say you can’t argue taste and I wholeheartedly agree. However,
when I read Laura Leon’s review of The Reader [“Bedtime
Stories,” Jan. 8], I was having a hard time reconciling it
with what I had seen on the screen the night before. Far be
it for me to speculate about who’s right or wrong for liking
something purely on aesthetics, but there are some fundamental
insights that it seems Mrs. Leon missed out on in this film.
The most important aspect of The Reader is not whether
literacy is a virtue, or the characters’ sexuality, but the
universal theme of loving an individual, who reveals a critical
flaw within themselves. Michael Berg’s inaction and distance
toward [Hanna] are manifestations of the terrible conflict
he finds himself in, especially upon realizing that Hanna
is reluctant to address (to herself, much less to him) what
he finds deeply disturbing about her past. This is not a coming-of-age
story, so much as it raises questions about authority of judgment,
revelations about those close to us, whether love can be deserved
and, ultimately, what it takes to know yourself.
May I recommend an excellent Charlie Rose interview with the
author of the original novel, David Schlink, in which he discusses
his own motivation and thinking behind The Reader,
the book. Perhaps your readers, who have not yet seen the
film, might find the author’s take helpful.
Geurin’s article about the “toy safety” legislation [“Toybox
Outlaws,” Jan 29], does a good job exposing the devastating
economic impact of this insane overregulation. In the name
of protecting our children we will be putting retailers out
of business, destroying jobs, limiting consumer choices, making
products more costly, and wastefully filling landfills with
useable goods. And this at the very time when our economy
is already in deep trouble. We need this right now like a
hole in the head.
What is missing, however, is a discussion of the justification
for this legislation—or rather, its lack. The putative purpose
is protection from products that might impair kids’ health.
But is there any evidence that this is a big problem, that
large numbers of children are actually being harmed by unsafe
products? No, there is not. As Ms. Geurin points out, it isn’t
very likely that teenagers would suck on leaded microscope
bulbs, which are included, with everything else under the
sun, in this disastrously over-broad regulatory nightmare.
But the lack of a genuine problem does not deter the enthusiasts
for government regulation (like Sen. Amy Klobuchar, whose
idiotic words Ms. Geurin quotes) from attacking that non-problem
with a gigantic and economically destructive regulatory regime.
Lately we have been hearing a great deal from such enthusiasts;
they trumpet that their regulatory lust has been vindicated
by recent financial perturbations, blamed on deregulation,
and we are promised that regulation now will be back with
a vengeance. Here we have a foretaste; this monstrosity was
actually enacted under the Bush administration!
Obviously, just as individual people are properly subject
to laws that bar them from harming others, businesses must
be subject to similar strictures. No defender of capitalism
believes otherwise. However, the problem with government regulation
in the real world is exemplified by Ms. Geurin’s story concerning
the child safety legislation. Regulation so often does the
wrong things, at huge cost. (I should know. I spent my entire
26 year professional career as a government regulator.)
To the Editor:
you, thank you, thank you for writing this article.
The CPSIA has gotten negligable press and I was so relieved
to finally see someone in the region doing a story about it.
As a crafter and etsy seller myself I can see how this law
effects me directly, unfortunately even the non-crafters among
us will be effected . . . they just don’t know it yet.
I have been spending massive amounts of time contacting my
congressman and senators about this law. Hopefully now because
of your article many more New Yorkers will too.
photo caption with the story “Shared Wisdom” in Art Murmur
(Jan. 29) was incorrect. It should have read, “Class act:
Mary Louise Wilson at Russell Sage College.”
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