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Mizzou Mail

Readers react to Fall issue

Reaction to the Fall 2010 issue of MIZZOU magazine was mixed. Some of you thought the docu- mentary photographs of Golden Girls tryouts weren’t appropriate but declined offers to publish your opinions. Others applauded the storytelling, saying it recognized the spirit squad for its efforts and athleticism. Reaction to the story about Shane Hoffman was over-the-top positive. The young man’s journey from Ruidoso, N.M., to Columbia, Mo., is nothing short of amazing. As always, thanks for the feedback, negative and positive. Keep writing, and keep reading.

MIZZOU magazine staff

Reader is appalled

My husband is a proud alumnus of Missouri and therefore receives your magazine. While we were both a little surprised by the cover photo, I was disappointed and upset by the photo on Page 26 [“Going for golden,” Fall 2010] of the women on the floor of the gym. It is inappropriate for not only this magazine but any magazine. I am sure that the girls who were photographed with their legs spread are embarrassed. I would never have thought to take such a picture, let alone publish such a picture. Is that really the best you could do? The article implies that the girls were trying out for at least 10 hours. In those 10 hours, I believe that you would have been able to get a better picture. A photo of all of the girls who were trying out would have been more appropriate and a nice way to recognize them for their interest and effort. You should be ashamed of yourselves, and I hope the girls in the photo make their opinions known to you. I went to see who supplied the photos for this article because I was going to address them by name in my salutation. How disgraceful (but not surprising) that both of them are men.

Kristin Murphy, Bristow, Va.

Not at all appalled

After reading Kristin Murphy’s letter to the editor about the Golden Girls story in the Fall 2010 issue [Going for Golden], I had to go get my copy of the magazine in order to look at the article and pictures again. As a 1972 MU graduate, I found nothing wrong with the pictures that accompanied the story and neither did my wife, who graduated from college in 1981. The “gym” photograph specifically mentioned was a wide angle shot of a number of girls sitting on the floor, doing exercises, etc. There wasn’t anything risqué or improper about it — nothing to complain about. In addition, I can safely say my mother-in-law, who is 75 years old and rather straight-laced, would agree there was nothing inappropriate about the photographs contained in this article.

Paul Shepard, BA ’72, Sedalia, Mo.

Cover comment

What fun the old Missouri Showme staff could have had with that silly cover and caption! Marjorie Loughead Reedy, BJ ’49, Sanford, N.C.

Radar up

I admit it: My feminist radar was on high alert when I saw that MIZZOU magazine was featuring the Golden Girls [“Going for golden,” Fall 2010]. But I was impressed with how you portrayed the women as athletes and dancers throughout.

The article gave a good sense of how much hard work is required of the squad members. This is not to say that I would expect MIZZOU magazine to be sexist, but that is always a danger when the focus is on women who wear revealing uniforms on the field. The photos were stunning — they played with shadow and light, used repetition, captured movement — all of the technical qualities we admire in good photography. More importantly to me, the photos avoided objectifying the women in a fashion expected for performers who are often considered mere accessories to the football program. Instead, the photographs depicted the ambition and athleticism of these students.

Amanda Hinnant, MA ’99, assistant professor, School of Journalism, Columbia

A code to socks?

Is there a significance to the fact that some of the Golden Girls hopefuls on the Fall 2010 cover [“The making of a Golden Girl”] are only wearing one sock? Also, some expose the heel on the foot that is wearing a sock.

Is there some secret code to this? Does this mean Paul really is dead?

Bob Wagner, BJ ’74, Flagler Beach, Fla.

Editor’s note: Here’s the answer to your question, straight from Golden Girls’ Coach Shannon Fry: “In a studio setting, most dancers these days do not wear shoes. That particular weekend was extremely hot, which makes the floor sticky and difficult to turn. Sometimes dancers will wear a ‘foot paw,’ which is kind of a half shoe or suede glove that covers the ball of the foot, to help. If they don’t have a foot paw, they might put on a sock and roll it down. Having their heel exposed can help give a little traction if they need it. Like anything, some dancers don’t practice this, but others find it helpful.”

More on spirit squads

I just received the latest issue of MIZZOU magazine [Fall 2010] in the mail and was impressed with the story about the Golden Girls. It was well done and nice to see those women be recognized for their efforts, talent and dedication. That said, I would like to point out that they are not the only “spirit members” for the university. The cheerleaders, Truman the Tiger, Marching Mizzou and Feature Twirlers are at every game and compete at nationals just like the Golden Girls, but they don’t get nearly as much attention. I am a former Mizzou cheerleader, and my husband is a former Truman the Tiger. We hope that every team in the spirit program can be recognized for its efforts, talent and dedication to the wonderful university that we all love dearly.

Molly Lyman, BS Ed ’05, M Ed ’06, Columbia

Impressed with tenacity

I just finished reading the “Shane comes back” article in the latest MIZZOU magazine [Fall 2010]. I’m so glad you chose to do a story on this young man. I was very impressed by his tenacity on working toward his goal, despite the challenges and hurdles that life threw at him. I feel so proud of him and wish him all the best in his future. Heidi Snipes Marc-Aurele, BS ’79 Poway, Calif. Overcoming struggles Thanks for Marcus Wilkins’ great article on Shane Hoffman [“Shane comes back,” Fall 2010] and the struggles he overcame to graduate from Mizzou. It’s stories like his that give me greater confidence that America’s best days are still ahead. I’m also proud that MU administrators and educators recognized and rewarded his achievements along the way. That’s public education at its zenith.

John D. Foster, BJ ’69, M Ed ’78, Carthage, Texas

A sense of place

The story about Shane Hoffman and his family is one of the best I have seen in MIZZOU magazine [“Shane comes back,” Fall 2010]. It was particularly of interest to me as a graduate of MU and a former resident of New Mexico. I spent 10 years in Albuquerque as originator, with the help of many others, of the New Mexico Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. As a result, I have been to Ruidoso and have a sense of his background. He is to be congratulated for his persistence. The author [Marcus Wilkins] is also to be congratulated. Thanks for an interesting and informative human interest story.

Clair M. Hibbs, BS Ag ’49, DVM ’53, Lynden, Wash.

Recollections of Douglas

Your article on Mary Burch Nirmaier [“Flying high,” Semper Mizzou, Fall 2010] was particularly interesting for the mention that she served 14 months’ active duty in Douglas, Ariz. My dad, John Preston MacMurray, was stationed at Douglas during that time as a physical training instructor and later on Guard Squad; he also played on its highly successful baseball team. I have the yearbook and a few photos. My mother, Lerelene Greenhaw MacMurray, was a civilian employee at the base (she moved down from Safford, Ariz., because the base had better-paying jobs). My mom and dad met there, married in 1944 and stayed married until 1997, when dad passed away. It’s not often you run across people who have even heard of Douglas, much less been there.

John MacMurray, M Ed ’06, La Habra, Calif.

Editor’s note: Nirmaier died Aug. 29, 2010, at University Hospital. She was 89 years old.

Circuitous route

I was a philosophy major at Mizzou, and I recently read the current issue of MIZZOU that featured some former liberal arts students’ careers [“On the job,” Fall 2010]. After graduating, I moved to Portland, Ore., and became interested in film. A big part of it actually was because when I was at Mizzou, I started going to the Ragtag Cinema to see the foreign, independent and classic films. I came to Oregon and found myself flocking to the same types of films at theaters here. One of those theaters had a film school, and I started taking classes and interning there. After a couple of years, I found a job at a postproduction company basically getting lunches. I climbed the ranks, got hired at an animation studio as a coordinator, and now I’m a producer. I’m actually on my way to work on a feature in Canada for eight months as a visual effects producer and coordinator. I have been at Bent Image Lab for the past three years, and I’ve worked on approximately 40 commercials [bentimagelab.com].

I liked the article because it made me think about the strange, circuitous route I took. It’s also funny to think that my exposure and interest in film is linked to a combination of my education at Mizzou and the culture of Columbia. I have a good friend from Mizzou who lives in Portland, too. Dustin Hammen was a religious studies major, and he is now a touring musician and works at a winery in the Columbia Gorge.

Ryan Shanholtzer, BA ’02, Portland, Ore.

Those bassin’ Tigers

Glad to see Mizzou doing so well in bass fishing tournaments [“A Tiger fish story,” Fall 2010]. I would have certainly tried out for a team had there been one years ago. I spent many hours bass fishing at Little Dixie Lake while a student at Mizzou in the ’70s and continue to fish every chance I get. More than one of my professors shared my boat with me back then, so I’d have to say that part of my success at Columbia was due to bass angling. Wonder if the current anglers here have found my “secret ledges” at Little Dixie Lake?

Nick Hamra, BS Ed ’75, M Ed ’78, Chesterfield, Mo.

Changes destroy character

As someone who reads MIZZOU with great interest, I was pleased to see the “Then and now” feature [Summer 2010]. While many of the pictures brought back fond memories of my eight years in Columbia, I was also struck by a familiar feeling as I looked at the “now” photos. Perhaps it’s nostalgia, but I couldn’t help but feel that the changes that have been made to the campus destroyed much of its mood and character, albeit in favor of state-of-the-art facilities. The old mix of locally owned businesses and student hangouts have been traded for manicured landscaping and nondescript architecture. I’ve lived in university communities my entire life and sadly this trend has not been confined to Mizzou. Perhaps students 40 years from now will look back fondly and remember nights in the new Student Center, but I doubt that their memories will be fueled by the ambiance and sheer character of the place.

Richard A. Straw, PhD ’80, Radford, Va.

Grateful football player

I am appreciative that my article [“A Tiger recalls glory days,” Fall 2010] was included in MIZZOU magazine. The overall quality of the magazine is always first class, and it is a real honor to contribute to its impact on our Mizzou graduates. Proud to be a Tiger!

Russ Sloan, BS Ed ’61, M Ed ’63, Leesburg, Fla.

The next generation

Ben Holden

Passing down the Mizzou legacy is important to our family. My husband, Larry F. Beck, BS BA ’66, and I, Gwen Stewart Beck, BS Ed ’66, are proud Mizzou graduates. Our oldest child, Nicole Beck Thompson, BS BA ’94, her husband, Michael P. Thompson, BS Ag ’95, and our second child, Justin F. Beck, BS BA, BS BA ’96, all are Tigers.

You may wonder how the generation below us is passing down the legacy. The Thompson family lives in Columbia. The entire family tailgates with Grandpa and Grandma before home football games. Our grandchildren are filled with Mizzou spirit. Our little granddaughter, Sophia Thompson, idolizes the Golden Girls. For her 4th birthday, Sophia requested a Golden Girl outfit.

Sophia’s mother, Nicole, found the white boots online. As for the dress, Nicole designed it herself. You can’t imagine the squeals of delight when Sophia opened this special gift on her birthday, Jan. 23, 2010. When Sophia attends Mizzou football games, she stands on the bleachers and imitates whatever the Golden Girls are doing.

Gwendolyn S. Beck, Jefferson City, Mo.