Art critique

Reviews | Readers criticize The Post: The Art of an Appropriate Headline

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Each week, The Post publishes a collection of letters of grievance from readers – pointing out grammatical errors, missing coverage and inconsistencies. These letters tell us what we did wrong and, at times, offer praise. Here we bring you this week’s Free for All letters.

Given my affinity for Paul Simon’s music in general and his song “The Boxer” in particular, I was thrilled when I saw the April 11 front-page headline “In kyiv Stands an Ex-Boxer and a mayor of his trade”. I must have smiled as I easily remembered the last verse of Simon’s song “The Boxer”: “In the glade stands a boxer and a fighter by trade.”

The title and the nod to Simon honored the courage and leadership of Vitali Klitschko. A poignant and clever headline made this old man’s day.

Donald Humbertson, Woodbridge

A cute Simon & Garfunkel-inspired title sheds light on a horrific war in Ukraine. Please save playful titles for more appropriate stories.

Susan Declercq Brown, Springfield

The source of Russian literature

When Timothy Snyder wrote in his April 10 Outlook essay, “By denying a Ukrainian culture, Putin is flattening his own”, that “all Russian literature, the saying goes, came from Gogol – and Gogol came from Ukraine” , he wrote pro-Ukrainian propaganda, seriously undermining his credibility as an authority on Russian culture.

In fact, the general opinion of Russians over the centuries is that “all Russian literature came from Pushkin”. Serious Russian specialists might add that Alexander Pushkin relied on the efforts of Nikolay Karamzin.

Walter C. Uhler, philadelphia cream

Metro’s April 7 article “Governor Moore hopeful wants investigation after dossier raises life history questions” reported Maryland gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore’s complaint to state prosecutors. statement regarding allegedly false and anonymous campaign materials and reported that his campaign “alleged without direct evidence that another campaign was behind the case and accused him of criminal activity” and “the rival campaign denied the allegation “. The article declined to identify this “rival campaign”.

With a few keystrokes, the complaint itself and other reports identifying John King’s campaign as the alleged wrongdoer were easily found.

It is entirely newsworthy that a particular campaign is officially accused by another campaign of having committed a crime, whether or not the allegation provides “direct evidence”. Just who was protecting The Post by omitting this crucial public information? King is not a minor and The Post would not risk exposure to defamation by identifying the King campaign. It was a very curious decision that displeased readers.

Laurence E. Gold, Washington

Think green fuels

It was good to see the April 9 Real Estate article on heating fuels and helping consumers choose the right one for their needs, “When choosing a home heating system, consider your sources of fuel”, but nowadays, shouldn’t there be a reference to the carbon intensity of fuels or a mention of renewable energies?

One of the heating solutions that impressed the author was coal stoves. Okay, that might still be appropriate for some households, but shouldn’t there be a mention of environmental impacts? The author said his next home will also have a back-up woodstove, which is one of the cheapest ways for most Americans to use renewable fuel to reduce fossil fuel consumption, but that’s not is not ideal in urban areas. Most of us in the DC area give little thought to the installation and use of our gas furnaces. But we should start thinking about the future.

John Ackerly, Takoma Park

The writer is president of the Alliance for Green Heat.

We are not the subject of his wrath

Perfectly good but unfortunately neglected words: “me”, “we”, “she”, “him”, “them”.

Poor objective pronouns! So many writers and speakers of English apparently regard them as inferior and refuse to use them. Consider this example from Sports’ April 10 article “Haskins’ death at 24 sparks shock, sadness”: “NBA star Karl-Anthony Towns tweeted with a photo of him and Haskins together when they were children.” From him ? Really? What happened to him?” The word “he” works great as a subject, as in this sentence from the same article: “Hard to grasp,” he added. we’, ‘she’, ‘he’ and ‘them’ are ready, willing and able to step in when needed; and they are needed after prepositions, such as ‘to’, ‘from’, for, etc. , and verbs. Do you remember in English class when you learned that pronouns had two versions: one to serve as subjects and another to act as objects? Here are two examples: gave him a photo. They gave him a photo of himself.

I am saddened by the death of someone only 24 years old, so I was drawn to the article about Dwayne Haskins. My sadness turned to disappointment, however, at how the proper objective pronoun “he” was overlooked and dismissed in an article in one of the world’s top newspapers.

Jane McKeel, Church of the Falls

All Rise for Justice Designated Jackson

I was struck by Ratt’s April 9 drawing board cartoon. I have enjoyed political cartoons (especially when I agree with their opinion) for their creativity to capture in a drawing, often with little or no words, a current political issue or otherwise. Ratt’s poignant cartoon with the caption “All Rise!” was not only creative but also emotionally moving in conveying the rise of black women from cotton picking to serving on the Supreme Court (albeit a very slow rise).

I will save the cartoon to show my youngest grandchildren when they are old enough to understand the significance of Judge Designate Ketanji Brown Jackson’s exceptional and unique achievement.

Isabelle Schonfeld, Bethesda

Ground rules are long overdue

The April 3 editorial “A Sneak Attack on Charter Schools” called the Biden administration’s proposed regulations an attack. In fact, the proposed continuation of funding charters at the all-time high of $440 million and best practice regulations provide a path that is a gift for charters.

Under the regulations, charter applications are prioritized if they include “community school” elements or cooperation with local school districts. A “community impact” analysis requires an explanation of why the school would be beneficial in serving that community. For example, demonstrating that a pedagogical approach is not otherwise available would help an application earn points. In DC, where the DC council and mayor have resisted limiting the number of charter schools, and where the school system doesn’t really work as a system, the Biden proposals are urgently needed for impact. from each school to the larger community of schools is considered. The charter industry is notorious for being unwilling to accept common sense guidelines that would strengthen the system as a whole and resist regulation. The administration’s changes are modest and long overdue ground rules for an industry plagued by scandals, profiteering and negative effects on the larger neighborhood public school community.

The writer is a board member of EmpowerEd, an organization that raises the voice of DC teachers in DC public and charter schools.

Spotlight more local groups

Chris Moody’s April 10 Washington Post Magazine article, “Sowing Change,” was good and appreciated. However, I think an opportunity was missed by not highlighting local bands such as Earth Sangha in Springfield. It’s a non-governmental organization with acres of native plants for sale and teams that work with businesses and local governments to add natives to landscaping projects.

Jeff Jordan, Church of the Falls

“Finally Understanding Yoko Ono,” a free-for-all April 9 letter on Sebastian Smee’s Critic’s Notebook article on Yoko Ono’s art, was as illuminating as Smee’s March 26 Critic’s Notebook, “It’s Yoko Ono’s message from the start.” But at nearly 2,000 words, Smee’s article was anything but concise, as the letter comically portrayed it.

Michael S. Goldstein, Washington

Culpepper’s lyrics didn’t appeal

When I started reading Chuck Culpepper’s April 9 sports column, “The Best Scheffler Harnesses the Wind and Seizes the Five-Stroke Lead,” I realized I would need to access my dictionary by line to understand certain parts of the article. In the first two paragraphs alone, Culpepper used the words “orgiastic”, “boffo” and “seductive” – in an article about golf. I was puzzled, so I searched for the words.

I took the liberty of rewriting a few sentences from Culpepper.

1. “It’s the most frenetic event in golf” instead of “It’s the most orgiastic event in golf”.

2. “He started this week at No. 15 in the world, a ranking that doesn’t impress the planet” instead of “He started this week at No. 15 in the world, a boffo ranking that doesn’t impress the planet.”

3. “He’s the guy who won the playoffs at the Phoenix drunk party” instead of “He’s the guy who won the playoffs at the Phoenix bacchanalia.”

John Biennas, Williamsburg, Virginia.

The Metro’s April 12 article “Youngkin Amends Loudoun Schools Bill” describes Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (right) campaign’s successful advocacy as “a protest against mask mandates, the theory criticism of race and other controversies”. Later, citizens of Loudoun County allegedly “cursed at school officials” for mishandling assault cases.

The reader is left to assume that had the blinded Youngkin or local Loudoun goons adopted policies or positions favored by Post reporters and editors, a less pejorative characterization would have been employed.

Timothy Starker, Arlington

The winner of the very first “Toony”

If there was an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy, or Tony for comic books, I’d nominate Jef Mallett for his April 4 comic “Frazz.”

They took a life, but they didn’t take his pride.

A strange status update

The April 9 front-page headline “For Biden, Progress But Not Race Perfection” was ridiculous. The same title could run every day with a different topic. Is the Post arguing that there is perfection in race and President Biden is not?

Virginie Q. Anthony, Chevy-Chase

Amplify bad voices

Regarding the article in the front page of April 9 “In the courses on sexuality, the right sees ‘grooming'”:

If the Post’s editors had even a moment of self-reflection, they would have titled the article as follows: “The Washington Post provides a platform for fanatics defaming the LGBTQ community”.

Amplifying transparent and ugly smear campaigns is not the domain of journalism.