Letters for April 15, 2010

Talking about Twain

Re “Why Mark Twain still matters” (Cover story, by Jaime O’Neill, April 8):

Thank you for writing about Mark Twain. He gave us the best humor and, more important, a national conscience with Huck’s self-debate over the morality of saving his friend Jim from slavery. The racism issue worked its way into our collective psyche.

Had Twain’s scathing commentary on our occupation of Cuba and the Philippines under the pretense of helping our “little brown brothers” and bringing “civilization” been internalized, some of our imperialist wars of the 20th and now the 21st century might have been avoided.

Twain’s truth makes hard reading—“As Christ died to make men holy, let men die to make us rich”—but should be included in any discussion honoring him.

Carol Eberling

Jamie O’Neill presented an interesting essay with respect to the relevance of Mark Twain in this day and age. The piece should have been balanced. For instance, O’Neill presents a critique of Tea Party renegades who allegedly used racial epitaphs toward Congressman John Lewis, but fails to cite Lewis’ own use of the race card toward President Reagan and both Presidents Bush 41 and 43.

Second, O’Neill, as well as many of his new-age progressives (aka radicals), conveniently ignores or is not cognizant that the European socialist models that are presently bankrupting the Eurozone would have been repugnant to Mr. Clemens, who was very critical of the Old World’s infatuation with Eurocentrism.

And, the takeover of the labor and environmental movements by radicals such as Andrew Stern and Tom Hayden would have certainly reminded Mr. Clemens of the Duke and the Dauphin of Huck Finn fame.

Mike McAdo
San Francisco

I particularly enjoyed the comment that referred to how, with Twain’s work, there could only be minimal “hair-splitting, bologna-slicing” by the lit-crit industry. That brought back memories of college courses I’d taken and not particularly enjoyed. Jaime O’Neill is to be commended.

Bonnie Hilbert

As evidenced by Jamie O’Neill’s warped application of Mark Twain’s timeless insights, in liberal discourse today there is no room for consideration that 40 years of social manipulation of capital markets was the root cause of the financial/housing meltdown and the current global recession. The Community Reinvestment Act and laws like it forced lenders to create an unsustainable subprime-mortgage market that would never have otherwise existed. Remember when a down payment and good credit were required to buy a home?

Note that Republicans were just as responsible for creating this debacle as Democrats, but it’s been several decades since the Republican party was truly conservative. When socialism fails, as it always does, politicians and pundits have to find someone to blame, and as usual those darn capitalists are at the top of the list.

Joe Kirklin

As an admirer of Twain’s work, I introduced my father to it 10 years ago. A man who worked all of his life without benefit of lettered education, my father has been enjoying his belated childhood through Huck Finn and other characters. Often he has remarked about the simple lessons and true wit Mark Twain taught.

Thank you for reminding me of happy days walking through the woods of Oregon with fishing pole in hand.

Dan Thresher

Illegal? Send them back!

Re “Back to the border” (Newslines, by Leslie Layton, April 8):

I believe that we have laws for a reason, and that “David” and “Margarita” should have taken care of business way before it came to this. “Margarita” was just lucky that they did not take her also.

I am one of the educated ones who have worked in government and seen first-hand both sides. However, it is our government’s fault, and unfortunately we voted these idiots into office. Remember in the early years (1960s, etc.) people had to stay in Canada until they were allowed to come into this country? There was an allotment. Then “the boat people” were let stay, and now the Haitians have been let come to the U.S. to find jobs and children go to school. Isn’t the country’s unemployment rate high enough?

Vicki Cook

Hurray! It’s about time they start to get rid of illegal immigrants! Why are you guys making them out to be victims? Awwww, poor illegals … not! “Illegally” is the key word, if you guys haven’t noticed. Liberals, I smell liberals! Smells stinky!

Now maybe I can get a job working in the fields part-time, like my father and grandfather did before me, and guess what: We’re not Mexicans! Wow! Adios, illegals, everybody will be better off without you, thank you very much!

Jared Miller

Why is it that liberals cannot seem to see the difference between legal and illegal immigration? Immigration is a great thing and all can apply. Illegal immigration is just that, illegal. So if you don’t like the current law, change it. Otherwise, by definition, illegals should be deported. It’s the law!

Craig Roberts

David and Margarita should have taken care of things before moving on with their lives. We have laws that should be followed. I worked all my working life, starting at age 16. My benefits from Social Security are very low, so S.S.I. had to be added. Now the state has to cut them because too many people, not U.S. citizens, are also drawing S.S.I.

I am sorry for the children, but agree if you’re not a citizen, go back and start over.

Stephanie Clayton

Art and The Artistry

Re “Found artistry” (Scene, by Christine G.K. LaPado, April 8):

How refreshing to pick up the paper and find Christine LaPado’s review of The Artistry’s Spare Parts: Reclaimed Art Show 2010! Besides featuring art and artists, art exhibits are themselves works of art, ideated and executed with varying degrees of sensitivity, skill, and success.

Darah Votaw, The Artistry’s owner and gallery director, aced it with this show. And the CN&R is to be commended for giving it press. Thanks! Now more.

Maria Phillips
Chairwoman, ChiVAA (Chico Visual Arts Alliance)


Jesus is the spirit

Re “Jesus” (From the Edge, by Anthony Peyton Porter, April 1):

Anthony, I have long been an admirer of your thoughts and writing skills. Also, I have long been puzzled by your attitude toward Jesus Christ. You now have made yourself clear. The image of Jesus Christ in your mind is clearly that of a natural or carnal-minded man. Biblically speaking, you are therefore ignorant of spiritual ideas and cannot understand them. I cannot identify you as a son of God by adoption through the merits of Jesus Christ. This is an opinion and an observation without malice.

Your comment on skin color is moot. The Jesus Christ I know is a life-giving spirit without skin or genital equipment. He could not be identified with natural eyes or natural understanding. He was the “life-giving spirit” housed in the clay body.

I see that we share common appreciation for many of Jesus’ principles and values. You have been bold in praising these values in your columns. For now I will settle for our common viewpoints.

Oh, by the way, I really, really doubt he had a “thang.”

Jim Adams