Sensationalism and overblown rock stars

Readers respond to recent stories on biological warfare, Bono's humanitarianism and the deeper meanings of "homeland."

Published October 5, 2001 7:00PM (EDT)

Read "Poison on the Mind" by Chris Colin.

"Is panic the right response to bioterrorism?" What kind of misleading subhead is that? What do you expect when you run articles like this one? Not only is the case made that a biological attack could happen -- something that we have heard over and over again -- but Colin proceeds to illustrate exactly how we'll all die and the futility of trying to prevent it. And yet he takes issue with the government view that there's no point in hysteria.

So, what attitude should we take? Colin seems to feel that the right thing to do is to paralyze us with fright. What exactly was his point in writing this lurid litany of horrific scenarios?

-- Karen Lee

How irresponsible I found this article! I'm getting awfully tired of the sensationalization of this issue.

If you have something useful to provide (such as a question or an answer), please do so. Otherwise, writing a piece that in essence says "I agree that there is a big problem!" only serves to heighten the anxieties of an already worried populace. I'd like to see some serious research as to what YOU think we should all be doing.

As for me, I'm going to practice the sense that I grew up with. And that means washing my hands frequently, having a good first aid kit in the house and (most important) keeping my eyes and ears open -- as I always do.

None of us can worry about everything at all times. This HAS to be less of a problem to my everyday life than making sure my kids get up, go to school and come home safely without getting hit by a car. Otherwise we should just stay at home with our heads under the covers.

-- Joanne Reed

Read "Brilliant Careers: Bono" by Brian Libby.

To profile Bono and completely ignore his religious faith which obviously motivates many of his activities on and off stage is tantamount to lying to the reader. I really hope Salon will work harder in the future to present an accurate picture of the people it covers.

-- Kotz

I continue to marvel at the way serious people can look at rock performers as political oracles. Personally, I take them as seriously as so many cab drivers, bartenders or high school valedictorians.

-- Taipei

Thank you for your insightful article about Bono. Too bad there was no mention of the incredible spiritual quality of his band's live performances or the extraordinary way U2 fans pick up the band's causes and carry them further.

No matter if it's the '80s, the '90s or the 21st century, on the concert stage or the world stage, Bono remains, always, relevant.

-- Lisa Cea

Read "Move Over 'Heartland,' Here Comes 'Homeland'" by Leslie Savan.

I'm not sure whether "homeland" reminds my of German "Lebensraum" or Disney's "The Lion King."

The creation of this post raises one question, though. Why is this function not being handled by the Department of Defense? It has me wondering if Bush's DOD is too beholden to traditional military interests to coordinate a joint effort that uses military, diplomatic and intelligence sources

-- Eric Janik

Leslie Savan, in her comparison of "homeland" with "fatherland," "motherland" and "heartland" overlooks the most obvious historical precedent.

The British "Home Office" has responsibility for various aspects of domestic security, ranging from passports and policing to civil emergencies and terrorism.

-- Todd Markle

Boy oh boy! Here we go again, looking for that "vast right wing conspiracy." You know, I don't seem to recall anyone getting upset with Hillary's use of the phrase, "it takes a village to raise a child" as maybe implying that the word "village" was code for "The Village People" and that she was speaking out for the Man Boy Love Association (MANBLA). How about Al Gore's "you ain't seen nothing yet"? Was Al admitting that he has propensity for exhibitionism and that we should be more tolerant of exhibitionists?

How about this one: When Bill Clinton was trying to redefine the word "is," he was actually trying to get a message out to America. You see, if you spell "is" backward, it spells "si," which in Spanish means "yes," as if to say "Yes, I did have sex with Monica but I can't say so under oath in a court of law." Wait a minute! I just thought of something. What if when Hillary said she was a "Yankees fan," she was really saying something completely different! Just hear me out on this one. If you transpose the "Y" and the "F" you get "Fankees Yan," which sounds an awful lot like "Monkeys Can" as in "Monkeys can take over the world one day," maybe giving a plug for "Planet of the Apes" or Darwinian evolution or something like that! Hmmmm. There just might be something to this! Please check on it. Thanks.

-- Reuben L. Owens

By Salon Staff

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