I am writing to you because I want you to know how much I appreciate you paper. The Rick Zedník article ["Culture Shock: In Bratislava, you are what you read," Vol. 5 No. 40, Oct. 25-31] really hit the nail on the head! The accompanying cartoon was very good too.
I was somewhat shocked when I came to teach here in 1992 to find my students unabashedly looking at the page 5 topless girl [in the Nový Čas daily] in class! Such a paper would not find favor with any teacher in Canada.
Why are there so many papers in this country, most of which say nothing worth reading? Some smart enterpriser should buy the whole lot and amalgamate them into one national paper, but in Slovakia that will never happen.
It is a pity that more people don't know English, but I feel that almost all who do, buy and read The Spectator.
In the same issue, the article on the dire straits faced by Slovak artists gives an exact picture of the situation. I can't agree with the artists' premise, that they should be funded by the state. In Canada, Celine Dione, Shania Twain, Brian Adams, Maureen Forrester and the great tenor Ben Heppner were not funded by the government. We believe that if an artist has it, the public will support him, and if he doesn't, no amount of public support will make him good. I attended a few so-called 'modern' concerts here, and in all cases, I wished that I had stayed at home. I found that all were straining to be 'Slovak' but with strong American overtones, which did not work for me.
But the classical works here are excellent, in opera, ballet and symphonic music. They all compare well with the Kirov and Bolshoi, and I am proud of them. Some of the finest voices are to be found here - of course, probably trained with the support of state funding?
Keep up the good work.