Letters to the Editor

"For Love of the Game" review strikes out; college students should learn to leave the nest; since when is George Bush an "education governor"?

Published September 24, 1999 4:00PM (EDT)

"For Love of the Game"


While Andrew O'Hehir is entitled to his opinion, let's consider that there
isn't a man in America in his 40s who has the appeal with women that Kevin
Costner has and always has had. Personally, I'm crazy about his acting
abilities. Not only has O'Hehir written a review that contradicts all other reviews I have seen,
but he comes off sounding a bit like a jealous schoolgirl.
Would O'Hehir care to reconsider?

-- Janis Crist



Although I have not yet seen "Romance," I've been flying on the buzz of it since seeing a preview in my local art house a couple of weeks ago. Not since the preview of "Lost Highway" have I felt this way. Ray Sawhill's review had me nodding my head in agreement, as I can already sense the truth he mentions: "There's some just-among-us girls truth-telling in the film that resembles the sex-confession columns in the new grrrl-power-influenced women's magazines."

I often bemoan the lack of films in this genre -- they are usually pure porn with no story, or all story with no porn. Perhaps female filmmakers are the only ones who can successfully address this issue. Certainly the film version of "The Story of O" did not. Sawhill forgot to mention one film that I think resembles his description of "Romance" in many ways: "Belle du Jour." As in "Romance," the lead female character, played by Catherine Deneuve, is dissatisfied with her sex life and takes risks to satisfy her sexual cravings. Unlike in "Romance," her husband is perfectly willing to have sex with her. But she is not interested; instead, she fantasizes about being debased in a sexually charged way, and ends up working in a brothel not for the money, but for the thrill of it.

"Romance" is long overdue. I've almost gotten used to seeing women portrayed in ways that don't resemble any truth I've ever encountered. The way Sawhill described the masturbation scene sounds more realistic than the usual depictions: dressed in lingerie (for whom, themselves?), in some strange position, moaning and writhing long before orgasm. A woman would never allow any man to degrade her if it didn't speak ever so slightly to some other part of her. We must tread lightly here not to confuse the "No means no" issue, but I think Lisa Palac said it best: Degrade me when I ask you to. I'm relieved.

-- Amanda Wray

I watch very few movies, but sometimes the reviews in Salon are
sufficiently intriguing that I will shock my friends by clamoring to
see a film. So I find it absolutely maddening that release dates and locations are
not available along with reviews. I live in San Francisco and spend
about a week a month in Chicago. I want to see "Romance," but moviefone.com tells me this isn't possible in either city. The reviewer mentions that he saw it twice in New York, but where and when can I see it? This would be tremendously helpful.

-- Anil Gurnaney

Thicker than blood



Simon Rodberg points out that the modern practice of
weakening family ties when leaving for college can have negative
consequences. This practice also churns the intellectual soil of the
nation, allowing youths to experiment with ideas that may be offensive to
previous generations. Yes, it might contribute to doubt and anxiety in
college, but this is much desired if it produces self-knowledge and new

Many cultures have found the need for coming-of-age rituals; leaving
for college has become the modern version. The expectation of breaking away
and the disassociation with family actually reduces the pain on all sides.
Children do not feel as guilty for leaving their parents and parents don't
feel as abandoned. Perhaps some students don't need this break, but
for the health of society the option needs to be offered. If only those
students with restrictive or difficult situations at home took this route,
it would be a judgment and a hardship; if it is a part of the culture
it is merely a sad occurrence.

You don't break away for yourself or your parents but rather for all those
students who do need to do so -- and for all those people who will be graced
with your iconoclastic ideas.

-- Peter Gerdes

What starts in college continues beyond graduation day. If you will not
leave your family now, then I pray that you have not chosen business as your
field of study. To move ahead in most business careers, one must be willing
to work and relocate without regard to the needs of the immediate family
(spouse and children) -- mothers, fathers, siblings don't exist. You are
expected to adopt the "corporate family." Their needs are first and you are
penalized for even the slightest perception that the company may not be your
first priority.

I cannot deny the benefits we enjoy -- level of income, international travel,
etc. The question, as you pointed out, is a philosophical one. Economics is
what kept ancient and pre-modern families together and it is what enables the
mass self-actualizing adventures of today. Courage and principles are
required to swim against the stream. It sounds as though you may have both.
You have an opportunity to be true to yourself, whereas I am hoping I am not
too late.

-- C.M. White

"A Book of Reasons"


Based on the description that Dustin Beilke gives of "A Book of Reasons,"
it is apparent that "memoir" and "anti-memoir" are both inadequate
labels. Why not call it an essay?

-- Pat Bryant

Kansas City, Kan.

Free Allan Nairn!


From what I gather, Allan Nairn's crime is coming back into the country he
was banned from. And I don't see that deporting him is an appropriate
sentence: He was deported -- that is, given a chance -- once already, and that
didn't work. He came back.

I don't know according to what moral standard you consider him innocent.
Because his prosecutors are not angels? If that is the moral standard then
all U.S. prisoners should be released. You have a government here in the United States
that kills its citizens and then covers it up, funds Turkish and South
American death squads, is complicit to ethnic cleansing of non-Albanians
from Kosovo, starves to death and bombs millions of Iraqi children. What gives?

Allan Nairn is not above the law. Americans are not above the law. It's
time you get this in your heads.

I hope Nairn gets a light sentence, and finally reconsiders his own
behavior to the benefit of everyone. I would gladly sign a petition to
the Indonesian government for leniency for Nairn. That is the proper
channel. I would hate to see the U.S. government intervene and have him
released. It will do nothing to promote democracy in Indonesia.

-- Nikola Stankovic

Sunnyvale, Calif.

Surprise: Bush could be the "education president"



Education president? It would be more of a surprise if Bush were the "education governor."

All standardized testing has done for Texas schools is to insure that
children are educated in how to pass the standardized test. It's not
education, it's training in "multiple guess." Charter schools (another idea Bush champions) are more
a disgrace than a success here. The one
way in which schools might actually have been improved -- equalization of
funding , which separates school funding from local property taxes, or forces
the state to spread that money around so poor districts can afford
buildings that don't leak and textbooks that aren't 25 years old -- seems
to have died with Bush AWOL from the fight.

Bush may impress someone with his personal bearing; but his actions
speak louder than his charm. If Bush is the best hope we have of an
"education president," we have no hope at all.

-- Robert M. Jeffers

How can you reconcile that with the fact that a huge number of Bush's
charter schools in Texas are failures, and that Texas has recently been
named 48th-best state in the United States to be a child?

If what you want to teach kids is how to take tests, the Texas schools
are doing a great job...if you want to teach them how to think, on the
other hand, you better take them somewhere else.

-- Mike Switzer


The Teflon governor meets the national media



Jerry Politex concludes that what the country really needs is 14 months of
news writers playing "Gotcha" every time George W. commits the "national
embarrassment" of saying "Timorians" when he should say "Timorese." I
personally can think of no more banal or witless an exercise.

-- Robert Anderson


From a progressive's point of view, the George W. Bush boomlet may be a
hopeful sign, since it illustrates the desperation of the GOP
establishment. Over the last 5 years, the radical-right extremists of the
congressional GOP have made themselves deeply unpopular with the general
public. My guess is that a majority of the electorate supported Clinton
during the impeachment jihad mainly out of revulsion toward his attackers.

Before Bush announced, it appeared well within the realm of possibility
that someone like Steve Forbes, who has become a standard-bearer of the extreme right, could make a
serious run at the nomination. It is crystal clear that any nominee
visibly beholden to the hard right would be unelectable in a presidential
race, and might sink the GOP's razor-thin Congressional majority as well.
Therefore, the Republican Party, in desperate need of an
alternative to the other contenders, is feverishly promoting the Texas governor.

Bush's phony "compassionate conservatism" is supposed to
reassure the general electorate, while Bush's pronouncements on many issues
signal to the party's right-wing "base" that Dubya is really with them.
The fact that this empty suit is the best they could come up with must
mean that the GOP talent pool is shallow indeed. Jerry Politex's article
shows up Bush for what he is: a thin-skinned lightweight who is going to
self-destruct once the big show gets under way.

-- Jacob Conrad

How can
anyone with level judgment compare a gaffe concerning the proper name to call
persons from East Timor with Quayle's gaffes? Jerry Politex is going to have to come up with something voters actually care about if he is going to successfully derail the Bush campaign.
President Reagan wasn't considered the brightest of our presidents, but the people loved him and he restored our national pride. Gov. Bush may be no Reagan, but he has a better chance than anyone to govern effectively and restore some semblance of decency and honor to the presidency.

-- Edward C. Sweeney

Berwyn, Pa.

When will the GOP court blacks?


When will the GOP court blacks? When it gets back to its roots and realizes what it
was founded for. Republicans seem to forget that theirs is the party
formed to abolish slavery. They also seem to forget
that promoting the equality and ability of a race that
has been implicitly told "you aren't good enough to
make it on your own" by affirmative action laws should
be a strong draw for blacks who are sick of being "not
good enough."

The Republicans have a candidate with which to win the
black vote. His name is Alan Keyes. There is not a
more articulate candidate in the party and if the
Republicans were smart, they would be promoting this
black leader as their candidate. Instead, they are
playing "safe" with a white candidate who rakes in the
corporation money.

The GOP can win the black vote, but only when they
find their anti-slavery roots and lose the fear of
promoting a black candidate.

-- Ian Rutherford

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