Letters to the Editor

In Texas, AIDS issues are about race, not sexuality
Plus: Remembering James Bond's glory days; why let a cheating husband off the hook?


Letters to the Editor
November 29, 1999 10:00PM (UTC)


Why won't George W. Bush talk about AIDS?

BY CLIFF ROTHMAN
(11/19/99)

Cliff Rothman uses George W. Bush's non-response to AIDS in Texas as a jumping-off point to discuss Bush's relationship with the gay community. But if you check recent statistics, you'll find that infections during Dubya's terms are occurring, for the most part, among poor, mostly heterosexual African-Americans.

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A more appropriate discussion about the Texas governor's
contribution to the continued spread of HIV would have looked at booming
prison populations, needle exchange policies and access to health
care information.

I am a gay man and I have lived with AIDS long enough to see the
demographic changes that have come about. Given the challenges of stemming
the tide of new infection -- not to mention the need to get the real story on
Bush -- Rothman's gay drift on the issue was absurd.

-- Ivan Bernstein

Perhaps the reason Gov. Bush hasn't talked about AIDS is that there
are far more pressing concerns for the United States. AIDS is almost entirely preventable, and it
pales in comparison with the educational, military and retirement issues we
face today. Cancer and heart disease completely overshadow AIDS as killers.
Gov. Bush should concentrate on these issues and, when he gets to AIDS, promote abstinence until
marriage and freedom from drugs -- the only two behaviors that truly prevent AIDS.

-- Ian Stoeppelwerth

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Sexual charades in Seoul

BY RICHARD NEWMAN

(11/19/99)

Richard Newman's article of his encounter with and apparent confusion over
his Korean girlfriend's ironic coyness is more telling of his own, typically
American naiveti, both sexual and cultural. In the modern American
social/sexual scene, there is no such concept as flirtation, coquettish
coyness and pursuit of the opposite sex. Everything has been reduced to
practical and unromantic openness. Newman is an "ugly American" confused by
Asian subtleties. In our politically correct world -- where if you want to put
your arms around a girl's waist you have to first contact her lawyer for a
signed consent -- no wonder Newman considers coy lovemaking as rape; like
a typically emasculated American male, he is fearful of any feminine
display of ancient womanhood.

-- Bruce Kermane


"The World Is Not Enough"

REVIEWED BY CHARLES TAYLOR

(11/19/99)

Having come of age in the 1960s, Bond and the Rolling Stones remain the
two mass cultural constants that I can't seem to outgrow.
Way back when it mattered, my dad and I accompanied Mom to the theater one
Easter Sunday to see a film whose theme song she had heard on the radio. The movie whose theme song ensnared my unsuspecting mother was "Goldfinger" -- a film so captivatingly cool that it had guys of my age arching their right eyebrows and donning imaginary white dinner
jackets.

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It had Sean Connery -- the smoothest, coolest, dude in cinema history. It had hot babes. It was superbly directed -- by Guy Hamilton -- and effectively edited. It had terrific villains; Goldfinger and Oddjob, after all, set the tone for those that followed. It had awesome gadgets -- I'm still holding out hope of finding a reasonably priced, used silver
Aston Martin DB-5 -- and thrilling action sequences. The music and sound were of the
mind-blowing variety, as was the set design. Most importantly, it had an air of sophisticated wit about it -- a sort of tongue-in-cheek panache that actually gave 12-year-old boys something
to aspire to.

The Bond films of today sadly have none of this. They've become
caricatures of caricatures. They've lowered their standards to the level of your
typical dumbed-down Willis/Schwarzenegger/Stallone
potboiler. In short, they've become overly long, exceedingly loud,
stunt vehicles -- presumably, to cover up the lack of a truly workable story line.

-- George A. Fuller

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A more appropriate title of this review should have been "The sex is not enough."
Is this guy stuck in the '60s? I'd like to think the review would be based on how the acting
reflects the genre, rather than how attractive the latest Bond babe is. And what about that drivel on "uncomplicated sex" -- have we not reached the point where movies can offer
women as more than just sex objects?

-- Kristoph A. Cichocki

The other woman
BY JONATHON KEATS

(11/17/99)

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I am offended, not by Jonathon Keats' accusations, but by his unabashed simplicity. I do not defend affairs, nor do I condone them. However, the myth of the predatory mistress is so laughable that I cannot help crying foul.
The glaring omission of fault on the male side of this equation is horrifying.
To use religious myths to illustrate his "seductress" character is to
completely dismiss the fact that in the type of extramarital affairs he is
condemning, the only member of the cheating twosome who has a promise to live
up to is the man. The vows being broken are his. And regardless of the morality of religious folks, this is the '90s and humanity has learned something about forcing two miserable people to stay together in a loveless marriage.

It goes without saying that if a partner is unhappy in a
marriage it is his or her duty to first attempt to fix the problem and then, if
it is insurmountable, extricate himself or herself from the situation before
embarking on a search for a true soul mate. But shame on Salon for absolving half of a troubled relationship of all responsibility.

-- Alison Ward

Damascus, Md.

Jonathon Keats' article displays a shockingly high level of prejudice.
This society has a solid ideal of marriage -- that the only meaningful relationship that a person can have is a lifelong official commitment to a partner of the opposite gender.
But however valuable that commitment may be to Keats, it
is wrong for him to dismiss the experiences of other people
as meaningless. There are people who would be truly unhappy living with anyone else. There are people who dislike being shackled by our society's formalized expectations of maturity and adulthood. There are people who make mistakes; there are people
who outgrow their partners; there are people who are happiest when
they are not trapped in one or a series of monogamous relationships.

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Keats dismisses extramarital relationships as being necessarily hollow
because the simple exchange of love requires less compromise and
investment than that required by a financially and habitually joined
couple. But while it is difficult to share space and to deal with finances, in the end, that
is all only about stuff. Sharing love and intimacy requires opening yourself, sharing
yourself, with another person. This is far more meaningful than a
simple exchange of goods and services.

-- Courtney Shiley

Cambridge, Mass.

"Hot women and dry martinis"
BY JANELLE BROWN

(11/19/99)

When I first read about theman.com in Time mkagazine, I laughed. It seemed to me there was a very obvious flaw in the concept: Here were testosterone-filled IPO junkies, with no time for anything but
work (i.e., no dates, no relationships) putting up a site for guys with no
time for women.Theman.com is, exactly as Janelle notes, a place for stereotypical, clueless
guys to remain clueless.

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What exists in the real world will be reflected on the Web. Virtual reality
mirrors our reality -- no more, no less, just faster.

-- Maurice Entwistle


How the Web was almost won

BY TIM O'REILLY

(11/16/99)

So O'Reilly doesn't care for Microsoft's licensing policies? Welcome to the club.
Microsoft has made a fortune selling software that is "just good enough"
to keep the competition from gaining a dominant market share. Like
anybody else, if you don't like what they're selling, don't buy it. Why
is it that Microsoft, according to the judge, "has a monopoly"? Because
everybody buys their software! Don't tell me Mr. Open Source wouldn't
want to be in the same position.

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-- Joe Ackerman

Jasper's stand
BY ASHLEY CRADDOCK

(11/19/99)

Some days you just can't win. If Jasper had failed to convict Berry of
murder and settled for a lesser charge, the accusations of racism would be
flying thick and fast. Now they are being accused of
convicting Berry in order to expiate their own guilt. Damned if you do,
damned if you don't.

-- Jimmy A. Roberts-Miller

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Ashley Craddock's position is that the Jasper jury convicted Shawn Berry
solely to purge the town of its demons. Yet in her entire article she does not present one piece of evidence to refute the prosecution's case. Shawn Berry owned the truck, and unless
they found the fingerprints of the other men on the steering wheel, I am
quite content to believe he drove the truck.

What it boils down to, it seems, is that she wants to believe that only
white supremacists can commit grisly crimes. Would that this were true.

-- M. Therrien

Ashley Craddock's coverage of the Jasper trial does little more than advance the
stereotype of the "drunk-driving, mud-hogging, girlfriend-slapping" East
Texan who spends "countless hours swilling beer and off-roading." This is
insight? It sounds more like the malicious scapegoating of a community
for the crimes of three men. Perhaps the populations of America's urban
centers will be described with the same generic contempt when hate crimes
occur there, but I doubt it.

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Rather than treat rural racism as the complex phenomenon that is is, she
seems eager to accept as truth the very basis of Shawn Berry's appalling
defense: that East Texans fall into two camps, the hatemongers and the
good ol' boys who condone their deeds.

-- Marrit Howard Ingman

San Diego

That there is even a debate concerning this man's
guilt or innocence makes me shudder inside. As a black man I live with
the same fear that every black man lives with -- that this could happen to
me. That Ashley Craddock can even suggest that the man driving
the vehicle that killed Byrd was a sacrificial lamb is disgusting. Would she have written this story if Shawn Berry was black?

-- Barney H. Moore


I was a human crash-test dummy

BY MARY ROACH

(11/19/99)

This is a flabby attempt at sensationalism. Wayne State Univesity's Bioengineering Center (where Dr. Patrick did his work) has saved more lives and prevented more suffering
than any other of its kind in the world, pioneering changes in automobile
safety that a frequently recalcitrant industry would never have adopted on
its own. How about an article on modern bioengineering impact studies that involves more
research than a few phone calls?

-- Ed Sackett


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