I didn't think I would miss M. V. Moorhead's film reviews, but at least he was concise and interesting. Bring back Moorhead or practice some editing on the wordy bunch New Times now has banging the keys.
Lost in the Translation
In her pathetic effort to help immigrants like me, Amy Silverman forgot to research the very basics of the subject ("Closed Door Policy," January 9). Is it too much to expect accuracy from a journalist? Contrary to Silverman's statement, legal immigrants did not vote for Clinton; they didn't vote for Dole, either. Only American citizens can vote in America. Some people believe that a single mistake can be forgiven. I believe that a single mistake reveals the journalist's sloppiness.
Here is the proof: Silverman informs her audience that in 1992 Oscar Fuchslocher "applied for political asylum, claiming that he would be a target of political retribution if he were forced to return to Chile." Why didn't she research this further? Does she believe that any South American country at any time is under the rule of a military junta ready to mass-murder all dissidents?
Well, it turns out that Chile has been a democratic country since 1990. In fact, the fear of political retribution is what kept many Chileans in exile before 1990, which is precisely the time when Fuchslocher became a four-time national judo champion and his father was a colonel of the same armed forces who killed thousands of dissidents in the 1970s.
What type of political retribution is Oscar Fuchslocher afraid of? I wholeheartedly support Silverman's compelling argument for Fuchslocher's legal rights. However, the courts will not be as naive as this New Times journalist. I am afraid that Fuchslocher may be better off without his day in court.
Get the Hook
I was disappointed to read "shtick" by critic Robrt L. Pela on Gentiles taking Jewish roles in Arizona Jewish Theatre Company productions ("Kvetch 22," January 9). Interestingly, in Pela's commentary, he writes that "[Michelle] Gardner, who auditioned for the Neil Simon musical, says co-directors Michael Barnard and Robyn Ferracane cast the most talented actors who auditioned . . ." If Rusty Ferracane and Linda DeArmond are the most talented actors who auditioned, everyone else who auditioned had better leave show biz. I say this because Ferracane and DeArmond were terrible with a capital "T."
The roles called for actors with the ability to put across the many songs, which neither actor was able to do. DeArmond's voice was weak to put it mildly and Ferracane's didn't fare much better. The play itself was a total bore and comparably speaking I would classify it as on the level of a high school production. In a word, Our Song "stunk." On a brighter note, I have seen numerous Arizona Jewish Theatre Company productions which were excellent.
It's great to have activists keeping big, money-hungry corporations, industries and financial groups on their toes ("Pining for Justice," Michael Kiefer, January 2). It's also sad to see the unevenness in power in courtroom decisions when it comes down to David versus Goliath situations.
Maybe we wouldn't have to butt so many heads, waste time and money with appeals and mental frustration if both sides pulled together and looked toward an alternative source of timber. It just kills me to know that profits and quarterly dividends outweigh what was once pristine beauty and home to nature's extraordinary creatures. I believe that this can all be changed with the reintroduction of industrialized use of hemp products.
Maybe it wouldn't generate as much profit or create jobs, but it will help or even preserve our ancient forests from becoming the final product of which I'm writing on. I hope it doesn't take another world war to have hemp be used as a commercial product.
The Joke's on Us
I am writing in support of the stories of corruption and barbaric treatment of prisoners at Sheriff Joke's jails ("Barbarism As a Public Relations Strategy," John Mecklin, December 5). Most of the people at the county-jail level have not been convicted of a major crime (that's what prison is for), so these are not degenerates or evil people. They are still people and deserve to be treated as such. Girlie mags are not essential to humane treatment, but heat in the winter, cooling in the summer, general safety and nutritious meals are.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio is nothing more than a political windbag, making others suffer for his own ends. Prisoners should not be coddled, but they are relying on the facility in which they are incarcerated for their health and welfare. The people of Arizona need to see what is happening in their penal system. This is not the Dark Ages, and these are not dungeons!
Hey, Arizonans, defend Joke Arpaio all you want (Letters, December 19 and January 16). Do you realize that he is making Maricopa County the laughingstock of the country? I have relatives and friends all around the country, and each time I speak to any of them on the phone, the talk, eventually, gets around to the Joke and how evil he is.
No one is asking for country-club conditions for the men and women in the county jails. Just the basic human rights that we all have coming as citizens of this great country. Is that too much to ask? I think not!
I was deeply distressed by the nightmarish stories offered by inmates in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's county-jail system ("Letters From Jail," December 5). What we seem to have here is a sinister program to exact the maximum cost upon the health--both physical and mental--safety and human rights of these detainees. Yes, even criminals deserve society's freedom from defilement of their dignity.
Will anyone entertain the thought that perhaps Arpaio's system is not only cruel but self-defeating? No one is forgetting the victims. The question is: When is enough enough.
I read the pathetic article written by a woman prisoner about how the prisoners were handled and how the guards used profane and filthy language ("Drear Diary," December 5). I cut out the article and sent it to Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
I told him the use of foul language had no place in the operation he controls. I told him I ran a 175-person department and foul language was not allowed by anyone--three people did not believe me and were fired. No second chance.
People who must use foul language have no class and should be fired by the sheriff, and if the sheriff can't control it--get rid of him. He has no class, either.
Many of us smokers have sat back too long as the Rose Hoffmans of the United States speak out (Letters, January 9). We believe in a piece of paper titled Constitution and a small footnote called Bill of Rights. We honor words like "freedom," "liberty" and "justice for all." I stand behind New Times for placing any, including tobacco, ads in its publication. There are small things called "freedom of the press" and "free trade." The problem lies with the self-appointed, self-righteous and self-centered people who have yet to learn that they cannot legislate morality and personal likes and dislikes.
It's not up to our government, newspapers, television stations, grocery stores or any other medium to raise our teens or preteens. It's up to their parents! If you don't like tobacco or any other ad in a newspaper or magazine, turn the page! Same goes for television--turn the channel! If you don't like what a company sells, don't buy it! That's what is so great about the ol' U.S. of A. And as to the "greed": It's called "business."
Alex Allen, owner
Cigarette Discount Center
Much Ado About Nothing
Just read Peter Gilstrap's column about Nothing (Screed, December 19). I haven't laughed so hard since the Tent City riot. It was a wonderfully crafted piece which shone in personality. It goes to show, Les [Payne] is more!
My husband and I found New Times' column about the mechanical Santa Claus disturbingly enjoyable (Screed, December 26). A real Xmas horror story. However, one of our friends missed the issue and we can't find any copies of it. When will it be put online?
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Editor's note: The mechanical-Santa column, like everything else that appears in New Times, is available via our online archives, which can be accessed from the newtimes.com home page (http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com).
I really respect Peter Gilstrap's column on Vassula Ryden (Screed, December 5). Much of the time, New Times takes a sarcastic approach to writing, especially when religion is the subject matter. I have never heard of Ryden, but after reading the very insightful, objective column, I plan to purchase her writings as soon as possible.
I consider myself a Christian as well as a heavy-duty sinner. (Being in a local band and loving microbrews doesn't help.) I don't understand most Christian churches as they seem to worry more about donations than deliverance. Gilstrap's column helped to renew my faith in that maybe God does speak to regular people.