Tellin’ on Helen

Re: “Was Helen Thomas Too Old to Speak Her Mind? Society of Professional Journalists beset by internal strife stemming from Helen Thomas snub,” by Michael Miner, March 3

The Reader‘s anniversary features have been getting nostalgic about the days when readers had attention spans. So props to Mike Miner for playing it old school and writing at length about the denouement in the Helen Thomas saga.

Still, I’m intrigued that there’s so little light shed on a hot topic, the hazy boundaries between crisp, thank-you-mister-president deadline reporting (Thomas’s claim to fame) and political bloviating (her claim to infamy). Thomas’s attitude was bracing in Nixon’s pressroom but a WTF moment on YouTube. A lifetime of achievements can be like that. . . .

Still, it’s easy to see why the society would find it hard to deal head-on with one of its icons. Thomas does not present a simple case for debate. Her wire-service reputation was built not on how she could use her tart tongue but how she could keep it in check. Perhaps she has earned the right late in her career to let ‘er rip. But trust can be long-earned and still quick to flee. A lifetime can be like that. —Escaped Notice

Who Is Overpaid?

Re: “Labor Unrest at Columbia College, Northeastern: Adjuncts, unions at local schools fight for contract, job security,” by Deanna Isaacs, March 3

It is very sad to me that Columbia College general counsel Annice Kelly, who earns almost $200,000 a year, talks about Columbia faculty being highly paid. Some of us earn $9,000 a year—tops—and we are not even given the opportunity to buy into the college health care benefits package. Aside from a raise, we are asking for job security—just the knowledge that we might have an income from one semester to the next. This is crucial for simply paying the bills. While the teachers in K-12 organized many years ago, those who teach at the college level desperately need the help and support of unions. —adjunct

Rickles Fan

Re: “Ads From the Past: April 6, 1973,” posted by Vera Videnovich, March 6, regarding a Mill Run Theatre ad promoting comedy shows by George Carlin and Cheech & Chong

What a blast from the past. Thank you. Saw that Carlin show at Mill Run + lots of others. Back then, one of the rear doors of this theater-in-the-round was broken and only kept closed because they rolled a garbage bin up against it. It was like that for years; we got in to see a lot of wonderful shows ’cause of that door. Best show might have been Don Rickles ’cause he caught us one night and made it part of the act—since we didn’t have assigned seats, we’d have to stand in the back of one of the aisles. He saw us one night, pointed and said, “Get a load of these guys—What? Did your truck break down?”

We ran like hell, laughing all the way. —DeBartolo