Letters to the Editor

"Typhoid Dan" Savage is a sick, demented freak Plus: Southern divorce rate -- a loosening of the Bible Belt? The newsgroup junkies are right -- "The Simpsons" does suck now.

Topics: The Simpsons, Martin Luther King, Jr., Divorce

Stalking Gary Bauer
BY DAN SAVAGE

(01/25/00)

I really respect Salon and I really enjoy the “Savage Love” column. I
also have a deep mistrust of religious right-wingers like Gary Bauer.
Unfortunately this only tripled my disappointment when I read this
article. There is nothing funny about maliciously trying to spread the flu
virus. Dan Savage, blinded by his apparent hate of right-wing Republicans,
wasted a great opportunity for some real political satire.

What Dan Savage did was wrong, plain and simple. He played right into
their hands. Imagine the scenario the gay-haters will conjure up: A
gay man knowingly spreading his virus to those he hates. Savage did his own
community a real disservice.

Savage should apologize as soon as possible. Salon should remember that
the ignorant and even dangerous attitudes of small-minded right-wingers
does not give license to inflict any type of harm against them.

– Vik Youssef

I am old enough to remember the Nixon campaign and the “dirty tricks” employed by the Republican Party. I did not approve of those actions. I can understand how Dan Savage can be upset by Gary Bauer’s position on homosexuality and feel a need to obtain firsthand information about Gary through involvement in his campaign at his headquarters in Iowa. I applaud his ethical action regarding the manner in which he handled most of the calls that he received while working at the headquarters. I was repulsed, however, by the actions which he took to spread his flu to Gary and other members of Gary’s staff. Such germ warfare has been outlawed by the Geneva Convention, shouldn’t it be outlawed by Salon?

– Ronald J. Miros

Dan Savage is a sick, demented freak to try to deliberately infect others with his diseases. And Salon is just as sick to even print his article. Is it any wonder people consider homosexuals as perverts and deviants when they have people like Savage running around doing things like this.

– Vann Clark



I laughed out loud when I read Dan Savage’s account of infiltrating the Bauer campaign. I then thought about it for a bit, and I realized it wasn’t all that funny. If I were to commit voter fraud, election tampering and biological terrorism, I certainly wouldn’t publish it — is Savage insane? I can’t support these actions, no matter how much I disagree with Bauer’s political opinions.

– Bill Ravdin

I couldn’t keep from laughing as I read Dan’s column. Although I was a
little disgusted at his biowar campaign, his insight into the hard
right of the Republican Party and the Bauer campaign was wickedly on-target. It
was an exceptionally well-written column.

– Chris Tharrington

Southern governors declare war on divorce

BY LISA MORICOLI LATHAM

(01/24/00)

What this article doesn’t mention, but what probably plays a part in the
divorce rates here in Oklahoma, is that this state has staggeringly high
rates of child and spousal abuse, poverty and illiteracy. Figure in an
educational system that is often nothing more than a political pawn and
you begin to get the picture. It is far easier for “Papa” Keating to gently
lecture his children about morals than to take any real action and risk
the cozy Cabinet position he envisions for himself in Washington.

– Dyrinda Tyson

This article is a diatribe against an attempt to stop painful family
breakups. What is the motivation for such a negative attack? I’m a
lifelong democrat, Catholic, liberal, married 45 years, who has prepared 2,000
San Francisco yuppie couples in weekend and evening “workshops” over the
last 25 years. We get 90 percent positive feedback (and it’s all unpaid volunteer work).

The sociology professors quoted in your article have done diddly shit about
preventing family breakdown. The class argument in the article that it’s the poor
who get divorced is news to the Bay Area dot.coms. Try Retrouvaille
for a nonprofit marriage saver and stop the ideological fighting while
watching families self-destruct all around you. A hurting family has no
politics.

– Ed Gleason

When we lived in the Bible Belt, we noticed a very high divorce rate.
Recent statistics by the CDC have confirmed this. We noticed men left their old wives for younger ones and started a whole new family. Many were very strict church-going folks.

Not only are these Bible Belt states guilty of not practicing what they preach, they are still trying to break up the president’s marriage. Yet it’s OK to
have an affair and divorce if you are ex-President Reagan, ex-Sen.
Dole, ex-Speaker of the House Gingrich, etc. The Republican Party should clean up its own house first before telling the rest of us Americans how to live.

– J. Stevens

While I agree that Govs. Keating and Huckabee are being overly simplistic
in approaching this problem, I want to point out that encouraging chastity
until later in life, when a couple can enter into a committed
relationship (whether marriage or long-term cohabitation, etc.) is a valid means to
reduce teenage pregnancy.

Additionally, one of the “solutions” Salon’s writer presents as a more
viable alternative is “no-cost marriage workshops or financial
workshops in economically depressed areas.” This is exactly what Marriage Savers is advocating, and the author
herself acknowledges this (although she does so in a very cynical tone) when she
writes about Marriage Covenants and Marriage Mentors in the later part
of her article.

Keating and Huckabee may be narrow-minded in their approach to the
problem of divorce and the broader issues of pregnancy and family
responsibilities. Marriage Savers should certainly not be the only
program implemented in addressing these issues. But credit must be given
to their efforts to enact a positive change in one aspect of a very
complex societal problem.

– Nathan Johnson

Worst episode ever
BY JAIME J. WEINMAN

(01/24/00)

Your article about “The Simpsons” inspired me to pull out my tape
collection and compare the older and newer episodes — sadly, the
newsgroup junkies are right. While the increased brutality was
unpleasant, more alarming was the “dumbing-down” — a general slowing of pace, the
awkward set-ups for the gags, and the numbing narration. (Homer never
just slips on a banana peel anymore, he now has to yell, “I slipped on a
banana peel!” Apparently we’re expected to miss it otherwise.)

It’s sad that the writers can respond to the criticism only with
pompous anger. But saddest of all is, the critics are right — “The Simpsons” is still far
better than virtually anything else on the tube.

– Alan Badger

I‘ve never been on alt.tv.simpsons, but it’s good to know that my
friends and I are not alone: “The Simpsons” has clearly been declining,
specifically over the last two seasons. Anyone who can’t see that hasn’t been
paying attention. The characters have been consistently betrayed and,
contrary to what critics apparently think, satire has actually been missing for
quite some time. (See “Futurama” for some actual satire these days.)

The focus on Homer as the “main” character has been disastrous. He gets more offensive by
the episode. And the writers appear to have little idea what the rest
of the characters are for.

I used to routinely say that “The Simpsons” is the best show on TV ever.
Now, unfortunately, I must use the past tense. By the way, the idea that the writers of a show know more about its characters than do longtime
viewers is just obnoxious arrogance.

– Richard Crary

Dissing the King
BY LEE HUBBARD

(01/24/00)

Thanks for your piece on martinlutherking.org. I very much admire the earthly works of
MLK and Mohandas Gandhi. But I am also aware that these two giants of
the 20th century were human, with complex personalities, who evidenced
minor flaws as well as demonstrating the characteristics of greatness.

Many of the accounts of King’s life that I’ve read speak only to his
accomplishments and strengths. My children are given sugarcoated
stories at school about King, stories that completely gloss over his triumphs (he
did not single-handedly carry the Civil Rights movement) and failures. To
some extent this has to do with the audience, wanting to keep things simple
for children, but it also seems to represent a public need to make King
into something he was not.

I doubt that King would have accepted the saintly
crown that we have, in retrospect, asked him to bear. I believe that presenting a richer, fuller picture of King, showing
the warts as well as the crown, will be a healthy step forward in our
public understanding of this heroic American. And it would tend to defuse the
impact of sites such as martinlutherking.org., for it would allow that
King, although not perfect, played ball in the major leagues.

– Bernardo Guzman

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoët
    Kerascoët's lovely, delicate pen-and-watercolor art -- all intricate botanicals, big eyes and flowing hair -- gives this fairy story a deceptively pretty finish. You find out quickly, however, that these are the heartless and heedless fairies of folk legend, not the sentimental sprites beloved by the Victorians and Disney fans. A host of tiny hominid creatures must learn to survive in the forest after fleeing their former home -- a little girl who lies dead in the woods. The main character, Aurora, tries to organize the group into a community, but most of her cohort is too capricious, lazy and selfish to participate for long. There's no real moral to this story, which is refreshing in itself, beyond the perpetual lessons that life is hard and you have to be careful whom you trust. Never has ugly truth been given a prettier face.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Climate Changed: A Personal Journey Through the Science by Philippe Squarzoni
    Squarzoni is a French cartoonist who makes nonfiction graphic novels about contemporary issues and politics. While finishing up a book about France under Jacques Chirac, he realized that when it came to environmental policy, he didn't know what he was talking about. "Climate Changed" is the result of his efforts to understand what has been happening to the planet, a striking combination of memoir and data that ruminates on a notoriously elusive, difficult and even imponderable subject. Panels of talking heads dispensing information (or Squarzoni discussing the issues with his partner) are juxtaposed with detailed and meticulous yet lyrical scenes from the author's childhood, the countryside where he takes a holiday and a visit to New York. He uses his own unreachable past as a way to grasp the imminent transformation of the Earth. The result is both enlightening and unexpectedly moving.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Here by Richard McGuire
    A six-page version of this innovative work by a regular contributor to the New Yorker first appeared in RAW magazine 25 years ago. Each two-page spread depicts a single place, sometimes occupied by a corner of a room, over the course of 4 billion years. The oldest image is a blur of pink and purple gases; others depict hazmat-suited explorers from 300 years in the future. Inset images show the changing decor and inhabitants of the house throughout its existence: family photos, quarrels, kids in Halloween costumes, a woman reading a book, a cat walking across the floor. The cumulative effect is serene and ravishing, an intimation of the immensity of time and the wonder embodied in the humblest things.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Kill My Mother by Jules Feiffer
    The legendary Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist delivers his debut graphic novel at 85, a deliriously over-the-top blend of classic movie noir and melodrama that roams from chiaroscuro Bay City to Hollywood to a USO gig in the Pacific theater of World War II. There's a burnt-out drunk of a private eye, but the story is soon commandeered by a multigenerational collection of ferocious women, including a mysterious chanteuse who never speaks, a radio comedy writer who makes a childhood friend the butt of a hit series and a ruthless dame intent on making her whiny coward of a husband into a star. There are disguises, musical numbers and plenty of gunfights, but the drawing is the main attraction. Nobody convey's bodies in motion more thrillingly than Feiffer, whether they're dancing, running or duking it out. The kid has promise.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    The Motherless Oven by Rob Davis
    This is a weird one, but in the nervy surreal way that word-playful novels like "A Clockwork Orange" or "Ulysses" are weird. The main character, a teenage schoolboy named Scarper Lee, lives in a world where it rains knives and people make their own parents, contraptions that can be anything from a tiny figurine stashable in a pocket to biomorphic boiler-like entities that seem to have escaped from Dr. Seuss' nightmares. Their homes are crammed with gadgets they call gods and instead of TV they watch a hulu-hoop-size wheel of repeating images that changes with the day of the week. They also know their own "death day," and Scarper's is coming up fast. Maybe that's why he runs off with the new girl at school, a real troublemaker, and the obscurely dysfunctional Castro, whose mother is a cageful of talking parakeets. A solid towline of teenage angst holds this manically inventive vision together, and proves that some graphic novels can rival the text-only kind at their own game.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    NOBROW 9: It's Oh So Quiet
    For each issue, the anthology magazine put out by this adventurous U.K.-based publisher of independent graphic design, illustration and comics gives 45 artists a four-color palette and a theme. In the ninth issue, the theme is silence, and the results are magnificent and full of surprises. The comics, each told in images only, range from atmospheric to trippy to jokey to melancholy to epic to creepy. But the two-page illustrations are even more powerful, even if it's not always easy to see how they pertain to the overall concept of silence. Well, except perhaps for the fact that so many of them left me utterly dumbstruck with visual delight.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Over Easy by Mimi Pond
    When Pond was a broke art student in the 1970s, she took a job at a neighborhood breakfast spot in Oakland, a place with good food, splendid coffee and an endlessly entertaining crew of short-order cooks, waitresses, dishwashers and regular customers. This graphic memoir, influenced by the work of Pond's friend, Alison Bechdel, captures the funky ethos of the time, when hippies, punks and disco aficionados mingled in a Bay Area at the height of its eccentricity. The staff of the Imperial Cafe were forever swapping wisecracks and hopping in and out of each other's beds, which makes them more or less like every restaurant team in history. There's an intoxicating esprit de corps to a well-run everyday joint like the Imperial Cafe, and never has the delight in being part of it been more winningly portrayed.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew
    You don't have to be a superhero fan to be utterly charmed by Yang and Liew's revival of a little-known character created in the 1940s by the cartoonist Chu Hing. This version of the Green Turtle, however, is rich in characterization, comedy and luscious period detail from the Chinatown of "San Incendio" (a ringer for San Francisco). Hank, son of a mild-mannered grocer, would like to follow in his father's footsteps, but his restless mother (the book's best character and drawn with masterful nuance by Liew) has other ideas after her thrilling encounter with a superhero. Yang's story effortlessly folds pathos into humor without stooping to either slapstick or cheap "darkness." This is that rare tribute that far surpasses the thing it celebrates.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Shoplifter by Michael Cho
    Corinna Park, former English major, works, unhappily, in a Toronto advertising agency. When the dissatisfaction of the past five years begins to oppress her, she lets off steam by pilfering magazines from a local convenience store. Cho's moody character study is as much about city life as it is about Corinna. He depicts her falling asleep in front of the TV in her condo, brooding on the subway, roaming the crowded streets after a budding romance goes awry. Like a great short story, this is a simple tale of a young woman figuring out how to get her life back, but if feels as if it contains so much of contemporary existence -- its comforts, its loneliness, its self-deceptions -- suspended in wintery amber.

    Ten spectacular graphic novels from 2014

    Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
    This collection of archetypal horror, fairy and ghost stories, all about young girls, comes lushly decked in Carroll's inky black, snowy white and blood-scarlet art. A young bride hears her predecessor's bones singing from under the floorboards, two friends make the mistake of pretending to summon the spirits of the dead, a family of orphaned siblings disappears one by one into the winter nights. Carroll's color-saturated images can be jagged, ornate and gruesome, but she also knows how to chill with absence, shadows and a single staring eye. Literary readers who cherish the work of Kelly Link or the late Angela Carter's collection, "The Bloody Chamber," will adore the violent beauty on these pages.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>