David Carter
North Highlands, California

War against euphemism

Sarah Ferguson's article did a good job demonstrating the grassroots nature of Cindy Sheehan's struggle ["Cindy Sheehan's Big Week in Washington," September 28–October 4], but the photo that appeared with it gave the subtle impression that Cindy's focus is the media. Also, Ferguson said things like Cindy "lost her son in Iraq," as if he were wandering around out there. He isn't. Casey was killed. Sheehan's motivation is pain, not only a need to change policy. She helps parents see that they could lose their children to this war—and how much it could cost their family.

Virginia Velez
San Francisco, California

Tenor right

Re "Cindy Sheehan Arrested on Sidewalk Outside White House" [September 26, villagevoice.com]: As one who was at the march in D.C., I think the Voice got the tenor of the march and the numbers closer than any other account that I've seen. In addition to the effect of the military families and vets, the somewhat "somber tone" was also influenced by the number of first-time protesters, including ex-supporters of Bush whom I spoke with and who were not particularly caught up in the more radical chanting and the more theatrical elements of the protest. However, I have heard the families and vets on the Cindy Sheehan bus tour, and I am acquainted with a few of them who live in this area. I don't really agree with Ferguson's point near the end that Cindy has "spun into the orbit of the anti-war left." At least not yet. I think she and her comrades have remained pretty clearly on her message: Not one more (death in Iraq); bring them home now. The other "wing nuts" —and whether they are more so than the counterdemonstrators I saw last Saturday is an open question—may have glommed onto her, but Cindy and her partners remain clear and moral in their message.

Bob Follansbee
Dorchester, Massachusetts


Regarding Sarah Ferguson's weird typecasting of participants at the mass civil disobedience at the White House, at which Cindy Sheehan (and many others, myself included) were arrested, you missed a few: clergy from a broad spectrum of faiths, professionals, parents of soldiers serving in Iraq, veterans of previous wars, "plain" mothers and fathers and grandparents, and an encouraging number of young people whom Ms. Ferguson would be hard-pressed to characterize as "anarch-kids." Nice job, Village Voice—the piece ultimately amounted to a bitter, (I can typecast too) sneer cast from a tony Manhattan bar at the poor relations in D.C. deluded enough to fucking do something. The dreaded mainstream media would be proud. Your corporate knickers are showing.

David C. Holcomb
Boalsburg, Pennsylvania

Sarah Ferguson replies: The cynicism I expressed when describing that civil disobedience action was directed not at Sheehan, but at those "supporters" who felt compelled to parade around bearing "Elect Nader" signs or exposing their breasts. The gravity of Sheehan and the other grieving military families and vets who got arrested was enough; why cheapen it with a circus of pet causes? I don't see Sheehan as being controlled by the myriad anti-war groups on the left, but I see the potential for her message to be derailed by competing voices.


In last week's "Arrested Development," The Squid and the Whale should have been called Noah Baumbach's fourth feature.

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