Letters for March 13, 2003

Weighed down by horrors of war

Re “Carry That Weight” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R News, March 6):

This must be an attempt to express [Dodson’s] reaction to being trained for war, but he was lucky enough to experience just the aftermath of a battle.

The experience of war cannot be expressed in words or even a photograph. Many veterans never try to tell those to whom they return about it. When soldiers of opposite sides meet, the shared experience is often more important than any differences.

Many people in the nations who most resist the U.S. war with Iraq have experienced war’s terror and its losses. It was millions, not thousands, dead.

At least one person who had a 9/11 loss hoped that the Afghans would not have the same experience.

Any nation with airspace used by bombers against Iraq is likely to have terrorist reprisals. Bin Laden may succeed in his united front if a war starts and we insist on remaking Iraq, with a different culture, in our image.

Mark Schindler

If you build it, they will use it

Re “The Ride of Their Lives” by Jeff Kearns (SN&R Cover, February 27):

Thank you for writing such a great article about the Amtrak Capitol Corridor service. It is too rare that anyone in the media has anything positive to say about mass transit. As the article demonstrates, people will use mass transit if a good enough system is put in place.

The article also points out how important it is for cities, counties and mass-transit companies to work together in order for mass transit to work more efficiently over large areas.

The United States is not too big to have a great mass-transit system! No one questioned if we could go to Mars, only if we should. If we are so confident that we can do that, why can’t we make mass transit work?

W. Jones

C.C. rider to S.F.

Re “The Ride of Their Lives” by Jeff Kearns (SN&R Cover, February 27):

I really enjoyed your article about the Capitol Corridor train. I have not driven to San Francisco for the last five years. I take the train.

Your article was very accurate as to who rides and what goes on.

Robert G. Wilson

You, sir, are no Hunter S. Thompson

Re “Peaced Off!” by Dennis Yudt (SN&R Cover, February 20):

I was anxious to read Dennis Yudt’s article about the peace rally held in Sacramento on February 15. I had wanted to attend the rally but wasn’t able to get out of a prior commitment.

Unfortunately, Yudt’s article was a major disappointment. Someone, please tell him that there is only one Hunter S. Thompson in the world and to give up trying to imitate his style.

I wanted to know about the peace rally, and all I read about was Yudt’s drug consumption, his Molotov cocktails (huh?), his ridicule of the attendees, and Yudt, Yudt, Yudt. The article was tiresome and thoroughly unedifying.

Please, leave the “gonzo” journalism to the experts. Go back to J school and develop your own writing style. No one wants to hear about the author; they just want to hear about the news. Thompson can get away with it because he’s a great writer and actually has something to say. Yudt is not a great writer and apparently has very little to say.

Brian Flynn

Typing with one hand and saluting with the other!

Re “Peaced Off!” by Dennis Yudt (SN&R Cover, February 20):

I am the slender, “dumpy,” “Plain Jane” cut and pasted among the photographs of anti-war, anti-Bush peace freaks in your February 20 issue. I was the person with the sign reading, “Justice First, Then Peace, Bomb Saddam.”

Dumb me. I didn’t realize you would view the peace rally as a beauty pageant. I failed to pack my lipstick for the photo shoot. My consideration to the PETA crowd prevented me from doing so, since I had imagined my lipstick might contain hydrogenated animal fat, or whatever! I did hear that if I would have patronized the “made organically from hemp” type shops, I could have found a lovely shade of earthy mango hemp-flavored lip gloss that would make those peace babes drool with envy. Is that true?

I was immediately crushed by Yudt’s harsh criticism. Nevertheless, I continued to read his further tasteless remarks. Then he wrote, “these were the 25 people in Sacramento with the biggest balls or ovaries.” Instantly, he properly redeemed himself among us hot-blooded, flag-flying patriots.

Disconcertingly, though he probably doesn’t realize it, Yudt and I have much in common: (1) This event was our first attendance at a real live peace rally. (2) We both acknowledge the “cannabis-challenged” crew. Lovely folks! (3) We both agree to refer to the local news woman as a “CNN news Betty.”

I, too, would “die for this country,” as he described a man’s deathbed scene from Sir Laurence Olivier. My uncle served as an ass-kicking Marine in Vietnam. I also publish a newsletter for veterans of the Battle of the Bulge. My father-in-law proudly defended our nation during World War II. Right now, I am saluting my flag with one hand and typing with the other! I’m sure that’s some sort of scene out of a Hollywood movie. You know how convincing those Hollywood types can be!

I am not pro-war. I am pro-Bush, pro-military and pro-America! Obviously, horrific things happen in war, but since I live in the most powerful, arrogant country in the world, I intend to win! Those peaceful folks had the audacity to accuse me of being a baby killer. Oh, I’m sure those evil terrorists will let the babies off the airplanes when they attack us again. Were the peace freaks in comatose mode on September 11?

After a tiring day, I escorted my matronly self to my gas-guzzling Chevrolet Tahoe, Made in America, SUV. I cranked up the volume to The Best of the Moody Blues, those beloved British blokes. Thank you Tony Blair, for having the balls—oops, I mean courage—to fight the evil terrorists to protect your ungrateful bloody folks. Oh, by the way, screw France! They have always been weird. As I drive away, leaving behind a trail of oily fumes (no disrespect to the “No Blood for Oil” gang) I must leave one departing message to the ill-informed, comatose peace freaks who just don’t get it: Saddam thanks you for your support.

Sherrie Morrison

The essence of absurdity

Re “Peaced Off!” by Dennis Yudt (SN&R Cover, February 20):

This is the essence of illustrating absurdity by being absurd.

No one there [at the demonstrations] protested the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, just as none of these folks protested in 1998 when Clinton launched 450 cruise missiles into Iraq for more than three weeks.

I mean, communists do not allow protests like this. Remember that whenever you hear that it’s better than capitalism or democracy.

Michael Zwahlen

Acting like a reviewer

Re “Laughing Zen and Other Stories of the Path” by Jeff Hudson (SN&R Theater, February 20):

I read your paper regularly, but I have never written a letter to the editor before. While I appreciate your coverage of many controversial issues, your reviewer’s coverage of “Laughing Zen and Other Stories of the Path” fails completely to capture the heart of the play and the actor’s brilliant performance.

I counted at least 14 characters that Derek Byrne, star of the solo performance, played. Most impressive was his ability to capture the adult and child Shaw (the author of the stories), his alcoholic and abusive mother, a female black speakeasy owner, a female impersonator, “Tiny Tim,” a young Korean prostitute, a Korean soldier raised by a black sergeant from Harlem, and Tubby Boots, which was a comedy act on Broadway, in Miami hotels and on cruise lines in the 1950s and 1960s.

Shouldn’t your reviewer know more about life and acting skills?

Margie Fincham
West Sacramento