Charmed by Sleeping Beauty

I just recently received the Spring 2000 issue and I must say that I think that
you and your staff have outdone yourselves. The magazine is usually good but this particular issue is stunning. The piece on Doheny Library [“The Very Heart of the Univer-sity,” p. 37] is wonderful, a beautiful blend of visual and narrative imagery. All of us who are proud tobe Trojans owe you a debt of gratitude for a job well done. This is the best alumni magazine that I have personally seen.

Mahari R. Tilahun MSW ’97
Los Angeles, CA

Thanks for another fine edition, particularly the piece on our “Sleeping Beauty.” I have not seen her for many years but always enjoyed working, doing research for class assignments there and also socially meeting in the hall!

Robert C. Madsen ’50
Pleasanton, CA


Congratulations on a splendid photo spread for your article on the past and future of Doheny Library. As I knew the history of the inception of Doheny Library very well and was privileged to know Samuel Lunden for many years,let me correct a small error in your article. Sam certainly was not a “Boston architect” but one approvingly known by Mr. and Mrs. Doheny as a Los Angeles architect when they readily concurred in his selection as associate architect for the interior design, decoration and furnishings for Doheny Library, in collaboration with the very prestigious Boston firm of Cram and Ferguson. The firm’s founding architect, Ralph Adams Cram, fixed his strong medievalist stamp upon the exterior design of the library, interestingly similar to his conception for the façade of the library at Rice Uni-versity. Cram, not interested in taking railroad trips to the West Coast in 1930-32, even permitted the young Lunden – formerly a draftsman in Cram’s office during and after degree studies at MIT, and a contributor to the interior design of Cram’s design for the Doheny gift of the Church of St. Vincent de Paul, north of USC – to produce the entire working drawings of the library now preserved in USC’s University Archives.
For at least a half century after obtaining his license to practice architecture in California in 1928, Samuel Lunden executed many notable commissions in Southern California, including buildings at USC like the sizeable addition to Doheny Library in 1965. Sam died five years ago in his late 90s. His wife, Leila, whom I try to visit regularly, will be 97 in March. I shall always cherish the memory of both of their admirable traditional New England-like character traits curiously surviving in multicultural Southern California all those years.

Paul Christopher MLS ’74
Santa Paula, CA

The writer was university archivist at USC from 1977 to 1996.


Cultural Clash

I wish to comment on the article entitled “Cross-Cultural Law 101” by Meg Sul-livan in your Spring 2000 issue [p. 20].
First of all, the subject of her article, [Professor] Alison Renteln, should get a firm grip on reality. The Encyclopedia Britannica states that “There are anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 languages in the world... with each one of them being a vehicle of culture…” It is ridiculous to expect Americans, particularly the police and the courts, to be required to be sensitive to all of the myriad of cultural differences brought to these shores by such a vast diversity of people. We should be more concerned about their learning our culture and our laws rather than the other way around. Ms. Renteln makes the curious statement that “We’re all Americans, so we should pay attention to our similarities, not our differences. But to do so ignores the very real rights of immigrants.” Exactly what rights are these? They are already entitled to all the rights that American citizens enjoy except for the right to vote. Are they entitled to additional rights, because they come from different societies and cultures? I don’t think so.
When earlier immigrants came to this country, they came to be Americans. They worked hard to learn the language and to learn the customs of the country. Now immigrants resist learning the English language or adopting our customs. Americans, rather, are expected to learn the languages and the customs of those who migrate here from all over the world. What utter nonsense! I venture to say that no other country in the rest of the world would tolerate such an attitude.
And the worst aspect of this insanity is that judges are awarding damages to those who are alien to our culture, because police were not aware that touching a gypsy female below the waist offended Romani tradition. The award of $1.43 million to two such females came out of the pockets of American taxpayers. I am confident that the Gypsies paid no taxes. So, overall, these women made out like the bandits they were. I am also confident that, with all that money, Gypsy men no longer found the women unfit for marriage. My God! When is some semblance of sanity going to permeate the consciousness of those who have more compassion than common sense?
I hope you will print this. The First Amendment protects my right to disagree with Ms. Renteln and all those who share her views. Sharing the same forum should provide some semblance of balance.

Colonel Francis M. Palmatier (retired), MSSM ’75
Wolcott, CT

Alison Dundes Renteln, associate professor and vice chair in the Department of Political Science, replies: Mr. Palmatier’s letter clearly demonstrates the need for more education about other cultures. The author presumes that “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.” But is this always the best public policy? What if Americans were living in China? Should they be subject to the one-child-per-family policy? Imagine an American thief in Saudi Arabia who has an amputation or a U.S. college student caught with drugs in Malaysia who receives the death penalty.
Those who move from one culture to another and violate the law may deserve punishment. The question is whether their cultural background should mitigate the severity of punishment.
While those who come to the U.S. certainly realize that they must learn American standards of behavior, sometimes their cultural conditioning predisposes them to act in ways which may violate the law. When immigrants are influenced by deeply ingrained cultural imperatives, justice requires their consideration. This argument is predicated on principles in the American legal system; it is not based on the recognition of “additional rights.”
All individuals are entitled to basic rights (the letter writer agrees that immigrants “are already entitled to all the rights that American citizens enjoy except the right to vote”), including the fundamental right to equal protection of the laws. Unfortunately, however, our legal system operates in such a way that people from other cultures sometimes are denied this right. For instance, when individuals are provoked to commit acts of violence, they usually raise the provocation defense, which can reduce a charge from murder to manslaughter (it does not lead to acquittal). In order to succeed, the defendant has to show that the “objective” reasonable person would have been provoked by the insult. This is impossible for the Thai defendant who is deeply offended when someone points the soles of his foot at him and for a Mexican American defendant to whom the “ch.. tu madre” verbal insult is directed. Because people differ as to what they consider insulting (the OK sign is obscene in other societies), the reality has been that people from other cultures cannot effectively raise the provocation defense, because the so-called “objective” reasonable person is not offended by the gestures or verbal insults that provoke people from other cultures.
We might wish to abolish the provocation defense because it is often used by jealous husbands who have killed their wives and because the law should expect people to exercise self-control. If, however, the defense is part of our legal system, then it should be available to all defendants, regardless of their cultural background.
Another important principle in our justice system is that individuals who experience police misconduct are entitled to sue for damages, e.g., girls who undergo an illegal strip search. The unmarried Gypsy/Romani girls who were subject to an illegal search (the city of Spokane admitted liability) were “marime” or polluted. According to their interpretation of customary law, they could never get married because of having been touched. The cultural aspect of the case was whether the damages should be increased because the effect of the search was far more devastating for the Gypsy community than for non-Gypsy “gaje”). To assert that Gypsy men would find wealthy women desirable, despite marime, shows a complete lack of understanding of their culture.
In the United States it is generally accepted that parents should control the upbringing of their children. Unless children have a life-threatening condition or are at risk of serious harm, the government should not intervene. Then, should parents be questioned if they give their children traditional folk remedies to cure them of illnesses, if there is no “scientific” proof of their efficacy? Parents originally from South East Asia sometimes stand accused of child abuse because they use an innocuous type of folk medicine known as “coining” or “cao gio” because the coin massage leaves temporary bruises. It is unjust to punish parents for attempting to help their children get over the flu and other physical ailments.
This is not to say that all traditions must be allowed. Some must be rejected if they involve irreparable harm to children (e.g., female genital cutting or ritual scarification). These cases involving culture conflicts reveal the extent of American ignorance about the folkways of ethnic minorities. In this country we believe that people have the right to raise their children as they see fit. Parents have the right to pass on their beliefs to their children, to teach them their religion and to instill values. If we are true to these principles, then parents should not be punished for harmless actions. Although immigrants are supposedly entitled to the same rights as American citizens, they do not enjoy them in practice. They certainly do not benefit from “additional rights.”



Heartwarming News on Heartburn

I want to thank you for the advertisement in the Autumn 1999 issue titled “Chronic Heartburn?” [p. 2], which told about the USC University Hospital cure for heartburn. I responded to the ad, and have [since] been operated on for esophageal repair and herniated diaphragm. I am recovering well, and for the first time in years, completely free of heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disorder.
Thank you (and Dr. Jeffrey Peters) for the vast improvement that this has made to my life.

Sherbourne Prescott ’56, MSME ’63
Pasadena, CA



Getting In the Last Word

Two of the descriptions in “The Last Word” [“Misfit Monarchs,” Spring 2000, p. 80] show a misunderstanding of the meaning of words. In Item 3, “fulsome” is used with the meaning of “abundant.” The word has no relation to “full”; it means “offensive, disgusting,” sometimes with the connotation of grossness or excessiveness. The root meaning is nearly opposite the one implied in the paragraph.
The second mistake (Item 4) is more subtle. “Unready” in Old English meant “uncounseled, unadvised,” not ill-prepared or slow to react. Ethelred’s problem was that he was all too ready in the current sense, taking swift action without listening to anyone. The designation was in fact intended as a joke: The name Ethelred means “noble” (the “ethel” part), plus “red” meaning “counsel.” Thus, the phrase means “noble counsel the uncounsel(ed).” Probably seemed a lot funnier a thousand years ago.

James B. Ellern
Department of Chemistry
CAMPUS

This letter sent us scurrying to our dictionary. With regard to “fulsome,” the American Heritage Dictionary agrees that its primary meaning is “offensively flattering or insincere,” but gives an archaic definition of “copious or abundant in supply.” The dictionary notes that “in modern usage ‘full’ and ‘abundant’ are obsolete as senses of fulsome” – but perhaps employing an archaicism isn’t so very improper when describing a 9th-century Frankish dynasty.



Bereft of the Barrel

Julie Kohl in 1976

What a disappointment to learn that Julie’s and Julie’s Trojan Barrel have both closed [“Bygone Barrel of Laughs,” Spring 2000, p. 67]. As a student at USC, I lived on Trojan Barrel French dip sandwiches. Later, as a USC employee, I lived for warm-weather lunches by the Julie’s pool. Fries, salads and sunshine!
The timing, for me, is ironic as well as sad. We currently live in Japan, and I had just told my 4- and 6-year-old sons that we were going to visit a very special place on our next visit to Grammy and Grandpa’s – Julie’s!
All best wishes to Ms. Kohl, along with thanks for some wonderful food and fun.

Mary Ann (Gunderson) Serrano
MA ’86
yokohama, japan



Nick of Time

Thanks for including a class note on me in the Spring 2000 issue [p. 66]. But I have not changed my name to Rick; it still is Nick, as fellow J-school grad Ed Neilan, himself mentioned on page 66, could also inform you. My wife, Joanne, also agrees that I have not changed my name. Nevertheless, thanks for remembering us.

Nick P. Apple ’53, MA ’69
Beavercreek, OH

We apologize to reader Apple and acknowledge the persuasive evidence he presents that his first name is indeed Nick, not Rick, as we printed it.



Notice Board

The USC Black Alumni Association has undertaken a Historical Initiative Project titled “Black Students and Alumni at USC: Decades of Diversity.” As part of that project, the BAA is trying to identify as many “Black Trojan Families” – as well as individual black alumni – as possible. If you know of any such families (including your own) and alumni, please contact the USC Black Alumni Assoc-iation, c/o Lura Daniels Ball, director, Office of Black Alumni Programs, at (213) 740-8342 or send e-mail to <baa@usc.edu>.

Lura Daniels Ball ’79
USC Black Alumni Association
campus

I am seeking former USC students who may have known my mother, Vivian Clarke (School of Speech, class of ’43 and Graduate School, class of ’46). Her name was Vivian Clarke Lang by 1946.
My mother passed away in 1960 when I was a baby, and I know almost nothing about her other than she was on the Debate Team while she attended USC. I am trying to recreate her early life so I will have something to tell my own four children about her.
If anyone out there knew Vivian and has anything at all to share, I would so greatly appreciate it. Please send any information by e-mail to <
kdevoli@aol.com> or by regular mail to Kathie Hoehn, 605 Neilson Street, Berkeley, CA 94707. Thank you so much.

Kathie Hoehn
Berkeley, CA

Found: A 1974 USC class ring. The ring, decorated with a red garnet stone, was found seven years ago in a front yard near Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash. The name engraved on it appears to be “Douglir Elschwed,” but the engraving is very difficult to read. For more information or to claim the ring, please contact Christine Simmons at <mayorsimpleton@hotmail.com>.

Christine Simmons
Spokane, WA

My brother found a man’s class ring and I am trying to track down who it belongs to. It is for a 1974 graduate and has the initials “MGP” engraved on the inside. It was found about 15 years ago at the Silverado Country Club in Napa, Calif. He didn’t know what to do with it and it sat in my mother’s jewelry box all these years. I saw it and decided to see if I could trace it. To claim the ring, contact me by e-mail at <patoodles@yahoo.com>.

Patricia Moore
Port Ludlow, WA

The Blood Donor Center at Childrens Hospital needs blood donors for the ill and injured children cared for at the hospital. Donors must be over 17 years of age and weigh 110 pounds or more. The center is located on the second floor of Childrens Hospital, 4650 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 669-2441. The Donor Center is open Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m., and Saturdays, 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Kathy Reger
Childrens Hospital Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA

As part of the USC History Project, the USC Alumni Association encourages alumni and friends of the university to donate their USC “archives” back to the university.
We are particularly looking for photos, sketches, layouts, etc., of Widney Alumni House. It is our goal to display some of the more interesting items in the Alumni House on a permanent basis.
If you have any materials (such as yearbooks, programs, pictures, etc.) that you would like to donate, please contact Teri Kirkendoll at (213) 740-1816.

Gerald S. Papazian ’77
Los Angeles, CA

 


 

Previous Last Word Answers
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Mailbag, c/o USC Trojan Family Magazine, University of Southern California,
Los Angeles, CA 90089-2538, fax: (213) 821-1101

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