I prefer to believe that there is something I don’t know about Greek mythology than that both Dr. John Willson, in “The End of a Myth” (Views, April), and the Chronicles copyeditor could mistakenly confuse Icarus with Phaeton. Are they really—at least sometimes—the same person? My Edith Hamilton seems to imply that Ovid is our only source for the Phaeton story, but perhaps Dr. Willson knows about another tradition regarding the unfortunate young charioteer that identifies him with the similarly hubris-ridden Icarus.
By the way, in the same article there seems to be something missing in the third item of the series of modifiers describing the circumstances of that idiot SUV mom. What word was intended to begin the phrase “a decent job with a local government bureaucracy . . . ”? As it now reads, job stands in apposition to woman, which, of course, makes no sense. With a job? Possessing a job? Affirmative-actionized-because-she’s-a-dame into a job?
Another great issue, by the way. When there are contributions in the same month by both the Michigan Willson and the South Carolina Wilson, I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot.
—Fr. Steven Allen
St. Clair Shores, MI
Dr. Willson Replies:
Let me thank you, Father Allen, for putting me in the same sentence and on the same level with Clyde Wilson. It humbles me. The points you bring up are both well taken. I once (in the early days of laptops) told a class of students that the 1965-66 Syracuse basketball team, the two stars of which were Dave Bing and Jim Boeheim, averaged 100 points per game. Within seconds a young man in the back row produced proof that they averaged only 99, having failed by one basket in the last game of scoring enough to make the century mark. I thought I learned a great lesson from that young man, but find that I still slip sometimes. Icarus, as you and Edith Hamilton suggest, was not driving the phaeton; it is an offhand, unchecked mistake, for which I apologize and take responsibility.
The “idiot SUV mom” was indeed that, about which I think we entirely agree, if not necessarily about the grammar.