Lauryn Hill: Hoochie or hero?
BY DEBRA DICKERSON
The real hypocrites are the closed-minded, self-righteous people who
object to Lauryn Hill's self-expression and expression of her faith. I
am amazed and saddened that Hill has received the kind of criticism
Debra Dickerson describes. Here you have a person who is intelligent and
talented and is dedicated to helping people. She recognizes that what
matters in her relationship with God is the spirit in her heart, not the
clothes on her body -- or whether she has a ring on her finger. I have
no worries about the children Lauryn Hill will raise. I wish I could say
the same for her detractors.
Thank God for Dickerson's niece, Carlie, who defines her own
style, chooses her own influences and puts things in perspective for
her aunt. Carlie shows that young people are usually much more wise than
adults care to recognize.
-- Cheshire Dave Beckerman
Yes, Lauryn Hill is not "married"; she has not put on the stage show of a "wedding" to be found acceptable by our standards. She has two children, gifts from God. She chose not to abort them, and she has help from their father to raise them in the right way. What is the problem?
Who are we to judge her lifestyle? Lauryn Hill is a role model for young people. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the clothes that she wears. We as black people are so afraid of showing our strong, beautiful bodies because we are still hung up on the way "the massas and the missus" made us feel about our sexuality. There is a difference between wearing the clothes to get a man and wearing the clothes because you look great in them. It all comes down your poise, your attitude and your self-confidence. Don't blame Lauryn for the way our young people act. Lauryn was an adult before she had both children. She is educating herself, she has created opportunities for children who would not have any, and she is making a living for herself. What is wrong with that? Oh, I forgot ... She didn't do it "the acceptable way."
-- Donna Tomlinson-Smith
The rehabilitation of Latrell Sprewell
BY JULIAN RUBINSTEIN
Sprewell is a ballplayer who screwed up, paid dues and resumed making
gazillions. Neither you nor the Times nor the Post make a case for the Sprewell story to
warrant all the racial, psychological or moral weight it has received. Your
point for projection is right only insofar as writers and fans delude
themselves into thinking that assessing this overhyped matter really matters.
Enough already. Sprewell is a great athlete and a pleasure to watch.
-- Ron Graziose
Mill Valley, Calif.
What your correspondent failed to mention -- and probably notice -- is that the
coach who was choked was P.J. Carlesimo. Most fans in the New York City area, who have
watched Carlesimo's antics for years and have memories longer than most
sports reporters, heard about the attack and said, "It's about time."
-- Ken Houghton
Ramsey Clark, the war criminal's best friend
BY IAN WILLIAMS
The suggestion that Ramsey Clark is both nuts and subversive is perhaps
half right -- if being subversive means standing up for unpopular truths.
I know Ramsey Clark from his defense of the Bernard Coard and the
Grenada 17, those falsely accused of murdering Maurice Bishop of
Grenada. I have carefully researched the facts of this case, interviewed
the accused and their prosperous accusers, at great length. It is clear
to me that they are innocent, and were denied a fair trial. Clark has
sacrificed money, time and reputation in defending the Grenada 17, held
in a 17th century prison under terrible conditions for nearly 16
years, and tortured for the first nine. For Clark, the
terrible irony of his integrity is that he could have used his former
position to prosper, play golf and become eccentric (like Gerald Ford) or to
dash about interfering in international affairs, on the side of
dominance (Jimmy Carter). Since he sides with truths that are not easily seen
and people who are not necessarily powerful, he's nuts? I think not.
-- Rich Gibson
College of Education
Wayne State University
As the air over Kosovo reeks with the stench of mouldering victims of
Milosevic, joining the odor left by his victims in Bosnia and elsewhere, we
still find apologists for the Serbian butchers everywhere we turn. It
doesn't surprise me that Ramsey Clark is one of them.
The right-wing-led media, of course, love this: They go out of their way to
take Clark seriously, as a way of "counterbalancing" the rapidly unfolding
evidence of Serb-committed atrocities. Space taken up by a Ramsey Clark
article means less space that might be devoted to, say, a story on how the
early Kosovar refugee reports of massacres and Kosovars being held for use
as "human shields" are being proven to be right in every particular. It's
the same reason the media is obsessing on possible Kosovar "revenge," even
as the KLA agrees to disarm and very few genuine reports of revenge acts by
Kosovars on Serbs have been documented: It's a way of crowding out the news
about the rotting, burned bodies left by the Serbs' reign of terror.
-- Tamara Baker
St. Paul, Minn.
While Ian Williams presents a seductive character assassination of Ramsey
Clark, it is significant that he shows no interest in rebutting any of
Clark's positions with facts. One suspects this is because many of Clark's
arguments, regardless of how one may feel about the company in which they
are made, are so intelligent and sound. The fact that NATO has violated the
Geneva Convention by attacking civilian targets in Serbia, for example, is
fairly clear cut; as is NATO's violation of international law by attacking
a U.N. member state without the approval of the U.N. Security Council. Perhaps
some rational argument could be mustered in NATO's defense, but I have yet to
hear any attempt to do so. I think I know why.
Like the State Department, Williams uses the strategy of insinuating that
the charges leveled at NATO by Clark are so ludicrous they deserve no
response. This is a very clever way to avoid making a defense when you
don't really have one. Like a lawyer who knows he has no case on the facts
or the law (Ken Starr, for instance), Williams chooses to refute Clark's arguments by
attacking his character: accusing him of consorting with unsavory folks,
including the "enemy." While branding critics of one's government a crazy
radical and a traitor is a favorite tactic of governments and their
representatives (Milosevic's critics are branded NATO sympathizers, for
example), I do not understand why Williams, or Salon, chose to aid the
State Department with their dirty work.
-- Jeffrey Benner
What single girls want remains unclear
BY CRAIG OFFMAN
Single girls shouldn't want (or expect) anything more than they're willing to
give. Men have been told since we were boys that women want equal
rights. Well, equal rights comes with equal responsibilities -- it
goes both ways!
Let's see more women asking men out, and paying for dates; asking men to
marry them; initiating the courting process; opening doors for men;
essentially, exhibiting all the niceties that they would like men to do.
It's really pretty simple, and it doesn't take a dissertation committee
to come to an agreement: Single girls should treat single guys the way
they want to be treated. It's the "golden rule."
-- Steve Collins.
Magic's seductive hold
BY RICHARD RODRIGUEZ
"Como agua para chocolate" is an exquisite novel and well translated into
the cinema -- Rodriguez shouldn't blame other Americans for liking it, as it shows that they haven't lost your good taste for things worthwhile.
I have found out that every day more
Americans like chili, frijoles and Mexican food;
and now that I am going to travel to Europe, the most wanted article Europeans
have asked me to take as a gift is nothing less than "tortillas."
The former Californian governor did a
good job disgracing Mexicans, but Mexico is a truly fascinating place. The influx
of retired Americans coming to live in Mexico
shows that no matter how much negative propaganda is made against the poor
neighbor, there are places, people, climate, food, mystery, history and charm worth
enough to go there.
-- Luis Valderrama
Everywhere I look in U.S. media and culture I find a significant blurring of
the distinction between fact and fantasy. From Littleton to the Starr
fiasco to apparently serious interviews with astrologists and table
knockers to the popularity of wrestling and pyramids, Americans are losing
their grip on reality and dreaming of a world that's simply impossible -- if
-- William Hicks