Letters for October 23, 2014

Freedom of effin’ speech

Re “Profanity fails” (Letters to the Editor, Oct. 9):

I just have to respond to your response to my recent letter commenting on Fred Speckmann’s maybe less than mature complaint about the F-word in the RN&R. I agree wholeheartedly with you that some with ulterior motives of restricting our rights will portray themselves as “protecting the children” or as only concerned with “how something is said,” but not everyone who complains about the place of profanity in newsprint is necessarily attempting to assail our free speech rights.

And yes, I am well aware of such rights issues, and yes, partly because of my long association with reggae music, but not because of your notion that reggae has been attacked by censors because of what you called its “promotion of drugs,” which in reggae’s case refers only to its abashed support for cannabis in its many forms and uses, some of which you advertise and write about in the RN&R. In fact, it’s even being legalized here in the US to some extent, and its legalization is being seriously considered in Jamaica these days too. To use the broad term “drugs” for that particular herb perpetuates an untrue myth about reggae that does it a disservice. Off the top of my head I can’t think of a single reggae song singing the praises of any other type of substance, except a few vintage tunes about Jamaican rum perhaps (OK, I’ll give you “Red Red Wine), although such examples abound in pop and rock.

And none of those, rock or reggae, have been subjected to much censorship on the airwaves. Although we all know that attacks on free speech and other rights do occur, it’s still OK to express a legitimate opinion about a policy of profanity in print without being assumed to be a rights assailant or somehow unaware of larger rights issues. Do you make room for such language in the RN&R just to keep the rights envelope expanded, which would be one good reason, or do you truly believe profanity is that often the best way to express or emphasize a point in writing, despite being offensive to some. I am curious, as are other readers, about your reasons for the policy.

T. Alan Moore


Editor’s note: I’m glad you responded, Tracy “Too Dred.” Back in pre-internet days, we rarely had conversations on the letters page. Pop music is censored every single day for language and concepts management disapproves of. The point of my response was not to say it was in any way OK to censor reggae, but just as a reference point that I knew you’d have knowledge of. Anyway, yes, we occasionally use profanity for both the reasons you mentioned, but primarily we use it because we know certain words have artistic or emotional connotations attached. Bottom line, we use it when we want to. That’s why they call it “freedom” of speech.

Touched by an angel

Re “Tower of Power” (Notes from the Neon Babylon, Oct. 9):

Thanks for the heads up. So some soul escaping from Africa passes through an airport, chalks up the sweating and headache to the flight across the pond from the old country cooped up in a stuffy cabin with a screaming toddler or two, and hangs onto the escalator rail for the ride down to the baggage claim. Everybody else who touches that rail, and then their nose, eyes, mouth in the next couple of hours could continue to spread the joy around freely. Just sayin’ it doesn’t look good for the home team. Your note about the transmission through touching common public surfaces is really crucial.

Rick Woods


Support for the Education Initiative

We’ve all heard the crying, “It’s not fair,” from opponents of the Education Initiative, primarily major corporations.

They’ve done it before—in 2000 over the proposed net profits tax, in 2003 over Gov. Guinn’s gross receipts tax, and today over the Education Initiative’s tax.

The opposition’s study by Applied Analysis shows that the proposed margin tax is equivalent to 0.56 percent of gross revenue; this is after considering deductions and credits.

It is absolutely not true that the tax is “2 percent of gross revenue,” as the opposition claims on its website, on its videos, and during its debates. This is what they cry about. But they are crying over their own falsehoods. No business would need to pay 2 percent of its gross revenue. On average, businesses would pay 0.56 percent of gross revenues. With $1 million in revenue, a business would pay a $5,600 tax—a small tax.

As a teacher, I recognize the importance of quality education. And I listen to the concerns of students who recognize that their education is insufficiently funded.

Nevada voters, don’t listen to corporate crying. Take action to support K-12 students. Vote “Yes” on Question 3.

Ellen Pillard


What’s in a name?

Re “Go ask Alice” (Editor’s note, Oct. 9):

You named a dog Alice? That’s a person’s name. Charlie is too, of course, but is known to be more of a silly name, so OK for pet use. But Alice?

Here’s a remedial quiz to test your knowledge of the difference between people and pets.

1. How many legs do children have?

a) 4

b) 2

c) 6

d) 8

2. How many arms do dogs and cats have?

a) 4

b) 2

c) 0

d) all of the above

3. You could name a dog “Shit Face,” and it wouldn’t care.

True False

4. Pets are to children as:

a) Apples are to oranges

b) Rocks are to shells

c) Chairs are to trains

d) Music is to scissors

5. A dog is a

a) Domesticated bovine

b) Primate

c) Domesticated canine

d) Tuna

6. Essay question

A whiny child and a whiny dog are in a burning building, which do you save first, and why?

April Pedersen


Editor’s note: I hate to break it to you, but we had a Brittany named April, too, which is not a person’s name, but a month’s. If you don’t believe me, you can ask my sister, Spot.

Low Highton

Re “Age of Empire” (Feature story, Oct. 9):

Is there not enough hate in the world that the article “Age of Empire” was published? I found the inaccurate diatribe against Israel to be especially vulgar. Jake Highton has spewed his vitriol on the Reno area since I moved here in 1999. He exemplifies the opinion that extreme liberalism is a mental disorder. Many leaders and agencies in our country are deluded and dangerous. Yet we the people do little to ask our elected leaders to enforce our voting desires. By acquiescence, you and I are responsible for the pathetic state of America in the world community. However, Israel? Excuse me, but that beleaguered country is a shining beacon of political correctness and liberal Western values. How Mr. Highton’s bigoted hate speech can be considered worthy of prime-time RN&R ink is truly a head-shaker. Emeritus or no, he is a sad, old, pathetic hater.

Marsha Schiffman



Re “Fish out of water” (Green, Sept. 11):

Scott Tyler was incorrectly identified Scott Taylor. We apologize for any misunderstandings or confusion our error may have caused.