Letter of The Week
Re Sarah Ferguson's "Cindy Sheehan Arrested at the U.S. Mission to the U.N." [villagevoice.com, March 6]: Sheehan's arrest belies the very concept of democracyboth the one we allegedly have in the U.S. and the one we're allegedly fighting for in Iraq. The excuse of those who would not receive her peace letter in public because "she wanted a media event" is a lame one. Isn't the Iraqi war itself a daily media event? Doesn't Bush hold many media events to propagate support for his viewpoint? Our constitution guarantees free speech, free association, and the right to assemble to all Americans. Sheehan's arrest violates those rights. A foolish moveit will only serve to radicalize others to her cause, and the next protest will be even bigger. It would have been more astute for at least one person to accept her peace letter in person (media notwithstanding) with graciousness.
Mother knows best
Thanks to Sarah Ferguson for her story about the arrest of Cindy Sheehan, Medea Benjamin, and others ["Cindy Sheehan Arrested at the U.S. Mission to the U.N.," villagevoice.com, March 6] during their efforts to deliver a message to our ambassador to the U.N. It's encouraging to learn that women from Iraq and the United States are banding together to bring an end to this disastrous war in Iraq. This important story was not carried in our local press. As a mother and grandmother, I find hope in the determination of other women to stop the killing. Julia Howe pointed out many years ago: We women are too tenderhearted to have our sons taught to kill other mothers' sons.
As a journalist, I am extremely offended by Jarrett Murphy's recent article on the 9-11 Truth movement ["The Seekers: The Birth and Life of the '9-11 Truth' Movement," February 2228], which greatly distorted both the intent and motivation behind our getting at the truth behind 9-11. For instance, the article tries to harm the reputation of Alex Jones, one of the most heroic truth-telling journalists. Every article that Jones publishes on his website is meticulously researched, and reference sources are always provided. Murphy's article failed to mention that back in 1993 The New York Times pointed out the FBI's involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The Times is a major media outlet, and hardly a conspiracy theory rag. A CNN poll released in 2004 found that 89 percent of respondents believe that there was a government cover-up of 9-11. This is yet another major media outlet. The journalistic quality of Murphy's article is poor.
Kent Daniel Bentkowski
Buffalo, New York
Jarrett Murphy replies: The lone mention of Alex Jones in my 2,500-word piece merely stated Jones's beliefs that the FBI orchestrated the '93 WTC attack and that the 9-11 Commission released the 2001 PDB merely to cloak the conspiracy. The 1993 Times article cited above reported that an FBI informant who had been feuding with the bureau claimed that he warned agents of the attack ahead of time and they failed to respond, but cites no evidence that the feds knew the specifics of the planned attack. As for the poll numbers, they must always be treated with caution: A December 2005 Fox News survey found that 61 percent of Americans still believe Iraq had WMD before the war and either destroyed or still has them.
Over the past few weeks, some of the most vital, thoughtful, and incisive columns in the Voice's print edition have disappeared: Mondo Washington, Press Clips, The Essay, not to mention the termination of Bush Beat. While a feature-length article on dating is somewhat interesting and informative, it contains only a fraction of the insight and impact of one Schanberg paragraph. At the very least, please respond and let the readers know why these changes are being made, and what the editor ultimately hopes the print Voice will contain.
Re James Ridgeway's "South Dakota's Genius Scheme to Outlaw Abortion" [Mondo Washington, villagevoice.com, February 24]: The governor of South Dakota claims that banning all abortion in his state was the right thing to do because it will protect the most vulnerable "persons" in society. Yet there are a number of actual persons who are extremely vulnerable in this society, persons who are indeed vulnerable to rape and incest, persons whose vulnerability to natural disasters is compounded by their poverty, persons overseas who are vulnerable to collateral damage as a result of, for example, the Iraq war. There are a great number of vulnerable persons in this world to whom these right-wing fundamentalists don't claim any responsibility. In fact, by the logic of the South Dakota law, a girl or woman who is the victim of rape or incest, who happens to become impregnated on top of surviving a horrific ordeal, must carry a pregnancy to term. Doubly victimized. Under the South Dakota law the morning-after pill would also be banned. If the condom breaks, you're out of luck.
Forest Hills, Queens
In J. Hoberman's review of V for Vendetta ["Anarchy in the U.K.," March 1521] he makes the absurd claim that the Gunpowder Plot, if successful, would have "vaporized half of London" and "offered a foretaste of Hiroshima." The 36 barrels of black powder used in the Gunpowder Plot weighed about 2.5 tons, equal in explosive power to less than one ton of TNT (black powder being a much less powerful explosive than TNT). It was a pretty big bomb, about equal to a standard U.S. military 2,000-pound bomb, and could easily have destroyed Parliament, but it was a wet firecracker compared to the Hiroshima bomb (with about 1/15,000 of its power) and could not possibly have come anywhere near destroying half of London. While no one should expect a movie reviewer to have a detailed knowledge of explosives, surely even someone in that profession could be expected to see something inherently unlikely in the idea of a 17th-century Hiroshima.
I was a little surprised by Joy Press's review of Doctor Who ["Back to the Future, With Better FX: A New Doctor Is In," March 1521]. While Press shows that she clearly remembered the old series fondly, she makes a statement about the structure of the new series more in line with that of a casual reviewer watching the two review tapes sent to the media. Press's observation that all stories in the new series are "resolved within a single episode," with the result that the "thrill-filled cliffhangers of yore are gone," is just not the case. People with more than a passing interest in the revived series who were following the run from afar during the Beeb's first window last year in real time learned that three of the stories went over two episodes, with the requisite tension- inducing breaks in the middle. That makes three cliffhangers in a series of 13 episodes, a pretty good percentage. The point of this letter is not to complain about Press's otherwise decent review so much as it is an attempt to correct a faulty assumption.
There actually is a plot thread in Doctor Who that lasts through the season, you just don't realize exactly what's going on for half the season. Remember, the season debuting on the SciFi channel is a year old and some of us have seen the whole thing, as opposed to a couple of episodes. (Incidentally, the first episode might be the worst of the lotprobably a factor in why Doctor Who is a year behind in the U.S.)
Good day for naturopathy
Re Aina Hunter's article "Naturopath vs. Naturopath" [March 814]: I appreciate the Voice's attempt to educate the public about naturopathic medicine. Unfortunately, little emphasis was given to educating your readers about the health benefits of working with a credited naturopathic doctor. Instead, it seems the focus was on only conflict, and my concern is that your readers will only feel confused and consequently scared to work with a naturopathic doctor. That is a shame, for I see the daily benefits and healing of the naturopathic approachand this deserves some discussion too.
I love the article "Hot Sex With a Porn Director" [Lusty Lady, March 1521] by Rachel Kramer Bussel. I just got back from two weeks in Europe with my girlfriend and we had some of the hottest sex we've ever had. Bussel's article reminds me of the great sex that we just finished enjoying. Thanks for bringing me right back to a great time. I love Bussel's writing.
Warwick, Rhode Island
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