Letters for October 11, 2001
Re “Lack of Understanding” (RN&R Art of the State, Sept. 20):
Whatever award is given in Northern Nevada for excellence in public relations/advertising should be given 10 times over to the head of public relations at the University of Nevada, Reno’s Sheppard Gallery for suggesting that Jimmy Boegle do a critique on their current “plastic” installation.
Jim Bo’s review has me convinced that the art there is brilliant and a must-see. I would even pay to go see it now. Thanks, Jim. And might I suggest that Mr. Boegle enter the [VSA arts of Nevada’s] bowling pin decorating contest next year.
Reno: nothing but gambling
Re “Swing and a Miss” (RN&R Film, Sept. 20):
While viewing the newly released film Hardball, starring Keanu Reeves, I thought of how Reno, as a city, would react to this movie—could Reno’s citizens take it? Then I read Bob Grimm’s review of the movie.
When it came to Reeves’ character having a gambling addiction, this hit too close to home for Reno. It must be hard to see yourself, Reno, the real reality of the gambling blues and how it is an emotional and financial trap instead of high-rolling entertainment. Unfortunately, for the town of Reno, gambling (along with drinking) are the only well-known forms of entertainment here. Make a bet—that is what life is about for Reno. Reno isn’t anything else.
Yes, gambling can become a real problem for people, and it can hurt their integrity and social development. Reeves’ character made a good point to show this. And Bob Grimm, those stereotypes you were looking for in the film—there were none. It was filmed on location in the Chicago housing projects. People there, even with their strong personalities, need something like baseball to hold on to. Reeves’ character, along with the kids, worked very well for the film’s message.
Americans are selfish
It never ceases to amaze me how selfish Americans really are. Mere weeks after the horrific attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and the crash in Pennsylvania, the average American has already returned to the attitude of looking out for No 1.
Today, I received an e-mail from Vegan Spam, saying basically that this is the PERFECT time to lobby for animal rights. It said that just because we have been struck by tragedy, it doesn’t mean we should forget about the little things (like animals). To some extent, I agree, but on the whole I think that we as a nation need to CONTINUE to focus on, oh, maybe, clearing away the rubble of the WTC towers. Or continuing to identify the victims, so their families can at least have some resolution.
As long as we’re going to use this heinous situation to promote our own causes and desires, I say the government should be giving out chocolate. And that everyone who either isn’t old enough to vote or isn’t registered shouldn’t be allowed to badmouth the president. And while we’re at it, let’s put coffee shops and jazz clubs in the Department of Motor Vehicles. Ridiculous, isn’t it? Well, that’s how I feel about the self-centered attitude of the general public.
Based on what I’ve seen in the past week, the question is no longer “What kind of sick country do we live in?” but “What kind of sick people live in this country?”
No U.S. military strikes
Why is it that U.S. troops are in Saudi Arabia, a land considered holy ground to a large percentage of the Earth’s human population? Why do our leaders support aggression against Palestinians despite the fact that such support violates international law? Why is our military entitled to invade other countries at will, without accountability, and to impose catastrophic sanctions on them? What does “national interest"—the standard justification we’re given in these cases—mean here? These actions, and others like them, taken by our leaders, often against the wishes of the American people, have destroyed the moral legitimacy of the United States. All talk of freedom, tolerance, democracy and respect for life becomes meaningless when considered in the light of U.S. foreign and domestic policy.
For these reasons, and many others, I’m utterly opposed to retaliatory strikes against Afghanistan or any nation or population. I’m convinced the conflicts that gave rise to the carnage in New York and Washington can not be remedied militarily. Conversely, military action will undoubtedly aggravate them.
My intention in writing this hasn’t been to defame my homeland, which I love as I love my parents—passionately and uneasily. My intention has simply been to get right with my own heart.
I wish to express my agreement with your decision to provide coverage of Sept. 11 after the fact. As a student at the University of Nevada, Reno, I usually don’t find the RN&R until several days after its publication. Half-brained coverage of those events in a weekly paper is not acceptable. I prefer delayed reporting that provides reasoned and thoughtful consideration. There are many venues for snappy, dramatic and reactionary response (i.e. TV, radio, emotional student printouts). I hope to find more perspective in the RN&R. So far, I am not often very disappointed.
Insight regarding Burning Man
Re “Burning Ban” (RN&R, Sept. 13):
I happen to have some insight into the controversy surrounding the Jiffy Lube art controversy at this year’s Burning Man, and I wanted to make a few points.
First and foremost, if anyone thinks that Burning Man overreacted and that Burning Man was actually not in any real danger of continuing, they haven’t really considered the issue. The authorities (in this case, Pershing County law enforcement) felt that the Jiffy Lube art was obscene and wanted it taken down. Regardless of whether Burning Man and the Black Rock Rangers agreed with Pershing County’s assessment of the piece as obscene, they had to make a choice. Did they really want to fight this battle? If Burning Man contests this, they open an entire bag of worms concerning pornography and obscenity at Burning Man. Now, if Burning Man wants to fight that battle, that’s fine. But I have a REAL good feeling that Burning Man would lose, especially in Pershing County. Burning Man, at the size it is at, HAS to cooperate with various government agencies. Pershing County is one of those agencies. I’m sure nudity and public display of material of an explicit sexual nature is against the law in Pershing County. But they basically ignore those laws for the week of the festival. If Burning Man fought the decision to take down the Jiffy Lube art, where does Pershing County look next?
Yes, Burning Man is a week where people can go and express themselves in just about any way they feel. But with the current scope and size of the event, there are some compromises to be made, regardless of the right or wrong of an issue, to keep Burning Man alive.
Voting on NYC mural
Like all Americans, I am shocked, outraged and deeply saddened by the terrorist attacks that took place on Sept. 11, and I am committed to doing whatever I can to honor the memory of all those lost in the attacks, assist the families of those lost and injured, and support the war on terrorism.
However, I have I small question that I would like your readers’ assistance in answering. In June 2001, I took over the Napoli Restaurant in the Viewcrest Shopping Center at the corner of North McCarran Boulevard and Kings Row. The restaurant features a large mural of the New York City skyline including, of course, the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.
The question is: Should we leave the mural, perhaps adding a commemorative plaque, or should we replace it with something else? I have decided to put the question to a vote. Throughout the month of October, anyone can come to the restaurant and fill out a ballot. I have no wish to profit from the tragedy, so it is not necessary to eat at the restaurant in order to vote. For those that do stay for a meal, I will take $5 from the check and donate it to help the victims of the attacks.
God bless America.
owner, Napoli Restaurant