Letters to the Editor

The problem with President "Bulworth"; even Alfred Hitchcock wasn't perfect; don't use children as an emotional crutch!

By Letters to the Editor
Published August 20, 1999 8:00PM (UTC)
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Hollywood can wait

The standards keep tumbling down. We have zillionaires with no political experience who try and buy the presidency. We have a scandal-ridden governor who tries to buy the presidency because he has a recognizable name. We have a former Nixon hatchet man turned political columnist pretending to have a concern for the downtrodden in our society. We have a professional wrestler take on a governorship with no previous political experience, and actually get touted as a viable presidential candidate. And now we may have a good-looking two-by-four actor with a fruitcake for a sister and piles of personal baggage to boot considering running for the presidency.


It just goes to show that anybody -- any idiot who happens to have some name recognition, a lot of loot, and nothing else -- can try to buy the most important job in the world. The presidency should not be an office for rank amateurs.

-- Susan Nunes

Reno, Nev.

Several mentions are made of
the current lack of a candidate to represent the so-called "left." I would
like to draw your attention to the Green Party, which is one of
the most active and successful alternative parties in the nation. In June of
2000, the Greens will convene in Denver to select a presidential candidate.
The current front-runner is consumer advocate Ralph Nader.


In 1996, Nader ran for president as the Green candidate. At that
time, the party was loosely organized and Nader ran a low-profile campaign.
Nevertheless, he won 1 percent of the vote. The Greens have been growing and maturing ever since. We are now much more prepared to field a candidate, and if Nader is the nominee, he
has pledged to spend at least $2 million and spend 100 days campaigning across the country.

Warren Beatty need not be the reluctant poster boy for "the left" in
2000. The Green Party will be an undeniable force in 2000, and those who are unsatisfied with the major-party choices should give us a serious look.

-- Eric Prindle


"Nuke 'em. Nuke the bastards"

I'm surprised by Anthony York's choice of Morgan Freeman in "Deep Impact" as
the best movie president. After all, he keeps the coming disaster secret for
a year, so the American people cannot prepare by laying in supplies or moving
to higher ground.


-- Taras Wolansky

I enjoyed Anthony York's rankings of movie presidents in "Nuke 'Em, Nuke the
Bastards." His high placement of Jack Nicholson in "Mars Attacks!" suggested good taste. But to only list Anthony Hopkins for "Nixon" and not also for the woefully neglected "Amistad" (where he played John Quincy Adams with pure majesty) was a regrettable omission.

-- Armond White


Yes, Morgan Freeman played the president ... but society was color-blind to the president only at the end of the world.

-- Betty Meshack

Los Angeles

Master of imperfection

Steve Burgess makes plain something that should be
obvious to us all but generally isn't; the emperor's clothes were always
such. People remain oblivious to so much in order to support their
fantasies of a world populated with heroes and giants instead of, well,
other people.


Yet again, however, it must be stated that "The Third Man" was
directed by Carol Reed, not Orson Welles. There seems to be a
commonly held mental block about this one. Perhaps, just as people don't
want to believe that a "great" director could produce a bunch of OK
movies, it's hard for them to accept that an OK director like Reed could
produce a great one.

-- Steve Hull

EDITOR'S NOTE: When this article was originally published, it erroneously attributed "The Third Man" to Orson Welles. The mistake has since been corrected.

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Alfred Hitchcock said on many occasions that he had little interest in the
content of his movies, but was more concerned with their effect on audiences.
So Steve Burgess is probably wasting his time debunking the Master of the
MacGuffin. Granted, "The Birds" always was cheesy and "Spellbound" is supremely silly, but
20/20 hindsight doesn't necessarily spoil a good ride. They're only movies,
after all.

Burgess drags in a MacGuffin all his own when he refers, in passing, to "Billy
Wilder's mirthless 'Some Like It Hot,'" betraying with one adjective his own
humorlessness. Mirthless? Is he serious? Maybe he's just a little too

Still, nobody's perfect.

-- Chris Stafford

Sydney, Australia


Around 1971, I remember a school trip to hear a reading by Evan Hunter, who wrote the screenplay for "The Birds." He recalled how shocked he was
when he saw the finished film and realized that his original ending had been excised in
favor of the lame "let's tiptoe past the birdies" ending. When he confronted
Hitchcock afterward and asked what happened, Hunter said he was
told, "My ending is more soothing to the masses; yours would have sent them
running from the theater." Hunter's original ending? As the little
convertible crosses the Golden Gate Bridge, the camera swivels -- behind the
car, headed toward San Francisco, is an enormous flock of squawking,
screaming fowl. I agree with Hitchcock. Had I seen that as a child, I'd have
been forever traumatized.

-- John Mainieri

My favorite implausibility in Hitchcock's movies is the entire plot of
"North by Northwest," in which supposed government agent Cary Grant is chased through
most of the movie by enemy superspy James Mason. Shouldn't government agents
be chasing the spies?

-- Jon Miners


Sharps & Flats: "Remedy"


Amanda Nowinski's review of Basement Jaxx's album "Remedy" is right on --
I'm pleased that somebody else out there appreciates "the rhythm, the
tracks ... the Basement, the Jaxx" as much as I do. Yet despite the caution with which Nowinski quotes the song "Yo-yo" -- "a female MC mumbles something that sounds a lot like 'You came, now suck my butt ...Word'" -- I have to wonder why Nowinski just didn't look up the
lyrics conveniently supplied in the CD's leaflet? Sucking butt is uncouth
and, I would like to think, unworthy of Basement Jaxx. Sucking blood --
now that's poetic. Word.

-- Geoffrey Huang

Sleeping with children


How you could give space over to a woman who uses her children to physically please her is
beyond me. She needs the baby to warm her, physically and emotionally,
does she? Far better are those who have a little warmth in themselves.
You can't get from another what you don't yourself possess.

Salon would never publish the same
article if it were written by a man. It would be acknowledged as
bordering on pedophilia, because it does.

-- Maggie Balistreri

Like Dulcie Leimbach, I began mothering almost 26 years
ago with the idea that I would never sleep with my children; our
first daughter slept in her own bed for her first two years, nightly
feedings included. Exhaustion, some helpful friends and a very colicky
second daughter caused the move to sleeping together. When our older daughter joined in, at first she had to be snuggled between her father and myself. Eventually, they
slept on either side of us. By the time our third daughter arrived, we
just bought a bigger bed instead of a crib.

We would start everybody off in their own beds each night (to allow for the intimacy
needs of the parents) and as the night progressed our bed got fuller.
This carried on for what many people would think was a terribly long
time; eventually they all found their own beds preferable.

When my youngest daughter was just shy of a year, I slowly came to
consciousness one morning. The light was peachy golden in the room and I
was aware that she was sitting up beside me. She leaned over and kissed
me on the head. I have never felt so loved.

My daughters are now 25, 23 and 20 years old. They have the same
problems as anybody else of their generation and the same joys. We fight,
we love, we work things through. Sleeping with them when they were young
gave our family a closeness we just wouldn't have had otherwise. Nobody
is messed up because of it. If anything, I've been able to let go a
little bit easier because I experienced that sweet smell, that gentle
touch, that golden light when we all needed it the most.

-- Helen Tervo

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Leimbach's descriptions of
children in such sensual terms sickened me, as did her horrible, intense
emotional dependency. Children should never have to be a panacea or
crutch in a troubled marriage -- emotionally or physically.

My parents were wonderful, patient and sensible. They never yelled at
each other and never depended on me or my sister to provide a cure for
their weaknesses, empty moments or "low times." They were always
affectionate, and still are, in a stable, warm way.

I am very disappointed that you published this piece. I realize that
people have weaknesses, but must we be subjected to the resulting

-- E. Hostetter


Letters to the Editor



No "Jews for Jesus" on Lycos


The letter by Mark Wineinger, criticizing Lycos' dropping of the Jews
for Jesus banner ads, ignores a fundamental legal principle of American
law. The First Amendment only requires that the government shall make
no law infringing freedom of speech; private actors are not required to
guarantee free speech. Consequently, Lycos did not "prevent the group
from exercising its right to free speech." Jews for Jesus has no
"right" to advertise its views on Lycos. Lycos permitted Jews for Jesus
to access its forum by accepting its ads; when the ads sparked
controversy, Lycos elected to reject the ads. Lycos' decision to drop
the ad may or may not have been correct, but in no way did Lycos
restrict or limit the free speech "rights" of Jews for Jesus.

-- Grace Hoppin

Friday the 13th



Friday was and is the Goddess' sacred day and 13 her sacred number,
as there are 13 lunar (as well as menstrual) months in a year. In
order to shift to the sole worship of God, all things associated with
our Goddess needed to be demonized or "converted" for use in our new worship of God.
Thus many ancient pagan practices were continued with new names on old dates; where that wouldn't work, superstitions were created to build fear. That fear was often used
as leverage, for power over others and control of the ill or uninformed.

May we soon remember and honor all religions and spiritual practices we
humans enjoy and cherish. Surely, by now, Balder's accidental death can be forgiven and Good Friday be just that -- good. It's time for a change.

-- D. Vondell Smoak

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