Letters to the Editor

Why the GOP likes big, bad Pat Buchanan; the sex industry needs Susie Bright's enlightenment; e-mail is no place for a secret!


Letters to the Editor
September 13, 1999 8:00PM (UTC)

Who's afraid of Pat Buchanan?
BY JAKE TAPPER

(09/04/99)

The Republicans' reluctance to criticize
Pat Buchanan is quite understandable. As writer Harlan Ellison once put it,
a good general never fires on his own troops. And in any event, the presence
of Pat Buchanan gives "George Double-U" and company the ideal
opportunity to play the classic good cop to Buchanan's bad cop.

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Is this necessarily a good strategy for the Republicans to follow? No, and
like the Republican policy towards the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s,
one can't help but feel that such a policy will inevitably do the GOP
more harm than good. However, as long as we Americans insist on 1)
interpreting the war on racism to mean declaring war on only unpopular
racists and bigots and 2) applying
the word "racist" to every white male who's more conservative than Bill
Clinton (a strategy that's more likely to promote a white backlash than to
deter it), I don't see the Republicans changing their policy in regard to
Buchanan any time soon.

If that isn't bad enough, I can't help but wonder what political issues
Buchanan is addressing this time around that are destined to be ignored by
more "serious" candidates. After all, we've just been through a year in
which for the first time in decades, the U.S. government has finally managed
to produce a budget surplus -- and yet the one thing the two major parties
could agree upon was the importance of not using that surplus to pay off any
portion of the national debt. With far-sighted thinking like that, is it so
inconceivable to believe that even more important issues will be ignored in
the upcoming campaign? History has consistently taught us that people who
are habitually frustrated by certain economic problems will eventually turn
to anyone who offers a realistic solution to those problems -- even if the
candidate is otherwise less than ideal in his attitude toward certain
minority groups. It happened with Hitler, it happened with Mussolini, and it
could conceivably happen here in the United States -- if not with Buchanan, then with
some similar candidate.

-- Roy Mendoza Jr.

A few years ago when Arizona Republican Jon Kyl ran for the U.S. Senate, a
reporter for the New Times followed him during a campaign swing. He spoke at
a Lincoln Day dinner in Yuma, and a man in the audience asked him, "Didn't
Lincoln want to send the blacks back to Africa, and don't you think this would be
a good idea?" Kyl gave a rather weak answer along the lines of "I'm not
sure."

Afterward, Kyl felt the need to tell the reporter, "I would have said
something, but I need people like that."

The people I have the most trouble with aren't the racists; they are too
ignorant to know any better. The people that infuriate me are these supposed
"good people" who do know better, but are willing to accommodate
and even encourage racism for their own political ends. All they end up
doing is giving a cue to the racists and people on the fence that those views are OK.

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-- Ted Prezelski

Tucson, Ariz.

No other politician speaks as bluntly about race as Pat Buchanan. His candor is
refreshing for a white man. It's obvious that Buchanan hates anyone that doesn't look and think as he does. Of course he will never become president, but he appeals to the thinly veiled racist voter who finds comfort in this overheated rhetoric.

Dole, Bush, Quayle and all the rest of the gutless wonders in the Republican field,
through their silence over Buchanan's racist, sexist, homophobic and xenophobic
rantings, lend a certain credence and tacit approval to them. The G.O.P. pays lip service to the notion of becoming a more inclusive party to minorities, but the intolerance of Pat Buchanan puts the lie to Republican mouthings of racial tolerance. But let's save a little contempt for the gays, lesbians, blacks, Hispanics and women already in the big tent of the Republicans, who sit politely like good little tokens with nary a discouraging word for the bigots they keep company with.

Pat Buchanan thrives in the Republican Party like a mushroom in a dark corner. His is the true and honest voice, heart and soul of the GOP The perfect "compassionless conservative."

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-- Jeff Winbush

Columbus, Ohio

I have no doubt that Pat Buchanan is every bit the racist, sexist,
xenophobic, homophobic anti-Semite that Jake Tapper says he is. However, the
"homophobic" story you linked to is from the news parody site the Onion. While Buchanan has shown that he holds the views he's said to express publicly in this parody news story, he never actually gave that
particular speech. Even Buchanan's not that crazy.

-- Sean Medlock

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Who's afraid of Pat Buchanan? Not me. I want to hear more -- much more.
In my liberal, gay opinion, I believe the more he rants, the better.
I cannot speak to issues seriously (nor would I) as long as he, Bob Barr
and Trent Lott confine themselves to those nasty folks screwing and
screwing up the nation. It's too good.

They fall on their own swords so easily. I'm confident that in time the
media will pick them off like scabs on a healing wound.
Meanwhile, the stock market is humming along. Now, that I pay attention
to with great pride. Those damn Democrats did it. Don't you hate it?

-- Charles Seely

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William F. Buckley Jr.
BY CHRIS WEINKOPF

(09/03/99)

William F. Buckley Jr.'s genteel manners and "quiet devotion" belie the
reality of his politics. The "character" of a political pundit is utterly
irrelevant, as are accounts of his splendid and tasteful dinner parties.
To assert that America's post-WWII military and intelligence activities
have been "a force for freedom and democracy" is either disingenuous or
idiotic. From the fawning and naive tone of Weinkopf's piece, it is
difficult to tell which is the case. In fact, we have engaged actively in
propagating genocide against indigenous peoples all over the globe for over
50 years now, to which Clinton's tepid stance toward our former Indonesian
partners in butchery now bears witness.

As we say in Texas, you can't polish a turd. "Compassionate conservatism"
is a filthy lie. Right-wing politics are founded on one thing and one thing
alone -- the unabashed self-interest of the power brokers. That an apologist
for racist sociopaths such as Barry Goldwater can make a living from his
gaseous drivel is reward enough; please spare me the panegyrics.

Oddly enough, the one truly relevant piece of information in the article
slips by in the first few paragraphs, completely misinterpreted. The
beaming account of Buckley endangering the lives of several people on an
Alpine pass reveals the conservative's fundamental nature -- he doesn't give
a shit about other people.

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-- Robert Arellano

Dirty bookstores 101
BY SUSIE BRIGHT

(09/04/99)

I had a very funny experience in Los Angeles at a video store. The front of the store is for general videos and the back is for adult videos, but there is only one place to check out videos, and the counter is placed right at the door to the adult section.

I was waiting to check out a video when a client of mine came through the adult door. Upon seeing me, he dropped the video on the counter, pushed his baseball cap quite down over his eyes and ran out of the store as if being chased by a tiger. The person behind the counter was totally confused; I said he was embarrassed because he knew me professionally. When I saw the client again at a business meeting, I acted as if I did not know it was him I had seen in the video store; he apparently blocked it out of his consciousness. But how silly, I thought. I would love to have seen what he rented; perhaps he could give me some suggestions.

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Bright is so accurate on the anonymity of adult sex shops. The men like to lurk and pretend they are not there. What a comment on our sexual evolution. No wonder network TV shows are filled with continual, adolescent references to sex. It is frightening.

-- Meta Rosenbloom


Faster Pussycat, Wax! Wax!

BY CHRISTINA VALHOULI

(09/03/99)

Christina Valhouli writes, "Why is it that women can cut, dye, trim and straighten their
hair, but not their pubes?" How many has the author examined?

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I personally don't like the hassle of trimming or the stubble of
shaving, but I've found henna to a wonderful addition to pubic
accessorizing. I dye my head-hair red, so why not match? I use chemicals at
the hairdressers for my head-hair, to get the most "natural" and vivid
shades, then that evening gloop on some henna paste, let it sit for
about an hour or less, and rinse off! The lack of peroxide means no
stinging in sensitive areas, but you do need to rinse carefully, so the
granules don't get everywhere.

In college I used to use Manic-Panic hair dyes, the ones that come in
purple, blue, green, etc., just to be a little shocking. Again, these
don't sting. The typical stuff available at drug stores
burns if it gets on skin or membranes, so unless you only want to dye
the hair on the mons, stay away from that stuff.

Hope these hints help other Salon readers venture away from standard
modes of beauty into finding their own styles of sexual self expression.

-- April Walters

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I realize that women throughout the ages have been willing to submit to pain
for beauty. But what in the world is this supposed to prove?
The same women who do this probably wear Wonderbras or get breast
implants to "enhance" their femininity, then wax their crotches to look
like little girls. I think they're nuts!

When I was pre-pubescent (longer ago than I care to admit), we couldn't wait
to grow public hair. It was a rite of passage -- it made us feel grown-up.

-- Barbara Herman

I find Salon's flippant attitude toward the eroticization of 12-year-old girls deeply disturbing.
That ain't writing; it's trash under the guise of giggly journalism.

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-- Annie Tomlin

Holey Hotmail
BY SCOTT ROSENBERG
(09/01/99)

I've said it before and now I'm saying it again: Never put anything on
the Web you wouldn't say in public. Bill Gates is getting slammed in court
for his e-mail. What can anybody else expect could happen? There has been
an effort on the part of the information industry to promote the Web as a
safe place to communicate and do business, but the simple fact is this:
Anything that can be encoded can be decoded.

Granted, this is a particularly egregious flaw, coming from a company
renowned for faulty merchandise. Microsoft suffers from the mentality that
they are the only real alternative and they will perish still believing
that. They will follow the example of such corporate icons as IBM (whom they
supplanted) and AOL who, assuming they were the only alternatives, decided
that the consumer really didn't matter. The birth cries of Linux are the
death wails of MS. The outcome is predetermined; the only question being
how much incidental damage MS will do in the interim. And the only real surprise is that this surprises anyone.

-- Chris Brooks

Hacker's remorse
BY "LILY BLACK"

(09/02/99)

After reading the article by "Lily Black" I was rather dismayed to see the
use of the word "hacker" in the context portrayed. As a hacker
myself and as a self-elected spokesman for the hacker community at
large, it is a disappointment for us to see such a non-informed use of
what we do in any article. We do not
engage in malicious destruction or breaching of computer systems. Any and
all compromising of a system's security integrity is done by invite or
to show the appropriate authorities (sysadmins, etc.) what needs to be
fixed. Such breaching is never harmful to the system. The so-called
hacker ethic prohibits us from doing anything malicious. The apparent
"hack" outlined in the article should have been described as a "crack,"
and had the correspondent done her homework she would have seen it
described as such on the Slashdot site. "Crackers" are the malicious
computer punks, but the media always calls them "hackers"!
Such wanton use of the term "hacker" hurts all credibility that
we have.

-- Eric Maultsby

List this
BY JAKE TAPPER
(09/03/99)

Thank you for your poke at USN&WR's increasingly off-base college
rankings. I was a senior at Reed College when our
administration made a decision to withdraw altogether from their
arbitrary lists. It's reassuring to know that media professionals recognize how
insulting this annual farce is to readers across the country.

-- Alexis Peterka


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