Degree of Education
Harold Meyerson’s argument is marred by his failure to distinguish between education and training [“Downwardly Mo,” July 20–27]. It’s altogether possible to be highly well-educated and still be largely unemployable. In fact, what education prizes, training deplores. Education is concerned with concepts, while training is concerned with techniques. As a result, possession of a college degree is no assurance of future economic well-being. If anything, it is a union card that certifies little beyond the holder’s ability to have attended four years of schooling after high school. This is particularly so because of the absence of any objective measure of the learning that took place.
It’s time that the U.S. disabused itself of the comforting delusion that the country is better able to compete in the global economy by increasing the number of graduates that colleges and universities turn out. Not only does this view falsely equate quantity with quality, but it also assumes that all fields of study in higher education are created equal in this fast-changing and highly unpredictable world. Alan Blinder makes these facts abundantly clear. Yet, it’s hard to break the hold that denial exerts on our collective thinking.
On the Boards
Re the cover story on Richard Montoya and Culture Clash’s Water & Power [“Blood and Hubris at the Paradise Motel,” July 21-27]: As Culture Clash continue to spread their world dominance, this theater piece deserves a well-written cover article, and Mr. Morris provided just that. He captured the inherent talents of the men and the work that it requires to be a great writer and performer. I loved the paragraph that described the “process” of sculpting a solid script, “like the art of sanding a fine piece of furniture.” Richard Montoya has put in hard work, and we are offered a window into that world — the dedication with which he writes and the tightrope that he constantly has to walk between art and community activism. As an actor/writer, I’ve looked up to Culture Clash since I was in college back East and was first exposed to them. I still remember watching a monologue (“Chicano on the Storm”) that Richard Montoya gave in A Bowl of Beings and saying, “That’s what I want to see more of in theater.” They offer personal work that is universal, and I thank you for sharing their world with one of your readers.
Electric Muscle Cars
A minor correction to Judith Lewis’ story [“Who’s Resurrecting the Electric Car?” July 14-20]: I haven’t joined Tesla Motors. I did work with them through all of 2004, but left to start my own company, Wrightspeed Inc., at the end of ’04. Wrightspeed and Tesla Motors are completely separate companies, building quite different vehicles.
Apart from this, I thought your article was very good, and highlighted the little-known conversion market, which I think will grow, especially as they use better batteries. Range is the big problem for pure electric cars; lithium ion is the answer, but it’s not cheap.
At Wrightspeed, we’ve chosen to differentiate the cars by performance. With careful design, an electric drive system can take the high-performance driving experience up to a new level, making the cost of the technology less of an obstacle.
A Pirate’s Life
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While I certainly agreed with Scott Foundas’ view of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest [“Yo Ho-Hum,” July 7-13], Curse of the Black Pearl was not the first movie based on theme-park rides. Disney had two major misfires with The Country Bears and The Haunted Mansion, both based on Disneyland rides (one now “retired”), before finding sunken treasure with Black Pearl.
By the way, the title of Foundas’ article (“Yo Ho-Hum”) was especially meaningful to me. I fell asleep in the first Pirates and when I woke up they were still dueling.