tufts universitytufts magazine issue homepage
contact us back issues related links
features columns jumbolaya planet tufts newswire the big day Departments The Issue Letters BookshelfAfterimage


TWO FACES OF TIBET Last spring I decided to pack up my bags and move to China in an effort to improve my Chinese and to experience what, in my opinion, is currently the world’s most exciting and dynamic venue. Because I had recently returned from a three-week sojourn in Sichuan and Tibet, Warren Smith’s piece “Tibet’s War of Words” (Summer 2008) was a breath of fresh air.

Although my experience there was short, the double life of modern Tibet left a lasting impression. At that time, approximately six months after the riots in March, Lhasa was still tightly controlled. Chinese troops patrolled nearly every street corner, and my companions and I were scolded repeatedly for talking about political issues by our otherwise amiable tour guide. The city truly has an identity crisis: there is a clear demarcation between the ancient Tibetan half of the city in the east and the modern Chinese half in the west. While Potala Palace glistens at night, “Be patriotic to China” blasts from the speakers in the Tiananmen-esque square directly under the chin of the great palace. In the countryside, Tibetans pay their dues in their fields and temples the same way they have done for centuries. Yet they jump at the opportunity to speak with a foreigner in broken Chinese about the U.S. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps.

It is comforting to know that amidst the turmoil and propaganda, the citizens of Tibet can find an independent source of information [Radio Free Asia’s Tibetan Service] that might provide them with the opportunity to create some modicum of self-identity.

DELECTABLE FAREIt’s nice to see so many alumni getting involved in the food movement (“Edible Planet,” Summer 2008), which is crucial to maintaining a healthy food system in this country. From raising goats to make the perfect cheese, to foraging for wild edibles in the Alaskan frontier, to a renowned chef championing the sustainable, field-to-fork approach to dining, I’m glad you focused an issue on this most basic and nourishing subject.

Inman blogs about all things food at www.foodonthefood.com.

Your foodcentric articles in the Summer 2008 issue were delicious! The more we can help ourselves be aware of what we eat, the better. As it happens, I didn’t realize that Dan Barber was a fellow Tufts grad, and now he has asked me to speak at Stone Barns. My links to Tufts have always informed my work, including, of course, the inspiration to become a writer in the first place: my senior thesis. Thanks for a great feature.

Ettlinger is the author of Twinkie, Deconstructed (Hudson Street Press), which was featured in the “Bookshelf” section of our Winter 2007 issue.

FASHION NO-NOI was absolutely flabbergasted by your choice to publish the “Take It from Me” column “Mommy Chic” (Summer 2008). It stands in stark contrast to the Spring 2008 issue’s themes on the decline of journalism. Although I do not wish to belittle Ms. Finegold’s entrepreneurial accomplishments, I do not understand why Tufts Magazine feels it is appropriate to publish fashion tips.

It would have been far more interesting to read about how Ms. Finegold’s time at Tufts helped shape her career, about her efforts to secure venture capital, or perhaps about other truly important issues that working mothers face, such as maternal profiling. In times when even some Tufts graduates have to decide between putting food on the table, gas in the car, or making the mortgage payment, I find it difficult to sympathize with the supposed “problem” of having a chocolate handprint on designer jeans.

OUR DAILY METAPHORSIn response to Jeswald Salacuse’s column “Metaphors Are Bridges” (Summer 2008), it sounds as if some could take such metaphors literally, such as drowning in one’s work, especially when hearing about tsunamis and hurricanes on the news, with people having to evacuate during work hours. I have had a chance to travel to Laos, and I think the author did a great job of explaining how understanding and using metaphors affect our daily lives in ways greater than we could or would have expected. It made me want some sweet yams.

SYMBOLICALLY CHALLENGEDWe are new to Tufts Magazine (our daughter is a freshman). I was very impressed with the magazine, but have a request. Every article identifies the author by a symbol, which I cannot figure out. What do A, M, E, G, J, F, SMFA, BSOT—all of which I found in the Summer 2008 issue—represent? I think that you could easily add a legend in the front of the magazine explaining what these letters mean.

We are often asked about Tufts’ school and program abbreviations. A key appears in each issue on the first page of Class Notes.

  © 2008 Tufts University Tufts Publications, 80 George St., Medford, MA 02155