Letters for March 16, 2006

Lost in translation
I’m sorry that Mr. Hall was offended by my interview, ["Cowboy up". Letters, March 9]. He asks, I guess rhetorically, twice, why I chose to interview Boyd Magers about Brokeback Mountain. Then, he answers his own question, incorrectly, on my behalf.

First, I must point out that this interview was never intended—nor identified—as a “review” of Brokeback Mountain. I chose to interview Boyd Magers about Brokeback because he edits Western Clippings, the only regularly published digest of information and opinion about the Western movie genre, and because virtually all of the actual reviews I have seen identify Brokeback as a Western.

My purpose in presenting his views was to show the contrast between the modern perception of what constitutes a Western film today and what the old-time Western fan thinks, at a time when the movie in question has received so much attention.

I chose to air the interview despite his not having seen the film, precisely because it was an indication of how adamant—if not closed-minded—some Western enthusiasts are about the genre. Magers is an important writer of film and television Western history and a speaker at dozens of Western film festivals every year. He’s currently working with Leonard Maltin on a book and on a major project for the Autry Museum. Magers represents the views of a substantial number of people.

I raised the question about the Lone Ranger and Tonto as a Western fan myself and as someone who did in fact wonder about such relationships between the hero and his sidekick as I matured—and as an attempt at humor. I cannot speak for Mr. Magers, but I am not homophobic, nor was the reference meant to provide him a platform for his views. If anything, it seems the question offended him, as much as it did Mr. Hall. Again, it was meant to be humorous. Anyone who saw the Academy Awards show the next night would have seen the Western montage that Jon Stewart did to stretch the idea of subliminal homosexual suggestion.

I’m sorry that my interview upset and offended Mr. Hall. But it’s too bad if this one five-minute feature on KCHO has caused Professor Hall to abandon and discredit all the rest of what we do.

Joe Oleksiewicz

Lay low
So this kid who ran a sports utility vehicle through his alma mater is getting a little media attention and a little bit of attention from the FBI as well. My first reaction was that he probably just became homicidal when he realized that he double-majored in psychology and philosophy. Then I caught the Muslim-sounding last name and realized that jihad might top a fairly short list of career opportunities, especially in the South.

My advice to anyone with a last name, skin color or features that indicate Middle Eastern genes is to stick with the hard sciences, get a law degree or head to pharmacology or med school. Insulate yourself with family, education and sound investments and don’t take the bait when people make fun of symbols you deem sacred. Stay inconspicuous, think about changing your last name and, above all, be good. Be upwardly mobile but don’t ever get uppity.

Don’t try to wrap your head around the fact that many Americans would never think of returning land that was brutally stolen from the American natives but would then go on to argue that it’s morally correct to re-establish property lines drawn in biblical times.

If media images get you down, say, racist cartoons, or the Jewish comic who plays Ali G, then find a civil way to confront it. It worked to get Al Jolson to stop with the blackface.

And if a local editor makes statements such as “We allow them to practice their religious beliefs,” then check him by pointing out that you allow him to practice his religion as much as he allows you to practice yours.

S. Ali

Bush the insane
Bush is not only incompetent; he is insane. (Read Bush on the Couch by Justin Frank, M.D.) He is pushing the world toward a nuclear holocaust. Is he truly looking forward to the Rapture?

By “trying to think differently, not to stay stuck in the past,” as he has expressed it, he is jeopardizing the future of the world. Please don’t try to think anymore, W! His agreement to allow and assist India in increasing its supply of nuclear weapons will most certainly alienate China and our “ally” Pakistan, causing them to multiply their stockpiles of WMDs. It will further prompt “axis of evil” members North Korea and Iran to multiply their stockpiles.

Lying, spying, stealing elections and causing the deaths of thousands are all “small potatoes” compared to the destruction of the world, upon which Bush seems bent. He must be impeached!

Victor M. Corbett

Tree city
Trees are one of our most important and spiritual resources. They provide us with shade, cooler temperatures in the summer, beauty, oxygen and connection to nature.

Contrary to present city of Chico policy, I envision city workers removing no healthy limbs or healthy trees unless they provide an obvious danger.

Norm Dillinger

Why Chico is great
It was stated so eloquently recently in a newspaper commentary column that Chico is great because all our voices are heard, regardless of what side we are on. Another reason Chico is so great is that we have a community-owned hospital that at one time or another all of us have used or will use. What makes Chico especially great for me are the many, many exceptional, caring and kind community members that come through the doors of Enloe each day, reporting for duty and dedicating their lives to providing health care for the North Valley.

The challenges are many, the costs great, but the end result will be a hospital that will continue to provide care, continue to employ exceptional community members, and continue to be there just as we always have.

Don’t get distracted by the naysayers; this is much too important of an issue for Chico and the future generations to come. Let’s all rally and support our hospital and the Enloe Century Project.

Denise Arnold
Enloe Medical Center

Solar dump
Every day I drive by the ugly Humboldt Burn Dump butte—unfinished, useless, a fenced-off blot on the landscape.

But in fact it represents yet another opportunity for our city to move into the modern world.

I have a suggested use for it.

It is large, perfectly orientated and at the correct angle to operate as a site for a solar system to generate electricity for the hundreds of new homes that are to be built around it. New less-conspicuous solar membranes and solar shingles could replace the glass solar panels and not be an eyesore.

Could the city get a state grant for its construction and lean on the developers to pay for it? This would make use of an area and project that has so far just been a danger and a waste of our community’s resources.

My guess is that it could generate as much as 450,000 watts of power and feed back into the PG&E grid at peak summer demand.

It would compensate in a way for the past pollution caused by the dump and reduce the need for more coal-fired generation. It would help in a small way to balance out the damage already done to our environment by the lead in the dump by making sufficient electricity for over a hundred homes for the next 20-plus years.

Alan Gair

Where’s Wally?
Conspicuously absent from Congressman Wally Herger’s “Town Hall Meeting Schedule,” as published in his latest “Reports From Washington,” is a date in Chico.

Why would our representative to Congress not schedule a town-hall meeting in a major population, tourism, historic and cultural center of his district?

According to Wally’s mailer, which is distributed at taxpayers’ expense, “These meetings are an excellent opportunity to influence what happens in Congress.” An “excellent opportunity” unless you live in Chico.

In the last town-hall meeting Wally brought to Chico, he was part of Bush’s Social Security snake-oil show, and he didn’t do very well. In a room full of well-informed, intelligent and vocal constituents, he got spanked big-time.

I don’t care where your sympathies lie on the political spectrum; avoiding constituents who may disagree with you is certainly cowardice and certainly not the kind of leadership we deserve from our representative to Congress.

Dan Carter

Know this
Do you know Enloe Hospital has over 400 volunteer members? Do you know that last year volunteers contributed 38,500 hours of service, of which 3,600 were Hospice volunteer hours and 3,100 were Cancer Center volunteer hours? Do you know the volunteers hold many fund-raisers during the year? Do you know the biggest fund-raiser is the hospital gift shop, which is fully staffed and managed by volunteers? Do you know that over the years volunteers purchased a 4-wheel-drive Subaru for the nurses of Home Care and Hospice, contributed $20,000 to the Cancer Resource Library for computers and educational materials, purchased all of the treatment chairs and a blanket warmer for Infusion Therapy, purchased an updated security system for the OB Department, donated $100,000, matched by a state grant, toward a replacement helicopter and pledged $400,000 for the Enloe Century Project and have given $130,000 of that pledge?

Last question! If Enloe staff and administration is in such disarray and underhanded and negligent as rumors have it, why in the world would volunteers donate all that time and effort day in and day out to Enloe Hospital and to our community and even feel privileged to do so?

Marge Overson

Just forget it
A variety of evidence indicates that the age of the automobile is over. This need not be the doom of our national economy, however. Look at it this way: A really big—Enormous! Huge!—economic advantage awaits the nation to first make use of that fact. Think what it costs every year to run all those cars and have cops and hospitals and mortuaries and such. That money could give us great health care, full employment, self-employment instead of wage slavery, clean air and water, and food grown by people you know. This is bad?

Locally we could be just a little ahead of the curve and forget projects like the parking garage.

Nelson Kaiser