The Weekend Australian - Review - - Viewpoints -

IN his re­view of Wal­ter Isaac­son’s bi­og­ra­phy of Al­bert Ein­stein ( Re­view , June 16- 17) Alan Saun­ders writes, ‘‘ Then there was his up­bring­ing — the fam­ily busi­ness was in elec­tron­ics.’’

De­pend­ing on the source, the fam­ily busi­ness was in elec­tri­cal com­po­nents or elec­tro­chem­i­cals, nei­ther of which have any­thing what­ever to do with elec­tron­ics. Ein­stein had al­ready pub­lished his spe­cial the­ory of rel­a­tiv­ity be­fore the in­ven­tion of the vac­uum tube by Lee For­est. In fact, the elec­tron­ics in­dus­try did not re­ally be­gin un­til World War I and fur­ther de­vel­op­ment of For­est’s in­ven­tion into a us­able de­vice for elec­tronic am­pli­fi­ca­tion.

If the er­ror is in the book, then it is not worth read­ing, if it is the reviewer’s, that is no prob­lem, we all make mis­takes. I know this be­cause I am the fa­ther of three teenage chil­dren. Ger­ard Dean Glen Iris, Vic­to­ria JOEL Green­berg con­cludes his re­view of books on the se­duc­tive and re­pel­lent — for her toad­y­ing to Nazism — Leni Riefen­stahl ( Re­view, June 16- 17) with a strik­ing reve­la­tion of his own prej­u­dice when he writes of ‘‘ a pe­cu­liarly Teu­tonic para­dox . . . how can great art co­ex­ist with moral squalor, ge­nius with evil?’’.

The fas­ci­nat­ing, puz­zling con­junc­tion of great art and moral squalor, ge­nius and evil, is surely uni­ver­sal rather than merely Teu­tonic. Anna Ep­stein Carl­ton North, Vic­to­ria IN his oth­er­wise en­ter­tain­ing and in­for­ma­tive Fo­rum col­umn on James Joyce, Si­mon Cater­son ( Re­view , June 16- 17) makes a few glar­ing er­rors of fact that, in the in­ter­ests of sweet­ness and light, should not go un­chal­lenged. The ar­ti­cle states that Joyce ‘‘ even had a dis­ci­ple in Samuel Beck­ett when writ­ing Ulysses . Dur­ing this time, Beck­ett fa­mously de­clared that Joyce’s writ­ing was ‘ not about some­thing. It is the thing it­self’. ’’

Given that Beck­ett was born in April 1906 and Ulysses was pub­lished in Fe­bru­ary 1922, Beck­ett was all of eight years old when Joyce be­gan his mas­ter­piece and merely 15 when Ulysses was fi­nally pub­lished. When Beck­ett made his fa­mous state­ment ( quoted above), he was not re­fer­ring to Ulysses at all but to Work in Progress, the pro­vi­sional ti­tle for Joyce’s last work, Fin­negans Wake.

Ego te ab­solvo, Si­mon. Des­mond O’Mal­ley Univer­sity of Syd­ney WHEN I saw SBS’s ads for its se­ries Big Love I knew it wouldn’t be long be­fore po­lyg­a­mists were called Mor­mons, and vice versa, on the show and in its re­views. When I read Graeme Blun­dell’s re­view of the first pro­gram I was an­noyed by his drag­ging of the Church of Je­sus Christ of Lat­ter- Day Saints into his re­view.

There is no such thing as ‘‘ Mor­mon fun­da­men­tal­ists’’, un­less all mem­bers of the LDS Church are such. Present- day po­lyg­a­mists are not mem­bers of the LDS Church, never have been and never will be. Piret Reil­jan Geil­ston Bay, Tas­ma­nia

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