Letters to MotherJones.com

Jim Lehrer sells out
Sesame Street Meets Wall Street
03/30/01

Over the years I’ve grown increasingly irritated with PBS “commercials.”

The News Hour has always been a staple around our house. One of my greatest disappointments in recent times was watching Jim Lehrer host the sham that was called the presidential debates.

When the major parties took the debates away from the League of Women Voters, excluded any other participants, and set their own rules, I wondered who would moderate. Surely none of the media’s big names would go along with it, particularly those like Jim Lehrer and Bernie Shaw, who have principles to uphold. Surprise.

More and more often now, at 7 p.m., we just leave the television off.

T. L. Reeder
Fredericksburg, Va.


 

Remodelling Dallas
Et tu, America?
03/30/01

The city of Dallas has always had more respect for developers’ money than neighborhoods, trees, parks, or historical buildings. In our town, all you have to do is buddy up with someone in city or state government, and you can convert your tired old 1900s garage into a new closet. Being in Bush country sure sucks, doesn’t it? Oh wait, the whole country is Bush country…

Kimberly Wood
Dallas, Texas


 

Glocks are just like other guns
Light Triggers, Hefty Profits
03/30/01

The Glock pistol is designed to operate simply. The gun is meant to fire when the trigger is pulled. That is what a gun is supposed to do. The vast majority of accidental discharges are due to lack of training. Some cops do not practice with their firearm anywhere near as much as we would like to think. The accidental discharges also may also be due to a dirty or broken gun. There is nothing inherently more dangerous about a Glock as opposed to other guns.

Bradley Pascone

 

FBI’s gun of choice
Light Triggers, Hefty Profits
03/30/01

You pointed out that in 1988 the FBI said that Glocks were dangerous. Twelve years later, after evaluating numerous firearms, guess what the standard duty weapon is for the FBI? The Glock 23.

Ken Siverts
Glendale, Ariz.


 

A potato in every pot
03/30/01

It should come as no surprise that Bush is pushing this tax plan. It’s time for him to pay back all the special interest money that he got for his campaign. He is busy turning his back on minorities, women, working-class taxpayers, and families. No wonder the economy is slowing. Bush is simply there to feather his own nest and those of his wealthy cohorts. I think the rest of us should prepare for the potato soup diet and hope we can afford the potatoes.

Daryl G Crouse
Tolleson, Ariz.


 

Put it in better perspective
Et tu, America?
03/29/01

In keeping with Mojo’s far left political philosophy, this article is realy quite absurd and does not seriously adress the outrageousness of what the Taliban did. To equate the abandonment of a trolley car system to the destruction of 1,600-year-old religious symbols is nonsense.

Stanley Blumberg

 

World cultures beware
Et tu, America?
03/29/01

I agree wholeheartedly with Ted Rall. But we’ve also shown a penchant for destroying culture and history of other countries. For example: The U’wa people in Colombia. Many leaders and concerned citizens from various countries — including the US — have begged and petitioned for the U’wa history to be left to them.

But as part of the “War on Drugs,” we pillage their land and ravish the people, all the while holding ourselves up to the world as a monitor, a leader of people’s rights.

Millie Seewald

 

Keep your opinions off of my property
Et tu, America?
03/29/01

I think people who want to protect “the cool things that were sitting there” should put up their own money to buy it and maintain it. Why should a property owner have to give up his/her property rights to satisfy someone else’s idea of what should be preserved?

Kim Rowe
Corvallis, Ore.


 

Selfishness backfired
Cyberselfish Redux
03/29/01

I worked at Cisco for several years about 10 years ago. I actually admired and respected the passion of everyone to change the world; it was like that then. Later I helped start another pile of Silicon Valley start-ups. A few years back, Silly Valley became “Hollywood North” when people began bitching because they only made $50 million when they could have held out and made $100 million. It started annoying me.

I, too, became incredibly rich almost overnight as I charged fees, which included stock, for my role in starting tech companies. My wealth on paper far exceeded what I ever dreamed or imagined. Now it’s all gone, but my life is better without the paper money.

I left the Valley last year. I cashed out some and bought a hotel in Costa Rica. I do humanitarian projects here. I live in a simpler life with a tiny house and work on a bunch of projects to help schools, hospitals, drug and alcohol rehabs that have nothing.

I am so happy that I left all that SIlly Valley stuff behind. It became such a sick, self-serving, political mess that ultimately serves no one.

Robbie Felix
Costa Rica


 

Bad felon, no vote
Voteless in Florida
03/28/01

Taking voting rights away from felons seems like nothing more than lawmakers playing to that ignorant segment of society that thinks that our penal system coddles its wards. And since no mortal torture is bad enough for those unredeemable scumbags selling crack to our precious darlings, what’s the big deal about suffrage?

Eric Zamonski

 

Fight on, Pine Ridge
Re: “The Drug War Comes to the Rez
03/28/01

I have friends in Pine Ridge. They have no jobs, no money, receive commodities or food stamps, suffer from diabetes and alcoholism — and they still have hope. Thank you for printing a story like this. Ignorance is no longer an acceptable excuse from this great independent nation we call America. Some 558 Indian Nations are rebuilding their lives and future. Some day soon things will be different.

Trace A. DeMeyer
Pequot Times Editor
Mashantucket, Conn.


 

Assuming the missile shield actually worked …
Re: “Star Wars:The Next Generation
03/28/01

If any country ever decides to launch a nuclear attack, I hope that we will be prepared to defend against it. It’s ok if we are wrong, and spend money needlessly. But, it’s inexcusable if the anti-BMD crowd is wrong and millions die because of it.

Jeff Schulmeister

 

Guy movies, not guys, are dumb
Re: “Celluloid Sirens, Then and Now
03/27/01

As a 20-year-old man, I can relate to the preponderance of male-dominated films, both in storyline, imagery, and personality. Granted, I like films like “Gladiator” and “Star Wars” as much as the next person, but I definitely don’t need some sort of testosterone-filled screen to make my day. I’m just as happy watching films that reflect more reality than that, which usually means I am in the minority amongst my similarly-aged male friends.

I like movies that make me think. I like movies about women who are strong, individualistic characters. I don’t like movies that are so chock full of nudity, violence, and obscenities that I feel insulted when I leave the theater, as though I were too stupid for moviemakers to create a decent film for me to enjoy.

I love older movies. It’s sad, but true: society is reflected in the media as though it were still the 50s. When popular magazines like Maxim and Cosmopolitan both portray women as existing solely for the pleasure of their man, then something is clearly wrong with the morality and intelligence of the society.

The way the media portrays women is sick — worse, it’s dangerous. By propagating such Tarzanesque stereotypes of females, new generations of men that are being trained to see women as subservient to themselves are being cultivated. This just results in more media stereotyping in the future.

Dan Eugea
Senior
University of Illinois


 

What show were you watching?
Re: “Celluloid Sirens, Then and Now
03/27/01

This is a poor example of journalism.

You take an interesting and complex subject (pre-code Hollywood films) and simplify it until it makes no sense. Then you slant your story to fit modern prejudice while blasting the rest of the entertainment industry for doing the same.

Worst of all, you don’t seem to understand anything about the stories you watch. In the future I will spend a lot more time with The Philadelphia Story than I will with anything written by this author.

Carl Dexter

 

You get what you vote for
Re: “All I Need is the Air That I Breathe
03/27/01

People deserve the leaders they follow. The fact that Bush didn’t really win the election is of no consequence — 48 million Americans voted for him. These 48 million Americans want more arsenic in their drinking water, and dirtier air for their children. They love Bush and will follow him anywhere.

In California, millions of voters supported deregulation. They believed the nice men and woman on TV who told them they would soon be enjoying the cheapest electric rates in America. Now, of course, they are blaming everyone but themselves for their ignorance and gullibility.

America has welfare recipients who would like to see Rush Limbaugh president. Here in America we don’t want universal health care because we don’t like socialists and commies. After all, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson are our national conscience. Under Bush’s faith-based initiatives these folks will be forcing their God on you in return for a little food and some help with the rent.

And then there’s the “news”. We have a few corporate-owned networks whose talking heads prattle banalities at us while the leaders we may or may not have elected continually find more creative ways of hiding the pea under the shell.

When Americans are left shivering in the dark in their underwear the leaders it has chosen to follow will surely point at someone else to blame. Sadly, Americans, in their ignorance and anger, will be quick to do the same.

Jonathan Faulkner

 

The truth is hard to find
Re: “All I Need is the Air That I Breathe
03/27/01

I’m disturbed when the truth is hidden or manipulated in this country. It’s no better than Saddam Hussein’s manipulation of Iraqis. It’s painful to see us honor those who have illegally mined the Nicaraguan harbors, ignored the AIDS epidemic, played dumb during Iran Contra, and who’ve cut medical funding while building missiles.

Hopefully my children will know that there are groups so void of heroes — yet so desperate to be seen in a positive light — that they are willing to distort reality in order to achieve their goals.

Nathan James

 

Footing the bill for Reagonomics
Re: “Sugarcoating Reagan
03/26/01

I think Reagan’s legacy is the one that future generations will be paying for for many years — in the form of the national debt. Just think: For every $1,000 you fork over in federal taxes, about $200 of that will go to help pay for the Reagan legacy.

Mike Taylor
Cedar Rapids, Iowa


 

Memory splits along racial lines
Re: “American Memory Deficit Disorder
03/26/01

This article brings up some valid, often frustrating points about Americans, although I would hardly call hanging onto blood feuds for hundreds of years a virtue in any way, shape, or form.

There is one case where Mr. Rall is wrong about Americans, though, and that is in black and white dynamics. Blacks refuse to forget that the whites enslaved them, while the whites refuse to remember.

Steve Kuchinsky

 

Knowing and ironic, but still oppressed
Re: “Celluloid Sirens, Then and Now
03/26/01

Compliments to Mick La Salle on his recognition of the difference between true feminism and Spice Girl-esque “Girl Power”. The current state of pop culture reflects a chilling and insidious trend: the co-opting and exploitation of the ideal of female sexual empowerment for the purposes of advertising and sales. True, Cameron Diaz shakes her booty with a knowing smile and tongue-in-cheek; but does this make her any less of a vehicle in the reinforcement and perpetuation of an oppressive patriarchal system?

The post-modern excuse of irony is the biggest cop-out of our era and it permeates virtually every aspect of popular culture. The once-revered virtue of earnesty is now sneered at, and the uber-hip foil of irony is used as a blanket justification for any lack of true creativity and thoughtfulness. La Salle encompasses the true essence of what is at stake in his question: “Who is the joke on, really?” It’s refreshing and exhilarating to see someone hit the nail so keenly on the head.

Amanda Paxton
Canada


 

Liberal judgements misguided
Re: “Celluloid Sirens, Then and Now
03/26/01

The ideas you express are just as narrow-minded and a cause of stereotypical portrayals as the films you criticize. What a boring world it would be if you were in charge. Every movie would have to have perfect female role models as the central piece. Aren’t there bad, stupid, talented, intelligent, manipulative, noble, and passionate people out there in the world of both genders?

Your complaints and “solutions” show a type of thinking typical in this world — the swinging pendulum. If one thing is wrong, then surely the opposite side of the tracks must be right? If females are stereotyped in a negative way, shouldn’t we “swing the other way” and stereotype them in a positive way? No. There just shouldn’t be stereotypes, boundaries on what an “acceptible” character is.

Tom W. Paton

 

Lotto economics a bad bet
Re: “Lotto Economics
03/25/01

I found the reference to online bookselling rather timely. I am waiting for several books that I have ordered through one of the major online bookstores. The wait has already been over six weeks and I have even had orders cancelled after waiting three months for a book to ship that was listed as “usually ships in 7 days.”

I notice that while you picked up on poor e-commerce service, you missed the real burn of mail-in rebates. Companies continually offer rebates with an anticipation of 25% redemption rate, and when the rates are higher than that they take forever to send them.

Mark Shmitt

 

Left-wing loonies
Re: “Sugarcoating Reagan
03/24/01

While you leftover hippies were whining about Reagan all those years, some of us were out making something of ourselves. It’s selfish, true, but we’re really sorry. I suppose you will cry about W for another four years — eight, God willing.

But take heart: At least you can watch President Bartlett once a week in the only example of socialism that ever works.

Paul Sidwell
Salem, Ohio
Landowner, NRA life member, capitalist-at-large