OUR SAFETY FIRST
Your editorial this week ["Playing politics with Syrian refugees," Nov. 25] is disappointing for it flies in the face of known facts—that 80 percent of the Syrian "refugees" are young men, not women and children.
Even the FBI states they cannot properly/completely "vet" any of the refugees. Is protecting our fellow Americans "playing politics with Syrian refugees," as your headline screamed? Protecting our citizens is the foremost responsibility of our nation's leaders, period.
Lou Cumming, La Jolla
READING VS. LISTENING
Jim Ruland's article ["Is Listening Reading? On the pleasures and perils of listening to audio," Nov. 18] works when he makes fun of himself as a reader navigating the audio book world. Otherwise, there are a few ambiguous statements that make it hard to understand what he really wanted to say.
The title alone "Is Listening Reading?" pokes you in the ribs. Of course, listening is not reading. Different parts of the brain are being used. Never fear. He doesn't make an argument for the title anyway. Instead, Ruland states that there are "considerable disadvantages" to listening to a book rather than reading it. So now I'm glued to the article to count these considerable disadvantages. What I found were minor drawbacks that may be specific to a particular listener. Silly me.
First, you're not able to flip around pages when listening. Since there's quite a bit of ambiguity in this paragraph ("...searches the digital file until the connection is confirmed"...What connection?). I could only infer that he's referring to how you have the option to go back and search something that you may have missed when reading, but you're not able to do this when listening. Okay that's one disadvantage. Especially, if you weren't paying attention and have to backtrack. I'm just as guilty of doing this as Ruland. At least he admits to listening while driving or walking the beach.
The other disadvantage or advantage, depending on how you interpreted his writing, was whether the impressions of characters came from the author's prose or the person doing the reading. This is where I actually tweet the readers and authors, "Did the author advise you to inflect emotions or is this your impression?"
In the end, he mentions that you don't have the "option of throwing an audiobook (i.e. my iPhone) across the room." Let's face it. This alone could encourage more listeners to buy and read books instead. The big punchline at the end of the joke.
All kidding aside, if Ruland ever comes across a book like Americanah that has quite a few words that the average American reader may not know how to pronounce, he would see another benefit of listening over reading. I wish I had listened to more books when I was younger. It definitely has taught me to pay attention to details, taught me the proper pronunciation of words and improved my comprehension skills.
There are folks who prefer to listen to books and there are folks who prefer to read books. Listening versus reading may end up being like that familiar fallacy of comparing apples with oranges.
Stef Burn, Downtown San Diego
Homeless, on a walker, veteran Greg Kowalski wrote a letter to CityBeat ["Non-ambulatory," Nov. 11] about how people ignored him when he fell and fractured his femur. I am non-ambulatory, as well. Greg, I understand. We are invisible to many. I was run over by a truck; people on the sidewalk walk into me instead of moving to the side. Old friends don't see me. I think they are afraid I am contagious and will catch my disease if they come close or call. Hang in there, buddy.
Yosel Tarnofsky, North Park