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


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



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

– 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


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


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

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