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One phrase in your article on Larry Harvey's Burning Man festival [LIVING, Sept. 18] hit a nerve: the comment that he moved the "punk-pagan celebration" from San Francisco to a "lifeless" desert northeast of Reno. I just spent four months working with people of the Paiute, Shoshone and Washoe tribes, who are indigenous to the Reno area. For them, the desert brims with life--animal, vegetable and human. How self-centered and arrogant it is for whites to think that a landscape without their culture and accumulated junk in it is lifeless. The puerile horde that invades the desert on Labor Day has no clue about the earth or true spirituality. Too bad Harvey can't use his talent and money for something that benefits the planet. JANE VAN CAMP Placerville, Calif.
I attended Burning Man for the first time this year. Forget the naked people and the parties. For one week, people of every kind gathered under extreme conditions and lived as a true family. I did not hear one negative word. There was food for the hungry, water for the thirsty, shelter during storms and--best of all--never-ending smiles! Burning Man is an example of how everyone should live. See you all next year. HEIDI KARL Philadelphia
A Woman's Blessing
I was deeply saddened by the article "Who Needs a Period?" about women's manipulating the timing of their monthly period, sometimes reducing it to just a few times a year [MEDICINE, Sept. 11]. The menstrual cycle is not a curse, as many women refer to it in jest, but a blessing that enables us, if we choose, to create life. What does it say about us if we wish to avoid one of the defining characteristics of our sex? How out of touch we have become if we begin to think of this natural experience as a burden. KAILIN M. FENN Millis, Mass.
Can't Bear It
It always amazes me how the animal-rights types think. In your article about the population explosion of black bears in New Jersey, "When Bears Get the Munchies" [AMERICAN SCENE, Sept. 18], some people suggested letting the bears deplete their natural food supply, which would cause their numbers to drop owing to starvation. In the end, the entire bear population would stand the chance of being malnourished and less able to endure a hard winter. In their hatred of hunting, the animal rightists are endorsing a practice that would cause much more suffering and a lingering death for the animals they profess to care about. DUANE PORTERFIELD Bullhead City, Ariz.
So the bears are a risk because they've been "frightening Boy Scouts on camping trips"? I thought the Scouts went camping to learn about nature. STEVE SCHAEFFER New York City