Aficionados of TCM Fear for Its Future

Responses to Maureen Dowd's column about Turner Classic Movies. Also: Birth control; the homelessness crisis; a landmark church; cultivated meat.

Aficionados of TCM Fear for Its Future


To the Editor

Maureen Dowd's column, "SOS: Keep TCM Afloat" (June 25, 2006):

I thank you for your beautiful column, Ms. Dowd. You have beautifully described the unique role that Turner Classic Movies plays in our culture and lives. And, your plea to maintain it as it goes through painful budgetary changes and personnel changes under Warner Bros. Discovery.

I am one of the 25 TCM viewers selected in a nationwide contest to be a TCM guest programmer for its 25th Anniversary in 2019. We were each asked to introduce a movie that was very personal to us, and dedicate it to a special person in our lives.

A woman dedicated the 1968 detective movie 'Bullitt,' to her deceased father. She explained that, after returning from the funeral of her late dad, she immediately switched on TCM and was amazed at how much Steve McQueen, the star of the film, resembled him. In that serendipitous instant, she felt that her father was with her and that it sustained her.

I dedicated the 1958 Oscar-winning Gigi to my wife. After I spent a day with Frederick Loewe for a story I was writing for a newspaper, he gave us our wedding gift. The tickets were his gift.

Ms. Dowd cites Warner Bros. David Zaslav is the C.E.O. of Discovery. He assures her that he knows how unique TCM is and will improve it.

Ms. Dowd has the perfect reply: "I'll be looking."

She's not the only one. We all hope that he truly understands how TCM is more than just another television channel.

The writer, a retired television critic and journalist, is an ex-member of the Television Critics Association.

To the Editor

David Zaslav is the Warner Bros. Maureen Dowd is assured by Discovery C.E.O. that TCM "is my favorite channel." It's like trust.

I would have trusted Mr. Zaslav more if, instead of firing the long-time head programmer Charles Tabesh and several other key executives, he had not fired Charles Tabesh. What is TCM without its programming?

Ms. Dowd wrote that Mr. Zaslav stated he would keep the on-camera host and wanted to'spend more money on channel and market it'. At the risk of being obvious, if that were the case, he would have been able to spend more money on the channel without destroying the staff, who made TCM worth marketing.

Mr. Zaslav is proud: "I think it could have been bigger and stronger with more reach. This is going be a magical experience. Those who love TCM are aware that it was always magical even without his involvement.

Preston Neal Jones
Hollywood, Calif.


To the Editor

Hadley Heath Manning's 'The Conservative Position on birth control is about individual responsibility' (Opinion Guest Essay, June 24).

This essay is disturbing to me as a mother with three daughters, who has been a practicing pediatrician for 22 years, and someone raised Catholic. Why do we have such a black-and-white view of sexuality? Why are sexual choices deemed 'good or bad'?

Pregnancy does not cause disease, but it can affect a woman's health for the rest her life. It is not an individual responsibility to have access to safe and effective contraception. It's a societal obligation.

Medical providers should not refuse to provide contraceptive care because of their personal beliefs. There are many highly effective options. We do not judge our patients. Contraception is not a tool to promote sexual promiscuity. Women are empowered to make their own decisions.

Keene, N.H.


To the Editor

Re: 'Policy to Fight Homelessness becomes a Target of Right' (frontpage, 21 June)

While I deplore that the right-wing has taken up the issue of homelessness I do not believe there is a single "right" way to deal with it.

Since moving to Portland, Ore. from Iowa, my wife and I have seen a sad transformation in this city. The plight and response of both the city's government and its homeless population have gotten worse. Every day, we see the evidence of homelessness. Tents, motor homes, and other types of vehicles are common along thoroughfares and in neighborhoods. There is also a lot of trash and discarded needles.

Many of these people have no ability to make a rational decision to accept an offer of help; they simply state that it is their preference to remain on the street.

The reasons behind this sad state of affairs are complex. However, by refusing to force those who suffer from mental illness or addiction to drugs to seek treatment, the problem will only continue to grow. Many people are dangerous to themselves and others.

It is both a failure in compassion and responsiveness of the government to allow such severely ill patients to refuse treatment.

Greg Cusack
Portland, Ore.

Save the Landmark Church


To the Editor

Re: 'Congregants Want Historic church Sold. Famous New Yorkers want it saved (news article from June 26).

Many New Yorkers, including those who aren't famous, don't want this historic landmark to be replaced with a multistory building.

The West Park Presbyterian Church is not only a landmark on the corner of West 86th Street & Amsterdam Avenue but also a community centre and a reminder of a bygone era when neighbors would meet to discuss local issues.

In the 1960s, a group young architects protested the demolition of the Pennsylvania Station because of its possible destruction. We didn't save the old station, but we did create the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which preserved many of the threatened buildings and created new historic districts.

It would be a huge step backwards to demolish the West Park Presbyterian Church when there are much better alternatives.

Peter Samton
New York

Cultivated meat: Benefits and Uses


To the Editor

Re: 'Lab-Grown meat is approved for sale in the United States' (Business, 22 June)

Americans will soon be able eat meat made from animal cells for the first time without needing to use live animals. According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a growing cultivated meat industry in the United States has a number of benefits. These include climate change mitigation, biodiversity preservation, food system resilience, and economic competitiveness.

We expect that, because the United States has the world's best food safety oversight, other governments will grant regulatory clearance for cultivated animal meat very soon. This highlights the need for government support to help this new industry succeed and reap the economic and job benefits that C.S.I.S. Others.