Letters for the Week of May 21

Readers sound off on typewriters, tech in Oakland, and the 'morals' code in the Oakland Diocese's new school contract.

“Slow Type,” Feature, 5/7

Don’t Need the Pressure

I don’t need the pressure to get it right the first time. I loved all my typewriters, but once word processors got here, and then computers, I never looked back. I did hold on to my first Selectric for a very long time. I did some typing projects for hire to pay it off, but would never want the inability to self-correct, improve, revise as I go. Isn’t that what writing is really all about? I admit I just wrote this without needing to make changes — but how often does that happen?

Judith Rathbone, Oakland

Best Tools for Writing

I grew up using a typewriter. Learned to type in high school and typed endless papers in college. Hated using a manual; electric typewriters are much easier to use.

You think you’ve got problems from carpal tunnel from your computer? See what a manual typewriter does for that! Make sure your health care premiums are paid up.

Got my first word processor in about 1982. Finally, typing was easy. Never had carpal tunnel problems. Word-processed thousands of words a day for decades with ease.

Want to slow down and think about what you are writing? Don’t buy a manual typewriter. They’re also very noisy. And they’re heavy. Hard on ears, hard on all parts of body.

The best tools for writing? Mechanical pencil and paper. Or, for a real thrill, a fountain pen with real ink. Yeah!

Michele Ocla, Oakland

Physical Words

I’ve been “typing” for more than forty years, and while computer keyboards have made it a bit easier (by not committing anything to paper before it’s perfect), it’s still a comforting (even ennobling) thing to put a sheet in a typewriter and physically put your words on paper in real time.

Michael Muirhead, Vancouver, Canada

“Can Tech in Oakland Become More Inclusive?,” News, 5/7

Need Cooperatives

Ideally, the new businesses (and new housing) should be cooperatives.

Jai Jai Noire, Berkeley

“Teachers Forced to Sign New Personal ‘Morals’ Code,” News, 5/7

Interpreting Scripture

Would this then mean that, in accord with scripture, if you found someone to be wearing clothes containing a blend of fabrics that they’d be punishable by death? Does it mean that if my brother dies I have to take his wife to me even if I am married? One wonders what they mean. There are all kinds of scriptural content that, were this regulation to be truly enforced, would cause persons to commit murder and mayhem in a wide variety of ways. How do you do live animal sacrifices in the Oakland anyway, what are the regulations?

Daniel Brady, San Francisco

Reverse Discrimination

If educators or teachers disagree with the moral or religious doctrines of a particular school, why would they even bother (or want) to work there? To expect Catholic schools to accept beliefs and lifestyles contrary to their own traditional beliefs is plainly unreasonable. To attempt to force them to do so, in my opinion, is reverse discrimination.

Linda Forde, Oakland

Charter School Opportunity

All else aside, there’s probably a pretty great charter school waiting to be created by the teachers who aren’t comfortable with this contract, and parents waiting in the wings to send their kids there.

One wonders if there would be this much uproar about an Orthodox Jewish school requiring its employees to keep kosher, or a Hindu school requiring that they be vegetarian.

Mary Eisenhart, Oakland

Maintain Faith and Morals

I am shocked (shocked!) to find Catholic morals expected of teachers in Catholic schools. Nineteenth century ethnic American Catholics started their own alternative school system at a time when becoming Americanized meant becoming Protestant. Today, school systems routinely show sensitivity to students’ cultural identities, and support those identities to cultivate identification with traits that lead to learning the subjects and life skills that will prepare students to thrive in a modern economy. Catholic identity involves buying into a belief system and code of moral behavior. Many Catholics understandably fudge on some aspects of that code, but it’s the hierarchy’s job to maintain its body of teaching on faith and morals.

The Catholic hierarchy may take its job more seriously as it sees a public school system more concerned with the victim-entitlement mentality than the concept that individuals are responsible for their own ethical behavior. If I had children, I would rather send them to Catholic schools (as my parents did with me) and attenuate the moral teachings downward than send them to public schools and have to struggle to instill in them the very concept of individual responsibility for moral behavior. If there are teachers who want the paychecks without having to perform Catholic school duties, well, you knew the job was dangerous when you took it, Fred.

Beth Elliott, Oakland

Please Don’t Join

I write because I am concerned that the Express seems to have a fixation on the Catholic Church. In the two articles recently published you seem to be shocked to discover that the Catholic Church is, in fact, Catholic. In the first article, several weeks ago, you insinuate that Bishop Barber is moving priests out of Berkeley in a sinister way because they are gay. You offer no evidence of this whatsoever and forget that staffing parish churches and moving priests from assignment to assignment is one of the bishop’s main jobs.

In the most recent article you again are shocked to find that the Catholic Church has principles and follows them. You seem to want the church to drop its philosophy so as to fit in better with the glorious diversity of the East Bay. Earth to the Express: If you don’t like the Catholic Church you are welcome not to join. No one is forced to send their kids to Catholic school, and if employees find the church to be oppressive, well it is a free country and people can find other employers. I don’t understand why liberal reporters, most of whom are not religious, seem to want to attack and denigrate the church. If you don’t like the church, please don’t join.

Alan C. Swain, Berkeley

“Sex and Violence Scandal May Impact East Bay Senate Race,” News, 4/30

Misleading Story

So a cheating politician got caught cheating? Then he and his wife decide to start terrorizing the young lady, to the point where she’s taking medical leave and filing for protective stay-away orders? What does this have to do with Wieckowski? This is a misleading story.

Bridgette Holmes, Fremont


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