Letters to the editor

Readers clash over McCain's use of "gook" Plus: Splitting up siblings heartbreakingly common; the thrill of playing God with a Sim family.

Topics: John McCain, R-Ariz.

Straight talk

Enough already with the p.c. indignation. So McCain
called guys who bashed his head in, broke his arms, starved him
and held him prisoner for several years “gooks.” I’m surprised
he didn’t call them “f—ing gooks.”

So why doesn’t John McCain “move on?” Why doesn’t he put it
behind him and forgive his captors? Why doesn’t he want to hug
and make nice with them? Hey, that’s a good idea. I’ll
remember to use that advice the next time a group asks for
reparations for past unjust treatment, or wants some special
dispensation because of historical wrongs. I’ll remember that
when we screech about hate crimes against gays or women or
minorities … “Hey guys, that was the past. Move on.”

– Diana Johnston

Jake Tapper is apparently upset by John McCain
referring to the men who tortured and imprisoned him for
five-and-a-half years as “gooks.” Oh please. I think there
should be a rule: You can call the people who imprison and
torture you whatever the hell you want! What should the guards
at Auschwitz be called? Crowd-control officers?

– J.B. Miller

John McCain went to Vietnam to kill Vietnamese
people, destroy their property and ruin their land. Together with
others who went, he is responsible for killing between 1 and
3 million people.

It is difficult to understand why he should feel he has the right
to criticize his captors considering what he was trying to do to
their country and their families. He should apologize for his
actions, rather than denounce the Vietnamese.

At the very least, since the people of Vietnam seem to have
forgiven Americans for the killings and destruction they caused,
McCain should be able to forgive the considerably lesser sins
committed by his captors.

– Ketil Bjugan

The term “gooks” is an epithet as disgustingly offensive
as the “N” word. The fact that the sadists that tortured McCain
were Asian does not make them “gooks,” it makes them sadists
and criminals.

McCain insists on using the word “gooks,” even after reflecting
and considering his usage over a period of years. This is more
than ample evidence of McCain’s racist attitudes.

Criminal acts by individuals are not caused by their ethnic
origins, but by individual criminal motives. Even though
McCain insists he is applying “gooks” to individuals, it is a
group description, and an awful one at that, one that should not
be used, particularly by someone who wants to be president.

– Daniel White

Torn to


I am a child welfare worker and the reality of splitting
siblings is a very common and difficult problem that I face on a
daily basis. I agree that children should not be separated.
However, there is a desperate shortage of available foster homes
and adoptive homes willing to take “troubled” children or
children over a certain age. The case of a mother that had three
or four drug-exposed children is typical. These children all
have medical problems. The actual work and time these children
require prohibits some of these siblings being put together.

Yes, the situation is desperate, but let me tell you what is truly
terrifying. Here in Oklahoma, our governor claimed that he is
going to cut child abuse in half in one year. It appears that the
way he is going to do it is by redefining child abuse away.
Attempted murder will get your kids picked up, but little else
will in the near future. So to reduce the overload that workers
like me face (between 30 and 40 children on my case load), to
alleviate the shortage of beds, they are going to just leave the
kids in the home. At least till they start dying.

I personally am sick of people dismissing the efforts or motives
of social workers. Most of us work tons of unpaid overtime. We
won’t get rich doing it. We are still blamed when parents kill
children, as if it were our own hands around a child’s throat.
Responsibility must rest with the parent, the perpetrator. In my
mind, social workers in general and child welfare workers in
particular should be carried on the shoulders of society. And yet
we have thugs who can play schoolyard games well, pro
athletes, as our role models. The real problem is that people
don’t care about children, not the poor ones. We will hear about
JonBenet, but not the dirty little minority kid. Moralizing and
pointing fingers at the woefully underfunded system will not
save lives, but it may make the authors feel better.

– Scott Raybern

The heartache of being separated from siblings is
compounded by the adoption laws in this country. Contrary to
the popular opinion, most states are so restrictive, financially
and legally, adoptees have no access to their original birth
certificates and adoption records. With such restrictions, there is
little to no way an adoptee can discover the adoptive names of
their siblings.
This greatly narrows the possibility of finding siblings and
family once the adoptee is grown and can search. The
knowledge of siblings, medical information, traits, and simply
who you favor is a black hole for most adoptees.

– Beverly Buchanan



I read dumbstruck Straight’s article about how she’s
willing to be “patient, because that’s what we do” with regards
to combing her daughters’ hair. She makes it sounds like she’s in
the throes of some cosmic sacrifice because she has to comb
black hair everyday. Gimme a break already with the martyr act.
I guess black women who’ve had to make their children’s (boys
and girls) heads look good to present to a white world deserve
sainthood! And by the way, the word for your kids’ hair is not
“curly” or “wavy” it’s nappy, plain and simple.

– Robyn Richardson

Sims in the hands of an angry God


Rather than torturing my Sims, I enjoy imposing my
world view on them. I am especially thrilled that the inter-Sim
romances are not limited to opposite sex partners, or to one love
object at a time. My favorite Sim family right now is an
interracial female couple who share a double bed at night, and in
their thought-bubbles, they dream of each other. A daughter
from one’s first “marriage” lives with her father and comes over
to watch cartoons. Of course, if I wanted to, all of the houses in
my neighborhood could have a husband and wife with two kids
and a swimming pool in the backyard, but the game is more
fun, and much more realistic, when it gets a bit messy.
Bravissimo, Will Wright.

– Mishel Dyas

Only the


No wonder Bradley refuses to tell his favorite books.
For every book he mentions, some shallow reporter determines
that he has bared his soul. I’d hate to be identified with the
heroes of my favorite books. If it’s “Mrs. Dalloway,” does that
mean I flirt with suicide? If “Charming Billy,” does that mean
I’m a closet drunk? If “Anna Karenina,” does that mean I’m an
adultress? Come on now: Bradley is a good and smart man who
reads and thinks. Was Lincoln a back-slapper? Would we prefer
an illiterate to be our president? Better a man who reads Conrad
than one who reads Clancy.

– Phyllis Mindell

how they take you anywhere


I wanted to thank you for printing Beth Kephart’s
wonderful article about reading to children. My grandmother
would read Kipling’s “Just So” stories to me as a child, and “The
Elephant’s Child” was probably my favorite. I had not thought
about the “great grey-green greasy Limpopo river all set about
with fever trees” in years, and it brought back a wonderful flood
of memories.

It is because of her delight in those and other books she read to
me, and my parents’ delight in reading aloud almost anything,
that I continue to read so voraciously, especially “children’s”
books. Why? Because, as the boy says, they take you places.
So a big thank you to my grandmother and my parents for
taking me so many places, and thank you Beth Kephart for
reminding me and ensuring that other children (no matter the
age) continue to go there also.

– Margaret Lawrence

Dark Hotel



Just a quick note to let you know how much I adore
The Dark Hotel. I’m an underground comics fan from way back
and I’ve always loved Spain Rodriguez. The new story line
about Drago running for president is especially good. So, lovely
stuff, really. Keep it up.

– Bill Wagstafff

More Related Stories

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



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>