Letters to the editor

Is Joe Conason a bigot about the religious right? Plus: Sigourney and Sandra and other absolutely fabulous divas Damien Cave missed; David Crosby?! Melissa, what were you thinking?

Topics: Joe Conason, Federal Reserve, Cuba, Alan Greenspan

The Millennial Struggle Continues
BY JOE CONASON

(12/31/99)

Joe Conason’s essay, “The Millennial Struggle Continues,” was superb.
Every
point he made exposed the religious right for what it really is: A
collection of dangerous reactionaries intent on imposing their twisted
view
of morality on everyone.

Consider the maniacal zeal with which these people, led by Ken Starr,
carried out their insane witch hunt against their most hated enemy,
President Clinton. We can breathe a huge sigh of relief that the
effort
failed, for it could have permanently weakened the institution of the
presidency and resulted in grave consequences for our constitutional
system
of government.

Future historians will judge not the personal flaws of this president,
but,
rather the deliberate attempt by self-righteous demagogues to overthrow
him. That judgment will be harsh.

– Christopher Lobash

Whatever change the new millennium brings, it will surely leave Joe
Conason’s narrow, bigoted mind untouched, as he keeps it well
protected in
its underground abode.

I can only hope that his flippant description of American religious
belief
as “superstitions,” “prejudices,” “idiocy” and “militant ignorance”
will
stay with him as much as Jesse Ventura’s similar comments did some
months
ago.

Conason’s tired, old-school leftie warnings of subjugation, outlawed
heresy, stifled inquiry and authoritarian hierarchies from the right
are
brazenly ironic, given how much the left has co-opted public discourse
with
these very devices. How else would Conason feel so free to spit such
bile
at his fellow citizens but for his dogmatic belief that he is “right”
and
those that disagree with him are not only wrong but basically evil.

– Scott McKim

In his article, Conason comes dangerously close to painting all
Christians
with the same brush. The religious right (or Religious Right as
they would probably prefer to be called) are not Christianity, only the
loudest and most attention-seeking part of it.



There are many people (myself included) who understand themselves to be
disciples of Jesus Christ who also strongly disagree with the divisive
and
oppressive agenda of the ultra-conservatives. These “other Christians”
are
doctors and scientists, teachers and social workers, parents and
children
who work humbly and faithfully for those in need in their communities
each
day. They are individuals who see in the example of Christ the call to
feed
the hungry, to provide medical care to the sick, compassion to those
who
mourn and justice for the oppressed around the world.

I realize that these non-fundamentalist Christians do not provide the
most
interesting stories to be covered by the press. We do not ask for it
either. However, we do ask that if we are to be critiqued, this
critique is
to be done fairly and objectively, not by simply assuming we are all no
more than our very worst elements.

– Rev. Douglas Forrester

Conason describes the effects of fundamentalism forcefully, succinctly,
and
sadly. Hopefully the religious right of all faiths will just make a lot
of
noise
as they are dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. But
when,
oh when, will we get a presidential candidate willing to stand up to
these
guys? We need more voices like Conason’s.

– Joe Nathan

Descent of the Divas
BY DAMIEN CAVE

(01/10/99)

For such a good article, I am disappointed in Cave for rattling off the
“fact” that gay men are statistically better educated and make more
money.
These “statistics” are often used against the gay community and are
egregiously inaccurate. Whenever such data is presented, it is
important to
note that people with a better education and financial situation are
not
more likely to be gay, but only more comfortable revealing their
sexuality
to a pollster.

– Andy Bosselman

I only wish what Cave were saying were true. He obviously has never
heard a
young gay man proudly announce he has never seen a Bette Davis movie,
then
repeat every Sigourney Weaver line in any movie (especially
“Working
Girl”), then launch into every “Absolutely Fabulous” episode while your
face
hits the table from boredom. And of course there is Sandra Bernhard.

No, there is no single person like Judy Garland. And no, I don’t much
personally subscribe to this cult (that is what liberation is about –
choice), but every day of my experience as a gay man tells me that this
phenomenon is far from gone. Diluted maybe, by the vast choices in
today’s
cable-ready world (“Are you a Cordy-Buffy queen or a Sandra queen?”) but
not
over.

– Skip J

Girlfriend, get out your VCR and watch “All About Eve” again! When
Bette
Davis utters her most famous line, she is ascending the staircase, not
descending, as reported in “Descent of the Divas.” Otherwise, a
wonderful
article!

– Charles Johnston

A nother sad example of the death of divahood is that no matter how gay
the
author of this article was, and no matter how gay various staff
editorial
members of Salon might be, no one was able to spell-check Liza’s oft
quoted
last name as “Minnelli” and not “Minelli.” It’s two Ls and two Ns,
darling, not one. She’s got Promethean talents, legendary
parents, a
Tony,
a Best Actress Oscar and a career that stretches across five decades
but still
no one in the year 2000 can properly spell the woman’s name.

– Stephen Winter


The Talented Mr
Greenspan

BY IAN WILLIAMS

(01/10/00)

I found your story on the Federal Reserve chairman to be a refreshing
change from the usual glowing endorsement of him as a man and his
policies.
It’s normal now to see commentators on CNBC, CNN and just about every
other business show around bow deeply at everything Greenspan does,
without a whit of criticism.

But please be mindful that the United States is not the only country
with
this problem. Here in Canada, Greenspan’s counterpart, Gordon Thiessen
(the governor of the Bank of Canada) enjoys a similar reverence.
Although
not as high-profile as Greenspan (even in Canada), investors do hang on
his
every “important” word, and do bet on what he might say, and what he
will
likely do in the near future.

And although Thiessen has not been in the job as long as Greenspan, he
is
following closely in the footsteps of the former governor, John Crow,
who
was zealously anti-inflation. He, like Greenspan, can be credited with
keeping our inflation rate below 2 percent for a decade, but can also
be
credited with an unemployment rate of close to 10 percent that Canada
endured for about as long, and which only recently has started to go
down.

– David Michael Lamb

Canada

The free market banquet in the late 20th century has shown decidedly
that
capitalism works! Planned economies languish at the expense of “the
people,” yet backwards publications cling to socialism to the bitter
end.
Why? Is there such a thing as fear of success?

Certainly, in the sake of fairness a pro-Greenspan article must be
forthcoming.
However, if Salon was letting the brilliant economy and the clear
rationality of Greenspan’s policies stand on their own with no
comment necessary, I withdraw my objection.

Thanks for your wonderful publication, I look forward to years of Ian
Williams-free reading.

– Anthony Albini

I find one of the most pernicious aspects of media and government in
Williams’ unquestioning article about Alan Greenspan’s fourth renomination. Rather
than
inform readers, you fed them a simplistic and uninformative puff piece.

This article boasts that the U.S. has “the lowest unemployment
in
30 years.” This does not count people who have been out of the workforce,
underemployed persons and persons unemployed for so long they no longer
qualify.

Also, just because people in high tech Silicon Valley are rolling in
money does not mean that everyone in the country enjoys the same
prosperity. How many people do not dare quit their jobs, knowing that
the
competition for a better job would be more fierce than the competition
to
fill the job they leave?

– Steven Dunlap

Adrift in
America

BY MICHAEL SHAPIRO
(12/02/99)

No one has mentioned [Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez's] mother except in
terms
of her noble sacrifice of giving her life to “save her boy.” But no one
knows her real motive. Risking a
child’s
life in an overcrowded raft is not necessarily a noble act. Perhaps
staying in Cuba with him, allowing him to know both his parents, a
right to
which every child is entitled, and from which he can only benefit,
would
have been a more noble act.

– Name withheld

I don’t understand the boy’s relatives in Miami who claim to
have
his best interest in mind. This case is clear: a boy who has gone
through a
tremendous trauma should be with his closest relative, his father.
Period.
A great uncle?! Please! We would not allow any other country to
determine
our affairs in such a manner, and I imagine that Cuba is highly
resentful
– with good reason. Return little Elian to his father as soon as
possible!

– Mary Lou Najera

It amazes me how Fidel Castro picks and chooses which
citizens
he wants returned. Exactly what system does he use to determine this?
The
press? Publicity? The almighty dollar? Who rescued the child? Was it
Castro’s government, his navy or his coast guard?

Why doesn’t Castro take steps to stop his citizens from leaving his
beloved
Cuba by the droves in makeshift rafts, overcrowded boats and other
unsafe
flotillas? And why do they take the chances that they do to flee in the
first place? Clearly, they would rather die than stay.

– Janice Lanham

Gulfport, Miss.

Ally McSqueal?
BY AMY REITER

(01/10/99)

I was shocked to read that Melissa Etheridge would want David Crosby to
father her children. Didn’t she see VH-1′s “Behind the Music”? The guy
was
a mess: an addiction-prone former heroin junky who dragged his
“beloved”
wife Jan into the depths of addiction as well. Not to mention he looks
like
a big freaking walrus. Anyway, what can you do?

– David William Tucker

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