Letters

From the week of October 25-31, 2001

A Whale of a Tale

Spouting praise: I spent an hour or so enjoying your article on whales ("Survival," David Holthouse, October 11). I want to compliment your story for being well-written and taking me to a place that I most likely will never visit. I was completely intrigued by the people in the story, their lives and the description of the characteristics of the people. They are living a life that most will never experience, and I found it to be an inspiration of human fortitude and the environmental desperation that is always present, but always hidden. I am sure that this was an adventure of a lifetime and I am grateful that such accounts can be shared.

Jeffrey Fivecoats
Phoenix

Maher-ed Appearance

I'm just a Bill: Steven L. Toth describes Bill Maher as "a stupid prick who thinks he has something important to say" (Letters, October 11). In all the years I've been on this planet, I cannot think of a more perfect illustration of the pot calling the kettle black. Mr. Toth, if your head wasn't so far up your ass, you'd realize that Bill Maher intended his remarks as a criticism of the previous (Clinton) administration and the military top brass, not President Bush or the men and women on the front line. You would also have noticed that many in the media, including some prominent right-wing talk-show hosts, have expressed their concern about Maher's treatment. Although many disagree with Maher's comments, all defend his right to make them; some have also wondered aloud if a media clamp-down on controversy means that they could be next.

Freedom of speech (together with a free press/media) is one of the things that makes this country great and the envy of the rest of the world. To attempt to deny others this basic right because you happen to disagree with what they say, while at the same time calling yourself a patriot, is not just ludicrous, it's completely hypocritical. I suggest you read the U.S. Constitution!

John Rycraft
Scottsdale

His father's son: I, too, agree with Bill Maher that it does not take a hero to launch a missile strike from 2,000 miles away. I also agree with him that no "coward" would give up his life in a suicidal mission in support of his ideological beliefs. Maher's financial contributors, however, were right in threatening to pull their support unless he apologize since they advertised for the purpose of selling goods and services. Sales would have otherwise suffered in the war hysteria being generated by the mainstream press and George W. Bush.

I will not support Mr. Bush's war. Bush's call to war lacks credibility because although he lost the popular vote, he got himself appointed as president by his daddy's and his daddy's boss's appointees to the Supreme Court. I find no moral fiber in his ascension to the presidency. I do not support his political strategy of killing and terrorizing innocent people in his plan of revenge. The Taliban may have rejoiced in the September 11 assault, but they are innocent of the decision to do it. They may support guerrilla warfare against the foreigners who now control Palestine/Israel, but there is no evidence they supported the terrorist assault of September 11. I am not ready for a good-old-boy down-home Southern lynching party, even if it is against a foreigner.

So, Mr. Maher, even though you must balance your freedom of speech against the economic interests of your advertisers, you have nonetheless given voice to the citizens among us who do not believe we should begin a global war against Baby Bush's targets.

Jay Montoya
Phoenix

Torrents of Arabia

Extra credit: I've never heard of Jack Shaheen, but I would like him to know he's not alone in the discussion of dis-portrayals of Arabs ("Arabian Knight," Robert Wilonsky, October 11). I was previously scheduled to speak to several junior high classes about Hispanic heritage shortly after the September 11 events took place. While discussion started on the aforementioned topic, it quickly changed gears to touch on culture and perception within the context of the September 11 events. I actually spoke to the classes about the differences between the portrayals of the Arabs in Three Kings as opposed to other movies, i.e., True Lies and others. The students were amazing! While their perceptions were strongly formed based on the numerous Hollywood portrayals, they were able to discern and speak to the differences regarding the Three Kings portrayal. We then had a good discussion on caution about forming perceptions based on the actions of a few individuals with a specific agenda versus the majority of people just trying to make a living and raise a family. I'm pleased to read about Mr. Shaheen's unwavering commitment to combating the ignorance and wish him the best of luck!

Sean Franklin
Chandler

World Piece

Touching news: Wow! is what I have to say in response to your cover story about my favorite rock band Jimmy Eat World ("Brave New World," Bob Mehr, September 27). I think it's the best article I have ever read about the boys. I really enjoyed how you went into detail about their past and the week you spent with them. It was truly a story with a happy ending.

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