Wow! Just read Maureen Fogard's "Prelude" in the February issue. If she can pack this great an impact in just two pages, she's a writer. I'll be willing to stand in line for her novel.
San Francisco, CA
"High-Brow, Low-Brow -- A Reminiscence" (March issue) left out one important characteristic of high-brows: "Your true high-brow ...edits or writes for a recherche 'little magazine' and is basically a critic rather than an artist." (Life, 11 April 1949, p. 99). So... anyone who writes for THE ECPHORIZER is a high-brow!
I don't consider myself one of the "unlettered -- or unnumbered - masses," but I must rise to the defense of Aphrodite Fish ("The Measure of Happiness," February issue). It is possible that even with the cucumber in place the separation of two people is never quite zero, but becomes an infinitesimal of very high order. In this case the formula H = 1/e**2 says that happiness increases without bound as e approaches, but never quite equals, zero. The shorthand way of saying this is that H = 1/O**2 is infinite. The basic idea is OK, if not expressed in the most elegant terms, mathematically.
Paul W. Healy
Formerly Senior Mathematician at the Naval Weapons Station, Concord, CA
Regarding the "High-Brow, Low-Brow" browhaha, let me add to, or rather correct, your statement in the second-to-last paragraph which states that thirty years later, low-brows have graduated from "pulps and comic books" to TV sitcoms. I have observed that high-brows are now reading pulps (ie Regency Romances) and comic books (long live Superman). It is also more distinct when one notices that low-brows now are spending thousands of bucks on arcade machines while high-brows are spending thousands of bucks on home computers with arcade-game software.
Palo Alto, CA
I must take issue with the author of the, uh, humorless response to my letter in which I pointed out that the automatic toll-taker on the Carquinez Bridge can be activated by a nickel, saving the consumer 35 cents.
Contrary to your correspondent's implied opinion, I am not trying to enrich myself by stiffing the Toll Bridge Authority for small change. In fact, I am already so wealthy that I could buy the whole bridge without raising a ripple in my cash flow. In fact, I have bought and sold the Carquinez Bridge several times. "Small-time cheater," indeed!
Your correspondent calls me an "enemy of society." If that were true, I would also have pointed out that Connecticut Thruway tokens, which sell for 15 cents, are mechanically indistinguishable from New York Subway tokens, which sell for 75 cents. But I refuse to do so, because it would be socially irresponsible of me to trigger a mass exodus from the Bay Area to the East Coast.
I also don't agree that those who rip off the Government for millions are the moral inferiors of those who do it for a nickel. But I do see a moral distinction between selling non-existent clothes to royalty and lese-majesty.
Also, I didn't "outwit" the machine. It was no contest.
More commentary in re the species homo sapiens and its propensity for cheating the Carquinez Bridge. Spitzer's letter reminds me of a short campus fable. A couple are sitting in the campus park in deep and thoughty conversation. He says, "Would you let me make love to you for $1,000,000?" She thinks, answers, "Yes." "Would you for one dollar?" "What do you think I am?" "We've already determined that ...we're only haggling over price now."
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