The Original Think Magazine (Published since 1996)

Letters to the Editor, #41

letters to the editor

Letters to the Editor, Issue #41

 

Defenestrate the lord.

Once again, you have proven that trees mean nothing to a magazine that will waste a full page on Sir Christopher Lord's pathetic suicide letter. Why grant this ignorant egomaniac more space to rant like a child, haven't you given him enough in past issues?

This Magor spent 9 years condescending to a people he failed to be accepted by or ever came close to comprehending and you grant him a full-page goodbye? And for what, so he can bash Czech culture and predictably point a finger at American Cafes? Lets take a look at this, shall we. He mentions Radost. Is it a crime to eat good vegetarian food, support local artists, read poetry, watch free movies, and play music in a hip atmosphere?

Where does he come from, or where is he going that one can obtain a spinach burger on cous-cous with absinthe milkshake at five in the morning for under 5 bucks? Then the Globe, our author's favorite hangout, where he can be regularly spotted too drunk to walk. Next we have Little Glen's. If our Lord here thinks he has better taste in Jazz, why didn't he open a venue? Because sitting on his inflated ass criticizing other people's efforts is much easier. Next he mentions literary magazines. It is obvious that the only way to truly survive in Prague is to give your work out for free, with a nice glossy cover. Quality of writing has never been an issue, so lets just skip that one. Alas we have his remark on junior capitalists.

Maybe he needs to see a list of Czech companies that went public, and how many were led there by foreigners. Or perhaps real estate listings will convince him. Duh, give credit to the capitalists for doing what they do best. But this isn't enough, for some reason, Christopher wants to teach all the new kids about how cool Prague used to be, and where he used to get piss-blind drunk. Or maybe he is just a little sad that he has lost his youth. If his all-knowing eyes were remotely open, he would see that Prague is as alive now as it was 7 years ago. Perhaps he hasn't realized a movement is occurring because its highlights haven't been cleverly summed up and packaged into a paperback novella he can wipe his ass with. So, lets see, he proceeds to start condescending and generalizing the whole country, their ideology, and of course, their views of foreigners.

I suppose what amazes me is why this schmuck stayed 9 years in a place with a people he held so much contempt for. Then again, he probably didn't experience much of that "culture" stuff from the inside of his beer-soaked bubble. There's a lot of self hate in this guy, probably one too many gypsy girls sucking him off in Smichov for his 100 krown lunch money. So what has he left us with here other than his irretrievably stupid humor, his one-sided regurgitations of Czech history, his arrogant rationalizations?

Here we have the ramblings of a desperate, fat, old man, whose intellectual wanna-be misinterpretations have once again disgraced the title of this magazine. Congratulations on your high-bandwidth resume, It just goes to prove that any ol' village idiot can memorize a history book, learn how to bullsh*t, and convince people he should be heard.

How sad: sbohem curaku, jdi do prdele!

- Martha Damncat < This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. >


DEAR THINK:

I'm not one of the faithful THINK readers, but I happened upon an article featured in issue no. 40 by Christopher Lord entitled Auf Wiedersehen Prag.

Was it a joke, or am I gettin' too sensitive to stupidity? It seems to me that poor ol' Christopher had a hard time here in Prague; maybe spent all his money in his first year, then became bitter over the next eight while trying to scrape up enough cash to fly his sorry ass back to where he came from.

It's pretty sad to see someone live overseas for nine years and not be any better for it. Rag, rag, rag. All he could do was rag on things: the bar and club scene wasn't up to his standards, neither were the newspapers, and in short he summed-up Czechs as beer-sluggin' and mushroom-pickin' inferior hockey fans. How did your Czech staff react to his short-sightedness? And this 'language barrier' excuse is getting' so old for me. There's no language barrier, there's just the fact that English speakers really have little talent for learning languages. "There is really not much point trying to learn the language. It just identifies you as one of the cultural underclass." Sorry, I just don't buy that philosophy.

I truly enjoy being able to really speak to people without having 'American' tattooed to my forehead. So wake up THINK readers! Don't look at this place through the eyes of Christopher. Embrace this remarkable country with all its peoples, customs and beauty. We're not here to set up Christopher's 'new Master Race'. Just exist here, if you will, without trying to hurt anyone, and respect the people of Prague.

Don't worry if Czechs are a bit xenophobic. Just try to look at life through their eyes for a moment and remember that for the better half of the last century this was a controlled state, where even your own home could be taken away with the swipe of a pen. THINK about that the next time you're in Jama eating the worst tacos on the planet.

P. S. The beer ad Chris refers to is from Budvar, not Krusovice. What an idiot! ! !

Good Luck with the Mag.

- Clay Broadfoot < This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. >


Dear Think,

I am English teacher at the private language school in Prague. I have just read an essay by Mr Lord about Czech xenophobia. It is not so bad with us Czechs! It is true that we do not like the Germans, Russians, Poles or Gypsies, but people who speak English are always welcome. I think that Mr Lord is American. I want to practice my English, so I have many American friends. This is the way. I like the stories about the animals. But you should do one about dog homes in Prague. They are terrible!

- Jitka Dvoraka < This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. >


An email exchange:

Subject: just wondering

I can not believe you printed that tripe about Rupert Sheldrake. He is not a Cambridge scientist right now, and NOBODY in the field takes him seriously. It reflects poorly on your magazine. I do not think I will bother reading it again.

- Philip Wilk < This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. >

Jeffree wrote:

Well dude, no dogma here, we always try to publish all sides of the argument. I can tell you a couple of arguments I've made (in college) and I received failure grades for arguing:

1) Brain cells do not regenerate. I argued that every cell in the world regenerates, and to think that human brain cells are so special is egotistical at the least. Well guess what? This year they discovered that human brain cells DO regenerate!

2) Mammals cannot be cloned. Having studied lipid cell formation and having extracted the nucleus out of newt eggs for class research, I wrote about the potential to cell farm using mammalian cells. Was told it's not possible, that mammals are too complex. etc. Well, bahhhh, Dolly says otherwise.

3) I wrote a paper about vapor matrices in an environmental sciences class, proposing that the elimination of beavers from the wild habitat was causing the desertification of North America. Well, researchers at UCSC have just convinced the US Dept of Fish & Game to begin re-introducing beavers into their former habitats. I received an F grade due to the 'unprovable' nature of my hypothesis.

And even further back, I was almost held back in fourth grade for 'learning disabilities' because I insisted that 'ain't' is a word. And it's in the dictionary now. So just close your mind and go back to reading those "accepted" publications and everything will be alright, and you won't have to worry about those pesky wild theories.

- Jeffree < This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. >

Well "dude", not my point.

My point is, that you did not present both sides of the issue. You gave absolutely no critical assessment of the article by Rupert Sheldrake. Especially as radical (read: idiotic) as an idea it was, it should have be presented as something less than, well dogma, as you did.

As for your failure grades, I fail to see how this is relevant. Rather it is a poor reflection on what ever college you went to. If you were in one of my classes and wrote a good paper that showed scientific creativity and backed it up with a reasonable scientific argument, I would certainly reward you well for it.

I am just saying that printing tripe as if it were acceptable science, puts me off. If that is what I can expect from your magazine, I will not be reading it. I am sure there are people that like to read such new-age nonsense - just not me. -Yours, Philip PS: Just because it is in the dictionary, does not make it a "word". My dictionary also has suffixes and prefixes. However, just so you know we are on the same side, I think "ain't" is a perfectly good English word that is understood to be as much by everybody but fourth grade teachers. Dictionaries, as my linguist girlfriend just pointed out, are often wrong - especially about the history of a word. She says not to take them as, ummm, dogma. He-he.

Dr Paul Kail replies:

Dear Philip,

Thank you for your inspiring comments. To clear one issue up first: the reason why Sheldrake is described as being at Cambridge University is because one of the editors accidentally added this. He lives in Cambridge, but resigned his fellowship many years ago.

Like Sheldrake, I also used to do research at Cambridge University, and like him, one reason why I left was because of the attitude which mainstream science has to anybody who has the audacity to challenge its dogmas.

You say that "nobody in his field takes [Sheldrake] seriously". What field is that? As far as I am aware, nobody else even works in this area (so in a sense, you are right). If you are referring to biochemists, I doubt that they have even bothered to read his books. Indeed, the lack of interest in morphogenetic fields demonstrates the intellectual bankruptcy of the present-day scientific establishment.

While thousands of academics are engaged in mental masturbation about mushroom classification, generative grammar, existentialism, or whatever, a genuinely useful idea from a serious academic is ignored. Whenever Sheldrake himself publishes work, he receives an emotional response but little intelligent feedback.

Maddox, at that time the editor of Nature, described his first publication on the subject "as a book fit for burning". Maddox's review (and a more recent review of Sheldrake's latest book Morphic Resonance: The Nature of Formative Causation) revealed Maddox's emotional state, but little else. Instead of presenting an intelligent counter-argument, or even a discussion of the experiments themselves, he reacted to protect his turf. The High Priest of science had spoken, and pronounced Sheldrake's theory a heresy. The fundamental basis of science was, at one stage, the pursuit of understanding. This meant that new ideas were welcomed, not vilified. As Jeffree points out, many ideas have been rubbished by conventional science and later found to be true.

Sheldrake's work is particularly interesting because it represents a paradigm shift in thinking about the world. There is a fair bit of evidence for the idea: if this had been a scientific paper rather than an article in a popular magazine, I would have discussed some of it in more detail.

For the time being, however, morphogenetic fields will remain no more than a theory. Unfortunately, this is a theory which will have to be developed outside the hallowed temples of conventional science.

- Dr Paul Kail Animal Consciousness Foundation < This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. >


Hi!!!

Having read and heard of Think for the first time at a little cafe in Prague, I was utterly pleased about the outstandingly appealing diction in your articles. Especially "the voyeur" is a great story wonderfully enriched by your extraordinary way of writing... The sadness of the Voyeur: Always understanding and reaching out to life but never really touching it...

I like the deep truth hidden behind the words! Moreover, the designing is more than just great, it's super-great!!! Working as an art worker myself I really appreciate of it! That's all I wanted you to know (although I guess you know it already).

- Bye, Elisabeth from Germany < This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. >


Dear Think,

I have never in all my born days seen a magazine such as yours. I honestly cannot imagine life without it - here in Prague. The only problem is that sometimes it takes me a good few hours of wandering round cafes and youth hostels to procure myself of an issue. It is worth it though.

Everything about it smells of pure excellence.

Your writers are of the highest calibre, the photos have been taken with care and understanding, the features are always accurate and well written. As a young at heart 75 year old, teaching English here in Prague, I would like to offer my congratulations to you for supplying me with such a spiffing read. Jolly well done you!

- Sincerely yours, C. White (Mrs) < This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. >

Well, folks, there you have it,

some of them hate us and some of them love us, and then there's the silent majority who just don't give a damn! But thanks to all for reading us, we'll try to keep it coming in ways you just can't predict!

-da' Editors

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