In Australia, we are finding the hypocrisy from the so-called leaders in "free-market trade" (i.e., the U.S.A.) quite amazing. But then again, we are slowly getting used to it. I thought you might be interested in the following article, which appeared in the June 24 Sydney Morning Herald in response to James Ridgeway's recent item in your paper on beef imports [Mondo Washington, June 29]. It reflects the feelings of many people here.
"The US propaganda war against Australian meat imports has been cranked up a notch to 'Insane', with a column in the Village Voice suggesting that Australian beef will make the Yanks terribly ill. 'Why do the Australians get to dump their meat here?' thunders Washington columnist James Ridgeway, under the heading 'E. Coli: Australian for Meat.' The learned Ridgeway reckons our beef could further pollute America's supply because our slack laws allow faecal-contaminated meat, and the flesh of sick, injured, and dying animals, to be sold in our supermarkets. Oh yes, we're all dropping like flies over here."
Avast Right-Wing Conspiracy
James Ridgeway, in "Strafing Puerto Rico" [Mondo Washington, June 22], implies that the only people who are actively protesting the U.S. Navy's actions are pro-independence forces on the island. This is not true. Puerto Ricans of all political parties are protesting what the U.S. Navy is doing. The Navy has continuously violated the accords it has signed with the government of Puerto Rico. It has lied to Puerto Ricans and it has abused us. More than 9000 people live on the island of Vieques and yet the Navy conducts bombing tests and tests in which they fire uranium-tipped shells.
It's time the U.S. Navy packed its bags and left!
Mayagüez, Puerto Rico
Marrs On Aliens
I enjoyed Jason Vest's piece about Richard Belzer's new book, UFOs, JFK and Elvis ["Stand-up Conspiracist," June 22]. But I must take issue with Vest's characterization of me as being "out there" as well as his reliance on some anonymous "veteran conspiracy researcher."
To begin with, I never asserted that the moon moves in a near perfect circular orbit. In my book Alien Agenda, I merely quoted Isaac Asimov, who said, "The chances of . . . the moon then having taken up [a] nearly circular orbit around our Earth are too small to make such an eventuality credible." This description is echoed by the new Encyclopedia Britannica, so perhaps Vest should take it up with them.
Likewise, I never stated that the moon was placed by aliens. This was a theory of Russian scientist Alexander Shcherbakov, who wrote this in the journal Sputnik. This theory was taken quite seriously by Carl Sagan in his youthful years, especially concerning Mars's moon, Phobos. I'm a journalist, not a scientist. I report what the experts say without slanting my writing to fit my mind-set.
Perhaps Vest should be more careful of blindly taking the word of an anonymous source (I mean, a "veteran conspiracy researcher and fan of Belzer's" could be your mother!) and simply check with me . . . better yet, read Alien Agenda before making judgments about me or my writing.
Jason Vest replies: The matter of the moon's origins had nothing to do with "blindly taking the word of an anonymous source." According to Phoenix New Times reporter Tony Ortega's account of Marrs's speech at the Seventh Annual International UFO Congress last year, Marrs did indeed assert before an audience that the moon travels "in a nearly perfect circular orbit," cited this as proof of extraterrestrial planetary engineering, and punctuated this claim with the rhetorical question, "I don't have to explain this. You all believe this, right?" As for the anonymous source, I assure you it was not my mother, or anyone else related to me.
I was thrilled to see Grady Hendrix's piece about the Music Palace movie theater in Chinatown ["Action Pack," June 29]. Although its programming is erratic, it is always a unique experience. They play Hong Kong pop music between shows! I was especially excited to learn A Man Called Hero, which stars Yuen Biao, one of the finest martial arts artists in film history, and Gen-X Cops will be playing soon.
Based on information provided to the Voice by the New York Police Department about the shooting of a drug suspect by a sergeant, Peter Noel reported, in "Execution-Style" (June 22), that the shooting had not been made public by the department. The department subsequently informed the Voice that it had prepared a public-information sheet about the incident.
Letters should be brief, and phone numbers must be included. All letters are subject to editing for clarity, legal, and space considerations. Send mail to: Letters to the Editor, The Village Voice, 36 Cooper Square, New York, NY 10003. Or fax to 212-475-8944 or e-mail to email@example.com. E-mail letters must include phone numbers.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.