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Jeopardy! letter lacked respect

I just read the letter to the editor in the fall Bulletin titled “Jeopardy!? Is this a Joke?” and I feel compelled to respond, because I was absolutely appalled by the writer’s condescending and judgmental tone. I don’t disagree with Stephen Kirschenbaum ’63’s point that the editors should consider devoting more space to stories of alumni with accomplishments that have a greater impact on the world, but to poke fun at a young alum’s current employment [“... while working for an insurance company (feh)”] and demand the resignation of the editor was more than excessive—it was downright rude. These comments represent the side of Swarthmore intellectualism that I least want to be associated with—the part that disparages popular culture and turns a simple disagreement into a moral battle. Mr. Kirschenbaum, I don’t watch Jeopardy! either, and I don’t have a Twitter account, but I try not to be disrespectful to those whose interests are different from my own.

-Lauren Gilman ’88
Acton, Mass.


This is a deeply disturbing and morally offensive letter. So the right response to an article we don’t like in the Bulletin is that the editor and writer should be fired? Is this really what we learned at Swarthmore about how to respond appropriately to people whose views differ from ours?

There are ethically intelligent ways to criticize a person's point of view. This letter is not one of them. I humbly suggest that Mr. Kirschenbaum take a look at this article I wrote for Bloomberg Businessweek on how to give criticism respectfully.

-Bruce Weinstein ’82
New York, N.Y.