Letters to the editor

Did Reno's raid go too far? Plus: Swingers recognize themselves in "The Lifestyle"; DiCaprio is better than some "real" journalists.

By Salon Staff
Published April 26, 2000 4:00PM (EDT)

A tale of two photos


It seems to me if you're hiding behind a closet door during a police raid, holding the object of the raiding authorities' search, you should expect to come face-to-face with a law enforcement weapon when that closet door is involuntarily opened.

The fact that the Miami terrorists holding him hostage the last five months were more than willing to subject young Elian to the possibility of a bullet through his head in order to make their political point should prove to the world once and for all the shallowness of their commitment and concern.

-- Dave Abston

Let's face it, Reno did what she had to do. We all know Elian's father has more rights to the boy than any second cousin. We also know that they were not going to hand over the child. The bottom line was the agents had to go in with protection, they had no idea what they would encounter and could only go in prepared to defend themselves and the child. I am proud to say that Janet Reno is our attorney general. Can we get her to run for president? She's got my vote.

-- Adelita G. Garza

So what happens if the next court rules that little Elian should go back with his Miami relatives? Will the Justice Department thugs beat down Juan Gonzalez's hotel room door if he refuses to give up his son? How many times is this little boy going to be traded back and forth at gunpoint?

Elian probably belongs with his father, but that is for the courts to decide. Ripping him out at gunpoint of what had been his home for the last five months is a sickening, disgusting act of child abuse. Just as Reno did the right thing the wrong way in Waco, once again she has managed to do the right thing (reunite a boy and his father) the wrong way in Miami. Our government has truly lost its way.

-- Tim Jones

I am afraid that Reno's tenure at the DOJ will now be sandwiched by two images: one of the Waco compound burning and the other of a little boy with a gun pointed at him.

-- Thomsa Marshall Eubanks

Clinton takes a beating on Elian


If George W. Bush finds law enforcement "chilling," maybe he should put on a jacket. Hey I'm no legal expert, but until someone can show me that what happened with Elian is not in keeping with what would normally happen in such circumstances (i.e., when someone refuses to unconditionally hand over a child whom they are holding despite not having legal custody), I will see the raid as inevitable and complaints to the contrary as partisan whining.

-- David Lichtenberg

I have never felt the slightest impulse to own a gun in my entire life -- until I awoke on Saturday to the photo of the brutal seizure of Elian Gonzalez. For the first time ever I felt I understood the paranoid rantings of the extremist libertarians who argue that we need weapons to protect ourselves from the government. Fortunately, I gradually came out of my primitive regression, and realized that gun violence is still insanity ... especially when acted out in the name of politics.

-- Ted Peters



Thanks for the superb article on the swinging documentary. I have been a wannabe swinger for about 25 years, have succeeded on occasion, and saw my marriage ruined in part because of my obsession with the lifestyle. The obsession has subsided, but I retain a belief in the lifestyle's validity and a yearning to experience it fully, even at my ripe age of 53.

For decades I have been describing the milieu as it is evidently portrayed in this film and in your article. My dream has been to see a feature film that accurately portrayed the lifestyle. Nobody has even tried, to my knowledge, beyond sniggering snippets in mainstream Hollywood films.

The banality is both the beauty and bane of swinging. It is in many ways a closed society with open sex. The mix of Republican and radical is the essence of it and you captured that. Your point about middle-aged women recovering their allure also goes to the core of the lifestyle; I've never seen that point made in print before, though I have been espousing it for decades.

The tendency, on talk shows and other ostensibly open forums, is to abominate swinging and not allow swingers to have their say. It is incredible how the topic inflames people, even those who are permissive in many aspects of their lives. Swinging hits a nerve. It terrifies people. Much more than adultery. Maybe more than teen suicide.

Anyway, thanks again for your objectivity and willingness to take the lifestyle seriously. I am eager to see the movie.

-- Richard

I found this article interesting because these people are probably the same 1960s and '70s crowd I associated with in "swinging" in the East. The crowd was mainly middle class, white, business and professional, but more promiscuous. It was not unusual to attend dinner-dance functions with 100-200 partyers taking rooms at the hotel or motel and continuing sex groupings at various rooms for an entire weekend.

I must say the parties were great, you met many fascinating partners, all types of sex forms were experimented with and new friendships were formed and continued thereafter. However, this lifestyle is not for everyone -- females are extremely reticent at first, but most begin to enjoy it after one or two events, and I found they then wanted more. I attributed this to the inability of most males to totally fulfill the female desires once aroused so much.

-- Name withheld at writer's request

Leo DiCaprio, uncut

What in the world was so wrong with this interview that only an excerpt of it was shown? I found DiCaprio's questions to be succinct, well-thought-out and persistent. Clinton's answers, while certainly laden with politico-speak, nevertheless showed a great deal of sincere concern. I've heard and read many, many news articles and interviews that were far less substantive.

So what was the problem?

-- Stephanie Seery

Enough with the outcry over Leonardo DiCaprio's interview of President Clinton! The real outrage is that ABC News is trying to pass off Chris Cuomo -- son of the former New York governor -- as a journalist!

Cuomo, who along with DiCaprio presented a segment of ABC's Earth Day special, has no business as a correspondent. If it wasn't for pedigree, it's hard to see Cuomo as a reporter in the smallest of small-town markets. NBC's Maria Shriver and John Seigenthaler, also spawn of the politically well-connected, are at least credible journalists.

-- Jeff Card

I am wondering why this "interview" was allowed in the first place. A young Hollywood sex symbol has no right to interview the president of the United States. If the issue concerned the environment for Earth Day, I think Al Gore ran for vice president on that platform. Maybe he could be asked about what has been done or is being done about preserving and improving the environment. But the interview should be conducted by a news correspondent and not a Hollywood hunk.

-- Linda R. Silkwood

Born to pop pills


I read Elissa Schappell's article and was amazed to discover I'm not the only one who's had a torrid affair with pharmaceuticals!

I was a very good kid growing up; I would never have let my parents down by experimenting with capital-d Drugs. But oh, Advil! Sudafed! codeine stolen from my sister after her baby was born, the migraine prescription borrowed from a friend ... I loved the drama of drastically exceeding the recommended dosage. I was positive that pills -- any pills, no matter how weak or strong or what they were for -- could cure my low-grade adolescent depression. Just the ritual of swallowing them, three or four at a time, made me feel better.

I had a little overdose scare in college, so I've mostly stopped. Though I'm still way too firm a believer in the miracle of modern medicine ...

-- R.C.

Salon Staff

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