It has been more than a year now since readers of the Intelligencer were treated to a good scrap in the Letters column. (Dissertations on "What is a Milpitas?" do not count.) I refer to those grand old battles over such weighty matters as the Mensa Sperm Bank, hot tub etiquette, and which ladies might jump behind the couch with Burt Reynolds if he came to a Mensa party. Alas, these controversies have become excluded by the space and budget crunch.
But help is on the way. It will be the function of this column, always located on the inside back cover of THE ECPHORIZER, to stimulate (ecphorize) discussion among our readers.Not artificially, by picking fights, but constructively, by exposing the genuine differences of opinion among thinking people. From time to time we will invite guest editors to help field the brickbats.
At a Mensa party a while back, I remarked that it was my observation (based on two visits to the country) that blacks in South Africa seemed generally happier and better off than Africans in many other countries, living under black governments. One listener was aghast at this idea, and regarded me as a monster for voicing it. She edged away from me for the rest of the evening. We never succeeded in discussing it rationally; but perhaps if we had written down our opposite viewpoints, each of us (and others who followed our interchange) might have grown in understanding. The aim of this column will be to foster such written interchanges.
So send us your most entrenched opinions, charged and vitalized with your best arguments. Unshackle your most exotic ideas. If they have any life at all, we will expose them naked to our readers. Don't be afraid to let the world know what you think; maybe we can all learn something.
George Towner was born in Reno and grew up near Berkeley. As a teenager he began making gangster movies using an old 8mm camera, one of which featured a car being pushed over a cliff off State Highway 1. He has started and sold two successful technology firms, and currently works for Apple Computer, where he is the most senior in age. He lives with his wife in Sunnyvale. They have two daughters and a son.
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