When I pulled the crane's lever, instead of going down, it went sideways. The Columbia Jester, reporting on the event, overheard a bystander say about my performance: "These college kids— they don't teach them nothing." (I don't believe there was any other press cov¬ erage of the groundbreaking, since it occurred on the same day President Eisenhower suffered his ileitis attack.) I, at least, will miss Ferris Booth. My 1967-68 Viet¬ nam tour of duty encompassed 13 months as a helicopter gunship pilot in northern "I Corps" (Hue, Dong Ha, and Khe Sanh), a period that included the Tet offensive. De Matteo, I was, and contin¬ ue to be, proud to have served my country as a Marine, but here our simi¬ larity ends. Columbia's history department, in which I teach, contains professors of all sorts of politi¬ cal opinions.
Postmodernism is, indeed, the fruit of "the relentless cult of novelty," as Solzhenitsyn put it. In 1957 the site con¬ tained outdoor tennis courts.
by David Zinman '51 22 Professor Don Melnick: Evolution of an Activist A leading Columbia scientist crosses disciplinary and institutional boundaries in his environmental teaching and research.
by Lyle Rexer '73 24 Portraits by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders ' 7 4 Capturing the unknowable souls of famous people.
His answer— "Because there was a job to be done"—is sufficient "substance" for any of us. They have shattered the conventional distinc¬ tion between good and evil; they have "deconstructed" the wisdom of the ages and have found it largely unwise and totally unreliable for the current age.
Have beliefs in the infallibility of God— or country—or race—proven any better? We now live (happily and freely, one sup- LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 3 poses) unencumbered by any "criterion of wrongness," as Richard Rorty tells us, and-in the figurative language of Professor Delbanco-we find that "there is no longer any scripture to which the missionary may turn when he wants to bring light to the savage." The situation is dire, but we can take heart, for there are still some formidable minds arrayed against the delusions of the postmodernists.