Letter to the Editor

Curtis Brown

Whenever I attend Lawrence University events, such as Music-Drama Center recitals or this weekend’s charmingly presented “The Light in the Piazza,” I pick up a copy of The Lawrentian.

Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be, but it makes me feel optimistic about America’s future to notice the maturity of recent discussions about serious issues, such as the Honor Code and liberal vs. conservative opinions.

It might not have hurt to emphasize that “conservative” and “liberal” are merely labels on a person’s mental file drawers, convenient for rapid recall in conversation — rarely 100 percent convictions.

Unfortunately, few conservatives are “servative” before asserting their “con”-manship. Conversely, the notation “liberal” benefits — and suffers — from its etymological association with “liberty,” a privilege which goes with often-disregarded duties.

I always liked my students, mostly because they had doubting and malleable minds, unlike some extremists who are so sure of their stance as to be almost surely wrong.

What puzzled me in the latest issue was the multigenerational delay of hookah smoking to reach the Lawrence campus. Viennese high-school juniors did that already as early as the 1930s.

I remember my first hookah on a Sunday morning, when we congregated on a Balkanese classmate’s “East-West-Oriented divan” to play poker. I no longer remember whether Finzi let me pay for cleaning his couch after I threw up…

Curtis Brown, Neenah, Wisc.