Salon's story "The
last supper" incorrectly stated that a character in author Carl
Hiassen's novel "Strip Tease" was based on attorney Kendall Coffey. The character
was based on former Florida Rep. J. Herbert Burke. Salon regrets the
error. The story has been corrected.
"The West Wing" could only be left wing
BY JONATHAN V. LAST
I agree with Jonathan V. Last that "The West Wing" is an excellent show. However, I don't agree that its liberal tone contributes to its success.
The success of "The West Wing" is due to the creative talent of those involved in bringing each episode to the screen. That they happen to be liberal is no surprise considering that members of the entertainment industry are overwhelmingly so.
I'm certain that a conservative show of similar quality could be made by the same, or another equally talented, group of writers, producers and actors if they put their minds to it. They won't put their minds to it, though, because a show of the same quality, with a conservative theme, would face an uphill battle surviving the political prejudice of those in the position of choosing whether the show makes it to our living rooms.
Finally, saying "When conservatives do drama it comes out as 'The A-Team' or 'Red Dawn'" is no more fair than saying "When liberals do drama it comes out as 'Baywatch Nights.'"
-- Scott Jones
How can Last argue that "The Simpsons" is right-wing? The whole show is based on the premise that Homer, an idiot, is right-wing. I can't count the number of times that Homer has been made to look like a fool because of his siding with the right wingers (the NRA for one). And who is it that usually convinces him that he is wrong to be on the right? Why it's little Lisa Simpson, their brainy, socially conscious daughter, who has marched in gay rights parades and sang union songs to the workers when there was a strike at the nuclear power plant.
-- Josh Cuppage
Whatever the merits of "The West Wing," Last's arbitrary poo-pooing of conservative-powered drama noticeably neglects to mention a certain David Lynch. "Twin Peaks" was probably the most exciting and interesting television program in the past 20 or 30 years, and Lynch, the producer, writer and director of that show, happens to be a member of the Republican Party. David Lynch is smart enough to realize that, to paraphrase his character Sailor in "Wild at Heart," there are a lot of bad ideas out there.
-- John R. Parker, Jr.
I believe there is a distinct difference between what Last calls "conservatism" and the right wing. Unfortunately the two have been so lumped together they are thought of as the same thing.
For example, Last mentioned school vouchers. Vouchers are not the status quo -- there have never been vouchers in the United States. So based on Last's argument, left wingers are practicing "conservatism" by opposing vouchers and trying to preserve the status quo and right wingers are really "liberal" on the issue. And we will eventually have vouchers because they are not the status quo. This, of course, is ridiculous.
-- Brian Ellenberger
Last makes some excellent observations in "Why The West Wing Could Only Be Left Wing." Might I add that perhaps there are a couple of underlying characteristics among most liberals that enable them to make for better drama: They can be ironic and self-deprecating. Ronald Reagan's deceptive "Aw shucks" style aside, conservatives seem much too unsubtle to recognize irony and too thickly serious for self-deprecation.
-- Rik Jespersen
BY DYLAN EDWARDS
There's one problem with Dylan Edwards' article: Most men are completely, utterly hopeless at "snacking." The article is all about how much he enjoys the deed; as a former sex worker, I certainly know how much men enjoy it -- it's one of the most common requests. But Edwards shouldn't assume that women refuse because they are trapped in some outdated, patriarchal notion that their bodies are gross. It could just be that they know how unpleasant it is if it's not done properly. Also, many women find direct clitoral stimulation uncomfortable because the clitoris is so sensitive.
Edwards has good intentions, but has to respect that women might just not enjoy oral sex. It's not always about what the man wants.
First and foremost, I want to thank Dylan Edwards for his piece on cunnilingus. The fact that men love to lick is something that for years women have suspected yet been afraid to believe, and his clearly heartfelt declarations are a welcome relief.
However, I feel sad that, despite the truth of what he writes and the need we women have to read it, Edwards still did not feel comfortable using his real name. Why not? I know it's an intimate subject, but if you really think it, feel it, believe it, then admit it with complete truthfulness. Shout it from the rooftops, my friend! We're hanging on every word -- and may even ask for your phone number later.
-- Jenna A. Felice
As a woman, I found the article about cunnilingus entertaining, mainly because the author seems to find female genitalia attractive. I think most women don't believe this to be a possibility because we in no way find penises attractive, and most of us don't enjoy fellatio at all. The author mentioned some women avoid oral sex because they don't want to "return the favor." I would say that is my entire motive for avoiding oral sex, and I typically assume that is a man's motive for initiating it. Even if a man has other motives I still feel as though I am in debt, and I don't enjoy that feeling in any sexual situation ever.
-- Rebecca Beverned
BY DEB SCHWARTZ
I feel the heart of the matter is that gay people feel that they deserve to be recognized as equal to more traditional couples in the eyes of Americans.
If I were a nudist, and I sued for the right to go through life naked, it wouldn't be any different than this. People don't want to see naked people all over the streets. (Explain that to your 5-year-old.) Like nudists, gay people have chosen an alternative, less socially acceptable lifestyle. To now demand that the world see them as equal is ridiculous.
I hope all those people lose in November. I hope the people of Vermont will elect better leaders who aren't afraid to do what the people want.
-- Dave Erickson
The number that will outlive my grandfather
BY ALEXANDRA J. WALL
I was deeply moved by the article written by Alexsandra J. Wall. It was the most appropriate story to tell for the Holocaust Memorial Day. This Memorial Day means a lot to many people around the world. Most of these people know about the Holocaust from history lessons and I think that this story made the history lessons more personal and more real and emotional.
Thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to read this amazing story.
-- Stel Pinhasov
assistant economic minister
Embassy of Israel
My granddaughter wrote that I survived by intellect and sheer luck. I think that intellect didn't help. Greater intellects than mine perished. It was sheer luck in the form of accidental coincidental choices that decided about the probability of survival.
We may call it luck.
-- Abraham Melezin
The sensitive Bond
BY EMILY JENKINS
Ian Fleming, the author of the Bond novels, was also the author of "Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang," the children's tale about the car that could fly. The sense of wonder, of lightness, of surrealism and fun there in that children's tale, were also present in the Bond novels, just less overtly. Emily Jenkins gets it just right in identifying the more vulnerable, more human and more subtle heart of Bond that beats underneath the sometimes fascist exterior or pronouncement. Bond, and dare I say Fleming, was a humanist of sorts. Certainly Fleming was a good writer, no matter what the deconstructionists say.
-- Alex Marshall