Letters to the Editor

Salon is buying Albanian propaganda; abuse of power is not S/M.


Arm the KLA?

Laura Rozen’s coverage of Kosovo leaves something to be desired, especially if you’re a Serb.

She continually refers to the war there as a “genocide” and bemoans the
fate of the tens of thousands of Albanian refugees crossing into Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania. Well, which one is it? Genocide means annihilation; all of the refugees look like they’re still alive to me. This is not meant to belittle or make light of the very real brutality and repression that they are suffering.

But who is causing the suffering? There can be no doubt that Milosevic
and his henchmen are playing a large role in it, but let’s remember: There were no refugees from Kosovo until the NATO bombing started. I won’t presume cause and effect, but to completely ignore it, as do Rozen and other Albanian/U.S. propagandists is disingenuous.

Also, where is Rozen getting her information? Remember she is in Macedonia, not Kosovo. Her information is from 100 percent Albanian sources — the same sources who, when the bombing started, spread apocryphal tales of tens of thousands of able-bodied Kosovo Albanian men being force-marched to unknown locations. Now we learn that these marches did not happen and that, instead, the Kosovo Liberation Army is “drafting” (often at gunpoint) those aforementioned able-bodied men.

And what about the Kosovo Liberation Army? Rozen speculates about “arming” them. Well, guess what? They are armed, and have been well-armed for the past several years (ever since they received a huge shipment of stolen arms from Albania) and have been waging a guerrilla terrorist war against the Serb presence in Kosovo with massive support from the Albanian civilian population in that area for the past 10 years. Yes, surprise! There is a war going on in Kosovo. Both sides are armed and fighting. Rozen and many other American journalists never mention this.

– Steve Hesske

Havre, Mont.

Limp Willy?

I half-accept the anti-Serb bias in punditocracy
enclaves, but Salon too? You use the word “genocide” in your deck. Of course, this is
the “line” right now, but there is no firsthand
evidence! Are the KLA and Kosovar refugees to be
completely trusted on this? Are you nuts?

This propaganda is what is pushing the U.S. public to support the
introduction of ground troops to the region (which
otherwise appears to be a deadly, foolish idea). You
had better be very sure it is accurate, or you are
hoodwinking the American public into getting their
sons and daughters killed for no good reason.

– John Haberstroh

Honeymoon Turbulence

Can somebody please explain the decision to publish Rosemary Berkeley’s
“Honeymoon Turbulence”? A humorless woman has to take a long flight with
a broken bathroom and on which she doesn’t get her choice of entree. This merits being posted on Salon? Please show some editorial judgment.

And as far as the homophobic stereotypes that Berkeley throws around in
describing her flight attendant, well, they’re almost too tired and clichid to get worked up about. If Berkeley is going to try her hand at mocking homosexuals, she could at least try to come up with a new shtick and some fresh barbs we all haven’t heard before.

– John Newton

From ballet to B&D and S/M?

Abuse comes in all kinds of packages — the Catholic church, Southern
Baptist marriages, White House internships, etc. As one who practices
B&D and S/M, I see no more potential for abuse to occur in my chosen lifestyle than in any other arena; in fact, I see less.
The one thing we can all agree on, I hope, is that children should be protected from harm.

Whether its a sexually deviant ballet instructor or a
pedophilic Catholic priest, it is not Catholicism or love of ballet
or propensity for S&M that makes these people criminals. It is their
disrespectful, unloving, selfish — not to mention illegal — actions toward a child who is under the age of consent determined by our legal
system. We all should work to protect the children, and separate our own judgmentalism and intolerant moralizing from our common and rightful belief that children are to be protected from abuse in any

– Ann Marie Olsen

I would like to point out that sadistic
ballet teachers cannot be legitimately compared to S/M. Safe, sane and
consensual S/M is for consenting adults, not children. You do a serious
disservice to the S/M-leather-fetish community, who are attempting to
educate and provide support to consenting adults exploring their sexuality. To confuse adult sexuality with the abuse of young women in ballet classes is chilling and wrong, and simply perpetuates stereotypes.

– Susan Wright

Breaking the surface

Did they INVENT the phrase “holier-than-thou” for Anne Lamott? I
personally don’t believe in religion — any religion — but I have no
problem with those who do. I have friends who are Catholics, Mormons,
Jews, etc., and if it makes them happy, then I’m all for it. But
self-righteous blathering like Lamott’s reminds me of what I find so
annoying about religion and religious holidays. Can’t you just
celebrate and be happy without trying to cram it down everyone else’s
throats? Please, the rest of us really aren’t interested.

– Eve Golden

New York

Conned by a Jewish mother

Inda Schaenen is right to doubt the vision of the “authentic”
Jewish mother stirring the pot and dispensing pithy wisdom.
But conned? Maybe not. “Molly Goldberg” was the matriarch of
“The Goldbergs,” a radio serial and later the first TV show with
identifiably Jewish characters — which, as such, were both a repository of
shtick and a vessel of ethnic pride. Gertrude Berg, the first
author named on Schaenen’s cookbook, played Molly Goldberg
and wrote the scripts. Molly Goldberg is surely a “literary
construct,” but not just an excuse for a book of recipes.

On the other hand, though the recipes may be backbreaking and
god-awful (would you cook out of a Marge Simpson cookbook?), that
might be all the more signature of their authenticity, whatever
“authentic” means when it comes to Jewish-American food. Molly
Goldberg’s cookbook is not a con job, but an artifact from the
forgotten history of Jewish-American assimilation.

– Benjamin Weiner

Pasadena, Calif.

“Conned by a Jewish mother” was pretty cute.
But if Schaenen really had the claimed pre-enlightenment relationship with “Molly Goldberg,” then for sure she would know that noodles don’t make it as a side dish for Passover. They are chometz. She should go back to potatoes.

– Hart Friedman

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