Whoever wrote "Right or wrong, corporal punishment can produce winners" (The Foreign Element, March 12) picked an excellent pseudonym.

"Richard Parker" has a long fictional and actual history.

In the Marvel Universe, Richard Parker is the father of Peter Parker, Spider-Man.

You'd think that would be a good thing, but considering Richard Parker died from torture, perhaps not.

Then there was Richard Parker of "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket," Edgar Allan Poe's 1838 novel. In it, Richard Parker is a cabin boy, eaten alive by his starving shipmates.

Of course, that was only a novel, it didn't happen. Until the 1884 sinking of the yacht Mignonette and the actual eating alive of cabin boy Richard Parker.

Two Richard Parkers, dead in fictional fear and terror. One Richard Parker, dead in real fear and terror.

Which makes using "Richard Parker" to excuse fear and terror highly ironic and most appropriate!


Winnipeg, Manitoba

Send your comments on the issue of corporal punishment to The Community Chest at [email protected]. For more views on the Richard Parker article, check out the comments below the original article online and last week's Community Chest column, "Consensus: Corporal punishment in sports misguided, demoralizing, backward," on our website.