A Disinvitation Dissent
Your reference in the Week of May 20 to the “disinvitation” of Professor Harvey Mansfield by “a little college in Montreal” quite rightly notes that the reversal “deprived [graduating students] of hearing a great scholar on a great topic.”
It was, however, imprecise in stating that Liberal Arts College (Concordia University), per se, disinvited Professor Mansfield: In fact, a minority of our tenured staff fought to maintain the initial unanimous decision to invite him. Liberal Arts College is the only full-time great-books-centered core-curriculum B.A.-degree program in Western civilization and culture in Canada. The officious, offensive, and illiberal turn-down of Professor Mansfield issued from a protest against his supposed anti-feminism by a small alumni group. However, general alumni opinion since the turn-down (and the cancellation of the college’s planned Fortieth Alumni Reunion Gala) has been running ten to one against the deplatforming.
Since its foundation 40 years ago, Liberal Arts College has proudly defended freedom of expression, thought, and objective inquiry. It is important to note that those fighting the Mansfield “disinvitation” continue to do so.
Professor of History, Concordia University
Rich Lowry, in his survey of American baseball stadiums (“Fields of Beauty,” July 8), errs on the side of generosity when he describes Cleveland’s monumental Municipal Stadium as “usually half-empty.” That would amount to a crowd of about 40,000 people, which I doubt the Indians drew more than three or four times a year after their 1940s–50s heyday. (The Browns did better, of course.) Lowry must be relying on the same crowd estimator that said 2 million people — 30 percent of Hong Kong’s population — had crowded into a few downtown blocks.
But as Lowry points out, sound is also an important part of baseball, and the nearly vacant stadium was the perfect place for the reverberating war drum that a nil desperandum fan in the farthest reaches of the center-field bleachers would pound whenever the Tribe got a man on base. And of course there was the giant Chief Wahoo emblem, towering over the proceedings and grinning through it all. On the negative side, the stadium’s lakeside location could make for some stiff breezes. After one gale-force evening on the mound, the Red Sox’s Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd exclaimed, “I’d say the wind was blowing 75 or 80 percent out there” — though, as he astutely added, “that’s what happens when you build a ballpark on the ocean.”
New York, N.Y.
The photo of Memorial Stadium accompanying “Fields of Beauty” was incorrectly captioned as showing a World Series game in 1979. In fact, the photo shows a regular-season game during the 1982 season.