InkWell regular L.M. e-mails her comments on The Other Charlotte’s take on IWF board member Christina Hoff Sommers’ column for USA Today on the “self-esteem” folks who won’t use red pens to grade their students’ papers for fear of hurting the poor little darlings’ feelings (see TOC’s Uniquely ME!, June 1):

“People like Dr. Phil, Judge Judy, Simon Cowell, and Chef Ramsey have become roaring successes in a backlash to the self-esteem craze. I believe many Americans are so tired of the fawning and gushing and excuse-making of the past 30 years that their criticisms are a breath of fresh air.

“Does a certain amount of criticism destroy people? I think constant criticism can. However, at age 18, I went through basic military training school, where the TIs made Chef Ramsey look like Mr. Rogers. They trained us so hard that we became honor flight of the month–and we got a kick out of how much better we looked than all the other flights. And we appreciated the hard-earned praise from our TI, Sgt. Valentina Cuellar.”

Amen! I don’t tune in often to Dr. Phil or Chef Ramsey, but I’m a Judge Judy fan from way back, and Simon Cowell is in my opinion the only reason anyone wants to watch “American Idol.” Simon isn’t afraid to pull out his own red pen and tell all those no-talents that, guess what? They have no talent.

And believe me, the red-pen ban for grading is real enough. As a sometime college teacher, I can report that my many of my fellow teachers had traded in their red pens for gentle lavender. And these were teachers of college students, legal adults!