Letters to the editor

Horowitz gives Giuliani too much credit Plus: La Leche League isn't full of boobs; has coach Bob Knight mellowed?

By Salon Staff
Published April 6, 2000 4:00PM (EDT)

What Hillary Clinton won't say

When David Horowitz lauds Mayor Rudy Giuliani for cleaning up the streets of New York it's much like supporters of Mussolini raving that the trains run on time. "Increasing safety and well-being of New Yorkers" are code words keeping the black and Hispanic population in line, if not shipping them off to prison in record numbers. If Giuliani is doing such a great job why are the courts and prisons clogged? Why is it that crime in all other major cities is also down? No matter how you slice it, white supremacy is on the rise and David Horowitz is there to cheer it on. Killing innocent and unarmed black people is symptomatic of something much larger for which the right must answer.

-- Dennis Dalrymple

New York

Just like the other supporters of Giuliani, Horowitz does not tell us how many of the shots fired during the Dinkins administration were fired at unarmed civilians. He also fails to note that crime in New York began its decline during the Dinkins years and that crime has fallen all over the country, in cities where Giuliani is not the mayor. He fails to acknowledge that it was the crack epidemic that caused most of the violence and that the end of that epidemic was cyclical and had nothing to do with Giuliani.
Giuliani is a repressive tyrant with no regard for civil rights or the Constitution and no amount of distortion will change that.

-- Lynn Samuels

If, as the Giuliani administration claims, crime is down 70 percent in New York since the Dinkins administration, one would expect the number of police shootings to decline accordingly. From this perspective, Giuliani has actually lost ground on police violence.

In times of historically low crimes rates nationwide, why are more blacks and Latinos stopped and frisked in New York than ever before? And why do only 25 percent of those stops result in actual arrests, let alone convictions? Why do over 20,000 people go through the dirty and violent New York jail system each month?

To people of color who are harassed by Giuliani's NYPD more than ever, police slayings of unarmed black men symbolize the deranged misanthropy directed at them by Rudolph Giuliani.

-- Bryan Keller

Thank you David Horowitz for your knowledgeable articles on the left. It has been disgusting to watch the lawyer for H. Rap Brown portray him as a "political prisoner." I can't help but wonder if the Clinton Justice Department's failure to prosecute his open-and-shut case was a political decision.
I must point out that though the .223-caliber rifle Brown used is "high power," it's the lowest power round allowed to hunt deer in most states. Almost any rifle will penetrate body armor.

-- S. Marc Prince

I realize that Horowitz may well be your house conservative, but I am getting the most uncomfortable feeling, as a Christian conservative, that the only place that I find any sanity in commentary and reporting is in places like Salon. I tend to hew pretty close to the conservative Christian line on most public policy matters, but when I read such great writing as Camille Paglia, whose self-identification as a pagan lesbian democrat should send me screaming from my computer, along with such sober good sense as evidenced by Horowitz in his recent article, I wonder if perhaps the media world has been turned upside down?

-- George W. Bang

I believed in the breast


What a shame you offered a public forum to this young lady to perpetuate her anger and frustration toward an organization that perhaps she never really belonged to. The inaccuracies lead me to believe that she knows just enough to be dangerous and not enough to be accurate. I am a La Leche League Leader and certainly do not pay $52 a year in dues nor did I have to "sign an agreement in duplicate" nor is there a "national office." I'm sure your intention was that to create some controversy and it sure did.

-- Mary Kay Smith

Unlike the author, I've never applied for or served in La Leche League leadership. I am, however, a long-time LLL member and breast-feeding stay-at-home mom (still happily nursing my three-year-old). While in Salt Lake City, I was a member of a chapter that welcomed and embraced a number of moms who worked full-time, a lesbian mom, several single moms and two moms who were unwed teens. In more than six years, I've never experienced the rigidity and exclusivity Robins faced in her dealings with the La Leche League. She is entitled to vent her frustrations in this forum, but I hope it doesn't discourage other moms from considering LLL as a wonderful, supportive resource.

For me, breast-feeding has been an uplifting and galvanizing commitment that has strengthened my relationships with my two children and my husband. The wealth of information and exchange of ideas and experiences with LLL leaders and other members can help any mom make solid choices about breast-feeding. It also has taught me that I am not alone, which has helped me balance my instincts with my ideals, in my parenting and in my life.

-- Kate Nerone

No organization is perfect. What La Leche League is good at is breast-feeding information. It does not require attending meetings or joining; anyone can call for breast-feeding help and information. LLL does not force its view on anyone, even members. It is reasonable that if you choose to become a leader, that you are choosing to represent LLL and its philosophy. I hope that Sue Robins feels better after venting. She is portraying her personal experience and it doesn't represent mine at all.

-- Kate McMurry

Thanks for the article. I had also run into a few of the things that you had encountered
while seeking leader accreditation. The paperwork, fees and dizzying bureaucracy were the main
reasons why I discontinued pursuing my accreditation.

However, many of the issues that you discussed were not part of my experience, such as the
"muzzling." One of the things I loved about our meetings was the very free discussion, from leaders as well as attendees. Also, the comment about the leader stating that the mother, if she was committed enough,
would fork out the $20 for the LLL bible "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" seems to be an
example to show LLL has its share of bad leaders. Our group had an extensive lending library. No
one ever had to buy the LLL books -- they were lent out, even to those who just called for
information, and never went to the meetings. Our group always
tried to be sensitive to single mothers, by planning meetings at night when they could attend, and
having discussions regarding where to get breast pumps, how to get your employer to give you time
and space to pump, etc. And these were not "National Office" agenda items. We made the meeting fit
the attendees.

La Leche League may only get 50 percent of it right, but until a better
organization comes along, it is the only one out there (barring virtual communities) with the support
that new mothers need, and has mostly the right message about breast-feeding and attachment
parenting. I heard that there is a much hipper Canadian breast-feeding organization that has extensive
advertising and outreach.
Whenever I find this organization, I'm in.

So even though I am not involved with LLL now, and have withdrawn my application for leader
accreditation, I still recommend it to everyone even remotely interested in breast-feeding, and I
tell them, as my leader told me and other members of the group "Take out of it what will help you
and your family, and leave the rest."

With this in mind, I would have loved to have seen your article entitled, "Believe in the breast, and
leave the rest !"

-- Julia Riell


Why Bob Knight should bag it

Locker room talk does not translate well to the written page. Knight's language is coarse, but look around -- visit athletic programs or worse, go to a movie. Recent Knight articles are mostly old news, three years at least. Actually, he has mellowed to the point that his out-of-control ranking is no longer in the top four in his own league. What is needed are some fresh boorish coach-sociopath stories. Why not focus on a felon count, steroid rage or drug busts per semester? In today's market, Bobby Knight is bland fare.

-- Oliver Miller

I have watched Knight coach and throw his tantrums. It has been pretty clear for many, many years that he would eventually go the way of his former mentor, Woody Hayes. I am surprised it took this long.

-- Dave Koon

Drunk Boy vs. Eugene O'Neill


Cintra Wilson is right, "Moon for the Misbegotten" is one of O'Neill's failures, and something of a betrayal of his best work -- as dispiriting as a death-bed conversion by a devout atheist. It would be interesting to see what mischief the pipe dream-shattering Hickey of "The Iceman Cometh" would inflict on Josie and Jamie.

But Wilson has made the mistake of taking Jamie's alcoholism literally. Being a drunk is O'Neill's ham-handed metaphor for human frailty and sinfulness. Jamie can't get clean and sober because we can never free ourselves from sin. The Catholic point being made is not that 12-step programs don't work, it's that no matter how awful we've been and we have been awful, all of us, God is still there to love us at the end. Wilson believes that redemption is possible here and now, and O'Neill didn't.

And with her portrayal of the MTV baby, Wilson has accidentally argued O'Neill's case for him. There are irredeemable drunks like Jamie whose friends indulge them in their awfulness. The pals who came to the show with Drunk Boy even though they knew his condition, the bartender who served him another gin and tonic and admired the way he bullied the poor schnook who rightly complained about his bad behavior, and Wilson herself who even while she's appalled by him manages to romanticize his self-destruction. No play written about this guy should end with him happy and cheerful after completing detox. And he'd better hope there'll be a God there at the end who will forgive him for the messes he's made.

-- David Reilly

Nude for better or worse

Just what is Jack Boulware trying to say in his article berating Kathleen Turner for baring all in "The Graduate?" His overt emphasis on the fact that she is (gasp!) 45 and "gravity has taken its course" completely undermines his sanctimonious sighing about using nudity to sell theater tickets. "There is obviously a difference between Kidman and Turner" states Boulware. Duh! So, what? It's acceptable for Kidman to strip because she's young and nubile, but not for Turner anymore, because she's middle-aged? How hypocritical! If we bemoan the sex-sells stance of Hollywood, and now theater, then we should make it clear that it is unacceptable in all forms; not by pretending to be shocked while at the same time salivating over the pretty young things, and then in the same breath denouncing those who are less than our idea of physically perfect.

-- Jade Fothergill

Salon Staff

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