Thanks to Catherine Mayer, who has once again put the Brits into perspective, this time along with their Olympics ["Three Cheers for London," July 30 / Aug. 6]. Her barbed and deadly accurate fun poking acknowledges that we can laugh at ourselves. She also knows British wisdom can best be captured in the pub, which is where the most dedicated London Games cynics may yet be discovered blubbing. It's good to know that Mayer and TIME can see clearly through the morass of commercialism, elitism, adjustment of laws and the general unseemly hubbub that surrounds the Games.
Not being a sports fan, I intended to leave Time's Summer Olympics Special [July 30 / Aug. 6] aside and wait for the next issue. Then I started reading the story on Lolo Jones and was hooked. It has the makings of a Hollywood script. Ditto on the stories of the other athletes, because they deal not only with leaps and bounds but with perseverance, total dedication and an unwavering determination to achieve their goals while subjecting themselves to rigorous tests of endurance an example for us to follow in other walks of life as well. I will be saving this issue.
Ramat Gan, Israel
I noted with sadness that there was not a word, let alone a picture, of a Kenyan athlete in your special issue. Bearing in mind that Kenya has consistently excelled in the middle-distance races and the marathon, a promising Kenyan athlete's profile could have made a good read.
James Louis Ndirangu,
China's drive to win the most gold medals at the Olympics ["The Gold Standard," July 30 / Aug. 6] is a perfect illustration of what a dictatorship would do to brag about the achievements of the Communist Party. Taking young children from their families to enroll them in academies where they will endure grueling practices for hours, topped by patriotism classes, is abhorrent. The robotization of these kids should be condemned by everyone on ethical grounds, starting with the International Olympic Committee.
Orthodoxy in Jerusalem
I am shocked by the content and the style of the article "The Ultra-Holy City" [Aug. 13]. The story seems to mock religion, while it puts in a positive light Noam Pinchasi, whose goal is to sow discomfort and mischief. Even in the U.S., slapping posters of nude women on houses and churches would be condemned; what Pinchasi and his friends are doing is blatant harassment.
The article showed a deep appreciation of the situation and sensitively described the problems consistent with the meteoric rise in ultra-Orthodoxy. However, as a British Jew with a progressive outlook, which is shared also by many Israelis and Jews worldwide, I must question whether the perception that I am more or less "religious" according to my degree of "orthodoxy" can be justified. Religion is not defined as practicing or observing but believing.
Road Rage for All
I like bikes ["Pedal Push," Aug. 13]. However, after my wife was knocked down by a pizza-delivery biker going the wrong way in New York City, as well as seeing power bikers on the Brooklyn Bridge brushing tourists and locals alike, I'm afraid the movement has turned into a new eco-elitism on the race for pavement space. The Netherlands' roadways are a great marriage of cars and bikes, but they were designed for this from the beginning, with a culture to support it.
Scott R. Sunquist,
In Australia, many drivers are not only a little upset by bicycle riders and their inconsistent riding habits and disdain for road rules but also for the fact that millions of dollars are spent on creating bike paths and special cyclist lanes to the detriment of the motor vehicle. Cyclists do not need licenses, do not need to register their bikes and pay no fees to anyone to use the road system. Cars and trucks bear the full cost of all the roads and cycleways through various fees, so they should have the right of way over people who pedal. Motorists would not be so aggressive and angry if the new cyclists paid to use the system like everybody else.
Happy Valley, Australia
Image of Drought
Re LightBox [July 30 / Aug. 6]: This picture of a bulldozed field truly speaks a thousand words, illustrating the hard realities farmers worldwide have to overcome. Perhaps this reality check will inspire governments to have more respect for producers and realize that food security is not necessarily a right but a privilege brought about by persisting in very adverse conditions.
Potchefstroom, South Africa