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Letters to the Editor

Nov. 13, 1998

In response to the column about author Toni Morrison's recent remarks in The New Yorker, we feel obligated to clarify, first the true nature of Morrison's article, and secondly the absolutely kindergarten interpretation given by, of all people, a senior journalism major who occupies the position of copy desk chief at The Lariat.

Toni Morrison, a Princeton-teaching, Nobel, Pulitzer, and American Circle-winning author, as well as one of the most profoundly influential intellectuals of our time was asked by The New Yorker, as an expert, to comment on the Clinton situation as she saw it.

Morrison first points out her relative absence from the entire media circus surrounding Clinton, and how she 'decided to get my news the old-fashioned way: conversation, public eavesdropping, and word of mouth.' Her primary conclusion is that the 'effluvia' of the media has amounted to a not-so-significant case of adultery. Adultery, as Morrison asserts, has pulled the public's interest thus far, while substantial evidence of impeachable crimes has yet to be uncovered. Morrison sees the media, right now, as the chief culprit: 'Whatever the media promote and the chorus chants, whatever dapples dinner tables, this is not a mundane story of sex, lies, and videotape. The real story is none of these.'

The part of the article Kugle seemed intent on discussing did not come until two thirds of the way into the article. Kugle's article simply begins with the following quotation: 'In a recent edition of The New Yorker, well known author Toni Morrison wrote that Bill Clinton, 'white skin notwithstanding, is our first black president. Blacker than any actual person who could ever be elected in our children's lifetime.''

First of all, this quote is taken entirely out of context. Morrison clearly states that this was a susurration of African-American men during the Whitewater investigation. At no time in the article does Morrison claim that this is indicative of her personal opinion. Rather her perception of African-American characteristics stems from an educated and informed view on a metaphorical definition of blackness, not necessarily a literal interpretation.

Kugle's attempt to make a racial issue out of Morrison's article was not only juvenile but also a reckless attempt to meet a deadline. The haphazard and incongruent manner in which the article was written displays an irresponsible attitude in and of itself.

However, the fact that Kugle chose a highly sensitive topic on which she has proven to be completely uninformed, further demonstrates her lack of regard for what proves to be an extremely important issue to many of us.

Our advice to Kugle would be to read a little more about the issues you personally have problems understanding. Toni Morrison is practically an authority on racial matters in this nation. Her literary contributions to the furthering of African-American understanding in this country have been phenomenal and far-reaching. One can only attempt at our age to comprehend the mind of such an eminent figure.

Thus, think twice when your reasons for disagreeing with a prominent intellectual are merely surface and simple-minded

Sam Henderson Ryan Romine

Political Science/ English/

Theater '02 Sociology '02

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