging standards, and they responded nicely. I learned a great deal from him and thoroughly enjoyed a great relationship.
Thomas Behan / Haverhill
Every child should have a Mr. Ippolito at least once in his or her school career. He has an integrity and passion and insight that can’t be taught in teacher-training courses. It’s something you simply possess naturally.
Taylor Rubbins / Melrose
It’s all well and good that Howard Scott and his wife are satisfied with the volatile dynamic of their relationship (Coupling, October 16). However, I would be willing to bet that their verbal sparring has caused discomfort to those around them. To the couple, I say: Look around at your friends and family next time you are involved in one of your sessions. See the pained looks on their faces as they are forced to witness your “discussions”? May the Scott marriage continue to thrive, but please, for the sake of family, friends and neighbors, tone it down or keep it behind closed doors.
Sue Goodale / South Easton
Table for one
It feels as if Gwen Romagnoli’s essay about her late husband (Coupling, September 18) was written for me. Even after seven years without my spouse, I have the same feelings and thoughts as she. Life changes and we go on. Yet that absence is always there, like a hole in one’s heart that never really heals. Thank you to Romagnoli for expressing her thoughts – ones that resonate with my own – so beautifully.
Betsy Germanotta / Cambridge
It’s been 15 years since my husband, John, passed away, and Romagnoli’s essay touched me. I find my rituals comforting and respectful, my divergences from them equally inspiring. It takes time to move through the process. I trust Franco will walk Romagnoli through it just as John did me.
Carol Borselle / Oak Bluffs