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To speak of the dead
I was highly gratified to see Hal Crowther's subject this week ("In the Realms of the Unreal," Aug. 4) as it confirmed my feeling that surely someone besides me wondered if the same man I remembered as President did not live, and die, in anyone else's memory. Not that I object to speaking only good of the dead. Actually I felt the ceremony and encomiums were more a tribute to Nancy than to Ron. She had polished his memory during his silent years (as did Mrs. Kennedy polish her husband's memory). And as to Ron's behavior to his son on Jr.'s graduation; anyone who has lived with a teener knows there are times when we wonder if they know who they are addressing when it's not another teen.

About that editorial ("Conventional wisdom," July 28): I just finished reading The Candidate: Behind John Kerry's Remarkable Run for the White House by Paul Alexander. I didn't get what I had hoped from this--it's really too soon. Kerry is too much the complete politician to give everything away this long before election day. He has, however, been sufficiently (I hope) warned to be wary of the behavior of this opponent's tactics when campaigning (I got much of that from Mr. Alexander).

In short, a recent exposure to Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 and Dude, Where's My Country? has made this voter much more thoughtful and alert.
J.A. Hughes
Durham

Lux libertas
Simply terrific writing ("In the Realms of the Unreal," Aug. 4). I keep seeing people in the news who are making a comeback after a terrible fall from pop culture grace. Problem is, I have no idea who they are and why they became infamous much less famous in the first place.

We live in a time of Durwood Kirbys. Remember him? Why was he famous? Any ideas?

I often feel like I'm living in an episode of The X-Files written by Terry Southern. Reagan was in fact a terrific actor. His series ran eight years and is still a hit in syndication.
Joe Yancey
Raleigh

The eyes have it
I have been reading the Independent for 14 years and value it beyond description.

I am writing to say, though, that I am not sure I like the new design. My problems with it mostly relate to the smaller type, notably in Back Talk, Hal Crowther's opinion piece, the music calendar and other places.

If the goal is to make the paper easier to read, smaller type is not the answer.

I am over 40 (by some years) and, unless you are willing to write off your middle-aged audience, the small print will be a problem.

It is pretty easy to achieve a more open look by making the type smaller. Is there another way?

Piling on, I have to say that I hope the Fun Page will become more sophisticated, or you will do something else with that space. Maybe grow This Modern World back to full size?

That said, I assure you that I will continue to read the Independent, with a magnifying glass if necessary!

Please keep the Independent coming, every week, for as long as we need it!
Bill O'Connor
Durham

Editor's Note: We've gotten mostly wonderful feedback about our new look, but some complaints about the size of our type, particularly in the calendars. Indeed, our regular body type dropped by a half-point.

Our calendar type size didn't change, but the typeface did. On reflection, we agree it's hard to read. So we've made the calendars one point bigger this week.

We trust that will make it easier to read. Thanks for your feedback!

Correction
The Southern Folklife Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill (featured in Grant Britt's "Giving it up," Aug. 4) includes a total of roughly 160,000 titles, about 1,000 of which were donated by J. Taylor Doggett.

talk back.
Got something to say about an Independent article? Send no more than 300 words to backtalk@indyweek.com; to P.O. Box 2690, Durham 27715; or fax 286-4274. Include your name, phone number and mailing address for verification; we cannot publish a letter without confirmation from the writer. We reserve the right to edit letters for length, style and clarity.

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