Letters to the editor of the Boston Globe Magazine

Readers share their thoughts on a quiet car dustup, sisterly bonds, exercise excuses, and more.


I was surprised at Miss Conduct’s answer regarding the talker in the quiet car (January 7). There is a reason it is called the quiet car: Conversation is to be at an absolute minimum and, if necessary, in the quietest tone possible. When you cough deliberately, you are just being rude. When I lived in Connecticut and commuted into New York City, people who were consistently conversing in the quiet car were told by the conductor to either be quiet or move to another car. Miss Conduct’s remarks should have been directed to the disturber.

Maria P. Jordan / Lawrence

I absolutely disagree with Miss Conduct’s response. The quiet car deserves to be as billed. For one passenger to goad and taunt another for asking that the car be held to its name is unfair. I would enlist the help of the conductor.

Joanna Ross


Tiverton, Rhode Island


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How lovely an image: Grown women with heads on seat-backs gazing at the heavens (“Sisters From Different Planets,” January 7). Whatever life we pursue, if we’re lucky, we hold on to the piece of our hearts written “sister.” Thanks for this sweetheart of a piece.

Marijean Lauzier / Boston

The great humor pulled me in, and then the writer surprised with a philosophical twist. Really nice piece!

Max Gold / Los Angeles, California



Another misconception (“Your Gym Excuses Demolished. Work Out.” January 7) would be: You need a fancy place to work out. If you have decided that this is the way for you, I would suggest your local YMCA. They offer a variety of classes and equipment, have knowledgeable staff, service a broad clientele, and the price is right.

Karen McGoldrick / Danvers

People who pass up on having an athletic life have no idea what they’re missing. Absolutely everything is better, including your outlook on life. If you’re physically able, whatever is stopping you from exercise isn’t worth it.


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After the Globe’s excellent series on race in Boston, were there really no new restaurants to review in Roxbury, Dorchester, or Mattapan (“2017 Best of the New,” January 14)?


Susan Stockard / Cambridge


Thanks to Steve Almond for his excellent article [“Anybody Can Make It in America (and Other Lies Told by the Rich)” January 14]. As our nation experiences the turmoil of our current inept, divisive, and self-serving administration, we ask ourselves what it means to be an American. With Almond’s clear-eyed view of the past, he brings the answer into sharp focus.

Martha Kennedy / Milton

Steve Almond should immediately relocate to Cuba where his beliefs will certainly fit in!

Thomas McCabe / Plymouth

Government has indeed contributed significantly to economic inequality in the United States, but reversing “antidemocratic measures” will require more than criticizing the political power of the wealthy. There is another powerful lie that reinforces the power of the rich: “laissez-faire.” Adam Smith’s formula for capitalism was “equality, liberty and justice.” Note that he did not put liberty first. Smith was also a harsh critic of the political power of the wealthy. And he argued for diffusing opulence to the lowest ranks of the people.

John E. Hill / Quincy

The GOP and our current plutocrat-in-chief, who no doubt “possesses more than he earned,” could not have come to power without significant help from lower middle and working class voters. Pollsters and political scientists continue to study and analyze why this segment of the population would pull the lever for a party that continues to put forth policy that is contrary to their economic interest. As author Thomas Frank has said, it is “like a French Revolution in reverse — one in which the sans-culottes pour down the streets demanding more power for the aristocracy.”

Michael O’Donnell


Anyone that works hard, has moral values, strives to be his or her best, can make it. Are you going to be Warren Buffett? Probably not. This country was built on hard work, high morals, honesty and being legal immigrants.

Frank Healey

Hampton, New Hampshire

This essay is right on the money. James Madison, the principal architect of the Constitution, was very clear about how and why he and the other 54 men who constructed the Constitution did as they did. In Number 10 of The Federalist Papers, Madison explains their major concern was protecting the property rights of the wealthy. During the Constitutional Convention, he spoke of protecting the “minority of the opulent against the majority.”

Len Solo / Marlborough

Wealth inequity exists for three reasons: Some people are more productive than others (they work harder); some people are more creative than others (they innovate in some way); and some people are luckier than others (either genetically, through accident of birth, or through winning actual lotteries). None is “unfair” since they are either open to everyone or beyond the control of anyone. Only the last group can be construed as “possessing more than they have earned.” I am not advocating for my own benefit: I work a blue collar job, don’t have any expectation of a seven-figure inheritance, ever, and live in the city with the second-highest poverty rate in the state.

Chris McAdam / Lawrence

CONTACT US: Write to or The Globe Magazine/Comments, 1 Exchange Place, Suite 201, Boston, MA 02109-2132. Comments are subject to editing.