January 12, 2007

Letters to the Editor


In your November 28 issue (“Scholars Tackle Timeless Theological Problem”), your reporter Matt Johnston, in his commendable report of this year’s Latke-Hamantash Debate, says of debater Yitzhak Melamed, “‘True philosophy leads to the latke,’ Malamed said, though he spuriously attributed the quotation to moderator Cohen.”

Nothing spurious about it. Many years ago, before I had aged and been assigned the role of moderator, I was a debater, and in the modest but brilliant argument I presented, I used exactly those words. In fact they can be found reprinted in my entire disquisition in the recently published book The Great Latke-Hamantash Debate, edited by Ruth Fredman Cernea (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2006).

Those many years ago, therefore, I proved that latkes necessarily exist. This year Professor Melamed proved that hamantashen necessarily do not exist. One might expect this to end the debate, but one would be wrong.

Ted Cohen

Professor of Philosphy

Aiport shuttle

Congratulations to Mr. Brian Shaw for making the sensible decision and rejecting the proposal for an exclusive student shuttle to Midway and O’Hare airports!

While I’m relieved and heartened to learn that the University is making the fiscally and socially sound choice in regards to this proposal, I was surprised by the omission of at least one fact and one opinion in the Maroon article and discussion surrounding the proposal.

First, a fact: There is a shuttle that takes students from their doors (dorm and apartment alike) to Midway and O’Hare airports. It’s called the Omega, and it’s actually on the University’s Chicago Life website. It may cost more than the $5-10 suggested for the proposed shuttle, but it fulfills the same purpose. The phone call I made this morning confirms that it is still in business.

Second, an opinion: I am a recent U of C alum, and I am proud to call Hyde Park my neighborhood of choice in Chicago. I take the #X55 or #55 to and from work daily, and I take it to get to the airport as well. Yes, it can take more time than a cab or a shuttle, and yes, I must either pack light or struggle up the three steps onto the bus, but I figure you get what you pay for. If I wanted curb-to-curb service and a strong man to do the heavy lifting, I’d fork over the money for that service.

I imagine that suggestions for luggage handlers at bus stops along 55th Street, tales of four #55 buses coming at the same time, and fears of walking to or from 55th Street are taken in the spirit with which they must have been intended: as hyperboles to highlight the utter ridiculousness of the idea that independent, intelligent urban dwellers need an exclusive service to augment the multiple travel options already available.

Elizabeth Wampler

A.B. 2004