To the editors:
Nick Watters [Letters, September 13] expressed disapproval at David Whiteis's description of Cookie of Maxwell Street [August 30], finding David's observations in such bad taste that he concluded by making snide remarks about his mental condition. The implication was that in a healthy and tasteful society, when confronted with a less privileged life, the proper behavior is to ignore it. Perhaps Nick would also approve of a discussion that laid the blame for a person's unprivileged position solely on the shoulders of others, and does not admit of any qualities in such a person that would be distasteful to the refined portion of the Reader audience, but he did not directly say so. The main idea was that the primary duty of good journalism is to adhere to certain aesthetic standards, and that any transgression of these standards is the act of a man not fit for society.
His criticism was not merely destructive, but constructive as well. A solution was offered for those of us with taste so deviant we may want to understand the origins and conditions of life of those we usually have no contact with. We could all go visit the therapist. A therapist will happily see to it that we not only hold the opinions of and lead the life-style of our proper peers, but that we will also be glad to do it. No longer will we be a threat to stability, order and aesthetic sensibility by trying to understand the desires and needs of those who are different, of those who have no access to, or, perhaps, do not want such help. And of course we would no longer commit the heinous indignity of suggesting that these people have similarities to us, that they have many of the same origins as us, and, under different circumstances, may even have been us.
The therapist has not gotten to me yet, though, and I hope the Reader continues to print excellent articles which describe and give life to the great variety of characters, attitudes and life-styles that can be found in Chicago. Reading these articles, it is easier for me to remember that the narrow social world within which I exist is not the end of the world, and that there really is substance behind those many people whose faces I always see and yet am too uncomfortable to really try and look at whenever I venture out of my small corner of the city.