Listen to Jane: Readers Respond to 'The Spirit of Youth'

Thanks for seeing that there is something else to write about regarding Chicago than Obama and the Reverend Wright.

I seem to be reading a lot about women in the early twentieth century this week, just by chance. First, Ida Tarbell in a new book on her muckracking classic about Standard Oil, then Jeanette Rankin in a book called “Human Smoke” by Nicholson Baker, and now Jane Addams in your piece. And they did all this without a whole lot of power (in western civ terms, naturally). And we can’t seem to get anywhere near their principles and successes a century later.

Also can’t believe it’s been 40 years since we lost Dr. King.

Best to you.

Catherine Podojil
Cleveland Heights, Ohio

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You should get this piece into every newspaper in the UK (including the tabloid) and the right wing press in France , the disregard for the need of children there is so extreme that it is frightening. I grew up with freedom and spaces to play with my friends and I can easily understand that children without space for play just become crazy ! Putting them in jail as a result is just adding insult to injury but nobody seems to care, they are more concerned about getting their kids in the right schools so they will be able to get the best of life!

Best regards,
A Reader from Finland

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Yeah. Sad to say how true your comments. But this seems to be part of a larger effort – conspiratorial or not – to break down the common connections between people and the idea of a common good. Now, everything is privatized and segregated. Where once kids played in open fields and unclaimed land, now ever atom seemed owned by somebody and play areas are deliniated by entrance fees, security guards and fences.

The line between tyranny and revolution is a fine one. You want people working so hard they don’t have time to think and, in case they do, they are given circuses to distract them, ideas are dumbed down, words go missing. But if too many people are hungry and not working, that’s the tinderbox. The time when TV loses its matrix magic. The economic horizon seems to indicate the possibility of that state of affairs is coming. But then again, maybe not. Maybe this is just a new, slumming dark age, what the ancient Indian scriptures, the Vedas, call Kali Yuga, the age of darkness, confusion and declining spirituality.

What we don’t understand is that on the 7th day, God didn’t just rest, He played.

(Well, God plays all the time but it made a good line, don’t you think?)

Regards,

A Reader from Toronto Canada

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