Please give us credit in knowing the difference between editorializing and reporting! Though I'm a Republican, I assure you, I am an American first and foremost and expect more from publications such as yours.

Bobby W. Chambers
Arcata, California

Sales from the crypt

I am in rare disagreement with Ridgeway. Edwards more than held his own against "Unka Dick." For anybody with a sensitive bullshit detector, Cheney's supposed gravitas comes off like an undertaker trying to sell a crypt, all unsmiling and deathly seriousness as a mask for flimflam sales tricks. I do not mistake that for authority. In fact, Cheney's mask only thinly disguises his ad hominem attacks and sheer meanness. His "resolve" rhetoric is that of the warmonger, and his fearmongering has the logic of spousal abuse: Stay with us or you'll get hurt. I'm not going to be bullied into buying, and neither was John Edwards.

Lance B. Miller
Las Vegas, Nevada

Ignoble Savage

What's up with Voice writers bashing a progressive candidate for doing what progressive candidates are supposed to do, i.e., run for office? Yes, I'm referring to "egomaniacal asswipe" Ralph Nader, and yes, I'm one of his "deluded followers"—if it's deluded to vote for the only remaining candidate who shares my view that invading Iraq was immoral and illegal. (And for anyone who still believes Kerry counts, you needn't go all the way back to his pro-war votes—just check transcripts of the Dem debates, when he postured as the real pro-war candidate.)

The above quotes are from Dan Savage [Savage Love, September 29–October 5], but other Voice writers (hi, Gary Indiana) have been just as snarky. Savage also writes, "It's the Nader voters that are most responsible for inflicting the Bush kakistocracy on their fellow Americans."

How so? More Dems voted for Bush than Nader in 2000, and obviously each of their votes damaged Gore's chances twice as much as a vote for any third-party candidate. And way more eligible voters opted not to vote at all than voted for Nader. Setting aside Gore (for running a rotten campaign) and Clinton (for his conniving legacy) it seems like Naderites in battleground states are at most third on the list of blame.

Once every four years we get a chance to tell the powers-that-be precisely what we think of them and in which direction we'd like to see the country move. I'm not going to squander that on a candidate—Kerry—who not only doesn't "esprise" me, but in fact disagrees with me (and most other progressives) on practically every major policy issue. And for this, Savage thinks I deserve "to have [my] virilia sliced off and stuffed down [my] fool throat"? Jeez.

I'm glad Dan's doing his part to keep words like kakistocracy, esprise, and virilia from obsolescence, but here's another word that's clearly in danger—democracy. Remember? That used to mean that you could vote for the person you liked, and so could I.

Michael Johnson


Congratulations to staff writer Jennifer Gonnerman, whose book, Life on the Outside: The Prison Odyssey of Elaine Bartlett (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), is a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction.


Due to a database error, the name of the director of Café Lumière appeared incorrectly in Retro & Beyond (October 13–19). The correct name is Hou Hsiao-hsien.

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