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I don't know how I got on your mailing list, but I 'm glad I'm on it. Once a month I get a good laugh when your new issue comes out. What's really funny is the continued rehash of all the lefty crap you guys buy into. I especially love the "open letters" portion written by illiterate, anti-American foreigners. You guys crack me up. Keep up the, uh, good work!

William Cimino, Jr.
Virginia Beach, Va.

No News, Please
....As of the last election, in which the American people gave total power to the far right, I no longer care to hear any news. Besides, now that we have a one-party system, it is as irrelevant and useless to me as political discourse was in Germany in the late 1930s.
       Nevertheless, I hope you are able to break free of the other corporate media outlets who have in a very large measure brought about this national disaster through unrelenting sycophantic coverage of the Texas mafia.

Best regards,
R. Anderson

Meaty Issue
I’ve gotta say that I am super impressed that you have this best-seller, go-get-’em journalist Eric Schlosser writing an article for you [See story]. I’m just finishing up his book Fast Food Nation and am already a big fan. He and Michael Moore should team up for a shot at an even bigger audience.
       If ever there was a question in my mind, it has been cast into the kitchen sink (which by the way, according to a study cited in Schlosser’s book, is probably more dirty than your toilet seat if you prepare meat at home). I will never eat beef or poultry again. The book transcends its logical, honest and evidence-packed analysis of the fast food and industrial agricultural industries. The book is really an anthem, a paradigm for the segment of American culture that has become rotten and subverted.
       I’m not talking about people here, I’m talking about culture for the sake of making money. Amoral and federally supported economies of scale, a populace hypnotized by advertisements arriving by the second and blind-eyed politicians who have forgotten the term “public service” are subverting freedom in favor of profitability.
       The news isn’t all bad, because at least someone is paying attention.

Michael Gotthelf,
Washington, DC

Eric Schlosser is the author of Fast Food Nation (HarperCollins). The article mentioned here was republished with permission from The Nation (Sept. 16, 2002 issue), published weekly by The Nation Company, 33 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003; 212-209-5400. Subscriptions are $35.97/year (or sample 24 issues for $21.97); call 1-800-333-8536.

Conform or Be Cast Out
"Shave that scruff off your face tomorrow or don't come in to work. The Don Johnson look is out of style," said the boss. "Wear a collared shirt and long, neatly pressed, 'professional' looking pants. A red bandanna is not 'appropriate' attire."
       "But sir, you don't pay me enough to keep such a nice wardrobe."
       "Then get a part-time job."
       So went the conversation in the last days at a job I had to leave. What exactly is appropriate attire? In the dictionary, appropriate is defined as 'to make one's own.' We pat ourselves on the back about how those nasty 'communist' countries discourage individuality while we encourage it. Hypocrisy? I'd say so.
       Why do we let the 'fashion' industry tell us what we have to wear as $200 dresses and suits gather dust in our walk-in closets while so many people in the third world wear rags? Is it Hollywood, Inc. that determines how long our beards can be?
       The valedictorian graduates from college summa cum laude and finds that every job interview turns out to be a disappointment. "Maybe you shouldn't color your hair purple or wear those rings through your nose," Mom says.
       "But this who I am. I was the best in my class, and I refuse to conform. Let me be me. Isn't that what freedom and liberty are all about?" asks the frustrated job seeker.
       We are forcing round pegs into square holes, while at the same time we scratch our befuddled heads and ask, "Why, why did Columbine happen?"
       So many people in this country, especially the youth, are like volcanoes ready to erupt. Ubiquitous ads, fear, violence, hatred, and never-ending war have left us so we don't know who or what we are anymore. We are told our young people fight, kill and die abroad to protect our freedoms and liberties. Bah!
       The Great American Experiment is failing miserably.
       Martin Luther King III said last year, "We are a sick nation. Every day we are getting sicker."

C'mon America, think a little bit.
Frank Gubasta
Fort Myers, FL

Take Me “Bowling for Columbine”
It gripped me, shook me, threw cold water in my face. It made me laugh, then weep, then shiver and shudder, weep some more, then smile.
       It left me hopeful, faithful in the human spirit. I literally shook for the first hour.
       Ouch. Reality stings! Over 900 rounds of ammo into a high school? Teenagers. Anger. Over 11,000 gun murders a year?
       Yet the film isn't bloody, isn't violent.
       What makes us like we are? What is it? A very elusive question indeed. Yet Michael Moore (“The Big One,” “Roger and Me,” “Stupid White Men”) dauntlessly seeks out the answer in his new film, “Bowling for Columbine.”
       Leaving the cinema in a daze, I bumped into walls, people, doors. The film took me through some kind of matrix that doesn't really exist, between what I was led to believe was real life in America, and real life its very own self.
       When I got home and looked into the mirror, I was a different person, mutated forever.
       Who are we as a people? What are we as a nation? Where are we heading? What have we done?
       In a newspaper's opinion section I read: "It is a film of major importance and recognized by the world as such." I'll give that an 'A' for understatement.
       “Bowling for Columbine”—see it. It will rock you, shock you, transform you. It will drop you, then lift you.

Frank Gubasta,
Fort Myers, FL

Let’s Hear Thurmond Apologize
Now that Senator Trent Lott has apologized for his reprehensible and stupid statements concerning Senator Strom Thurmond, isn’t it time for Senator Thurmond to do some apologizing?
       Senator Thurmond has never displayed one ounce of contrition for his virulent stand against racial equality and social justice. When he ran for President in 1948 as the “Dixiecrat” candidate, he had as his keynote speaker Gerald L.K. Smith, who strutted around wearing a swastika armband and was known for his hatred of Jews and African Americans.
       There are photos of Thurmond, Smith, Governor Eugene Talmadge of Georgia, Senators Theodore Bilbo, James Eastland and other venal racists standing side by side roaring their hate.
       None were louder than Senator Strom Thurmond. The time is long past due for him to make a speech or at least write an article to show us his feelings now. Otherwise, every American should have reason to believe that Senator Thurmond is as racist as he ever was.

Gerald B. Shargel,
Reisterstown, Md.

Why Kissinger Had to Go
President Bush’s appointment of Henry Kissinger as head of the new “Truth Commission” to investigate the intelligence communities response to 9/11 was an example of downcycling.
       That such a man, who supported government policies that have subsequently been totally discredited, should be selected for his credibility is nothing short of astonishing, albeit consistent with Bush’s appointment policy of putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.
       ....In the newly released movie, “The Trials of Henry Kissinger,” in defense of accusations of war crimes he committed, the good doctor opines that morality in the conduct of foreign policy is different from personal morality.
       ....If morality is so relative as to justify some genocides, then truth will be too relative to be of much use in sorting out responsibilities for 9/11.

J. Russell Tyldesley,
Catonsville, Md.

Slots are not synonymous with economic development
Politicians across the country believe that slot machines are a synonym for economic development. Instead of sitting down and balancing the budget in a sound and sensible way, they are having slot machine wars. They are creating commissions to study ways to compete with neighboring states for gambling money. It won't be long before the politicians understand the folly of their action.
       Although millions of people visit Las Vegas each year and Las Vegas residents gamble away millions of dollars at neighborhood casinos, it isn't enough to keep Nevada in the black. Nevada is facing a $500 million deficit—taxes must be raised.
       Every nickel, dime, quarter and dollar spent on gambling is money taken away from American businesses that produce goods and services. Our country is in the midst of a financial crisis. Many business owners are struggling to survive. It's time for gamblers to use gambling money for goods and services, it's time to put fun and games aside.
       Gamblers—instead of leaving the casino with an empty pocket, buy goods and services that will help your fellow Americans.

Theresa A. Mataga,
Las Vegas, Nev.

Mataga can be reached at this site.

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This story was published on January 8, 2003.
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