Letters

, June Atlantic) who found Peter Schrag's analysis of the California initiative process ("California, Here We Come," March Atlantic) overly hostile should avail themselves of the official California Voter Information Guide for the primaries on June 2 of this year. There were nine complex initiatives on the ballot. They occupied twelve pages of double-column text at the back of the guide. Thirty more pages were devoted to summaries, "Analysis by the Legislative Analyst," arguments in favor, arguments against, and rebuttals to each of these.

If one had the time to plough through this material and make sense of it, all might be well, but unfortunately the initiatives themselves are often badly worded, and the accompanying arguments consist largely of hectoring obfuscations by highly partisan advocates with little interest in reasoned discussion. (The guide does not reveal how the drafters of arguments are selected.)

As your correspondent Grant Cogswell, of Seattle, pointed out, the initiative process can be used to good effect, but in California it is more frequently abused.

Frank Rettenberg



At the end of "'Discovering' Young Poets" (June Atlantic), Peter Davison muses about the current value of "all male" poet elders "discover[ing] the young," who he mentions are "more than one third female." I was reminded of the May announcement of The Atlantic's Student Writers' Competition winners, three fourths of whom, I noted, were female. Perhaps the sap and wit of late-twentieth-century male talent is being drained by the ever-rising cost-versus-benefit ratio of a liberal-arts education.

Daniel S. Moore



The Atlantic Monthly. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; September 1998; Letters; Volume 282, No. 3; pages 12-21.



Presented by

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.
More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In