Editor's Note: Time for new topics

By Richard Wiens, The Triplicate August 03, 2011 05:39 pm

When it comes to letters to the editor, some topics will just keep going until you — or I — cut them off.

Today will bring the end of the recent string of missives on the topic of homosexuality. It started out with a Coastal Voices piece condemning the state Legislature and the governor for passing and signing a law requiring social studies curriculum to include the contributions of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Supporters called SB48 anti-discrimination legislation that would encourage students to be more accepting of gays. Similar requirements already exist to ensure teaching about women, African Americans, Mexican Americans,  entrepreneurs, Asian Americans, European Americans, American Indians and labor.

Opponents argue the instruction would expose students to a subject some parents find objectionable. They raised concerns that it would indoctrinate children to accept homosexuality.

The legislation is a reasonable topic for debate on the Opinion page. After all, just how many requirements do we want to place into law when it comes to teaching social studies? But when letter-writers expanded the issue to

homosexuality in general, two things became clear: 1) It’s a topic that generates a lot of strong feelings. 2) The expression of those feelings, while interesting to some, has limited value — I don’t think we’re any closer to resolving the differences of opinion out there.

So we’ve spent some time and ink addressing the topic. Now let’s move on.


A lot of creativity is on display in Klamath, where experts are concerned about the welfare of a gray whale who has spent more than a month in the fresh-water river, where its food supply is limited. The whale’s adolescent calf had the good sense to head back to the ocean a week and a half ago, but its mother is stubborn.

A day after the calf declared its independence, people in 10 or more boats took to the river. They shot water from a cannon. They struck metal pipes with hammers. They pounded the water with tree limbs.

Mom stayed put, but the efforts to turn her back to sea have continued. Yurok Tribal Chairman Thomas O’Rourke and two others took to a dugout canoe, serenading the whale with drumming and chanting.

Someone else played the recorded sound of killer whales — natural predators of grays. Live music followed from a violinist waste-deep in the Klamath and, on Monday, a flutist in a canoe.

The whale’s visit has been quite a spectacle, providing hundreds of people with close-up views of animals they typically admire from a distance, if at all. But there’s more than one reason to hope the gray soon heeds the call of the Pacific. Frankly, the U.S. Highway 101 bridge over the Klamath is a precarious perch, its railing too low to ensure the safety of all those spectators.

Any other ideas?