When Tim Vanderweert saw our “Waiting for Good Dough” cover, he writes, he feared the accompanying story would feature “a transplanted Brooklynite who was going to lecture us rubes about pizza. But you basically nailed it, given two of my three favorite pizza joints were mentioned: Italian Pizzeria 3 and Pizzeria Toro, which to my mind makes some of the best pizza I’ve ever had (and that includes John’s of Bleecker in the Village and da Michele in Naples). You missed a really good one in Raleigh: DeMo’s on Glenwood South.” Vanderweert concluded by issuing a reminder that there’s life outside of Brooklyn.

Speaking of the Big Apple, a MAGA type writing under the pseudonym Rw0864 tells Voices columnist Jonathan Weiler that Donald Trump can’t be racist because he comes from New York: “Trump would not have made it in New York if he was a racist. Secondly, why didn’t you feel this same way in regards to the Democrats’ ‘silence’ in regards to Bill Clinton having sexual activities with an intern at the White House? In fact, Mr. Clinton went on several flights with Jeffrey Epstein in 2009 and 2011.”

Finally, Peter Aitken writes in with this take on our recent story about Duke grad students’ efforts to organize: “When I got my PhD, being accepted to a good university for this degree was an earned privilege. It was for people who were really interested in the subject and wanted to do something with an advanced degree. I was being invited to study in a field I loved, with established scholars, and to prepare for a fulfilling career that would hopefully benefit society in some manner.

“This was something I was happy to pay for, and while I received a small amount of scholarship assistance, my schooling costs were mostly from my own pocket and my family. I was paid a modest amount as a teaching assistant, but that was part of my education—I was taught how to lecture, how to grade papers, etc., all skills I used later. I did a lot of research, again part of my education, and this research helped establish me as a serious scholar. And the idea of benefits? Please, be real! When grad school starts to be seen as a four-to six-year all-expense-paid postponement of real life, it can attract students without the motivation or intellect to achieve excellence.”

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One reply on “Letters: Life Beyond Brooklyn”

  1. As someone who didn’t go to a private school, and doesn’t come from a family that had the means to pay for my school, it appears to me that Paul Aitken needs to examine his fundamental assumptions about what is valuable and important in graduate school. What he is describing is an academia reserved exclusively for those who come from a background that allows for many years without appreciable income; an academia based on aristocratic notions of Noblesse oblige. If we truly value education and truly believe in a meritocratic and inclusive academia, which we should, then it’s inimical to those values to claim that graduate students should rely on family wealth and scholarships for their income.

    If you come from a working class background, graduate school is an incredibly daunting financial concern. Organizing and advocating for the interests of the students is one of the few ways that such students can work to ameliorate the massive forces arrayed against them, both formal and informal. Mr. Aitken may long for an academia filled with gentleman scholars, but the 21st Century requires more.

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