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Let’s Take This Outside

To the Editor:

I’ve been reading zany letters to Metroland for 16 years—several of them I wrote myself—but none was so far over the top as the letter by “Nigel D. Johnson” (that sounds like a pseudonym, and for his sake, I hope it is). Even I could not have written such a devastating parody of mindless leftist sentimentality [“One More for the Kitties,” Letters, March 10].

The subject is feral cats, which occasion health and sanitary problems, and whose lives are nasty, brutish and short. A veterinarian who has at least some apparent acquaintance with the problem wrote previously, at undue length, that these unhappy animals are best put to sleep [“Look What the Cat Dragged In,” Letters, March 3]. But, thunders Johnson, this “continues the fine tratition”—I suspect he is trying to be ironic—“of demonizing a helpless and disenfranchised population” such that “they [sic] are free to be exploited at will.” “Disenfranchised”? Does Johnson imply that cats should be allowed to vote? “Exploited”? Cats cannot be exploited. To their credit, cats, unlike dogs, refuse to work.

[Editor’s note: Johnson actually used the term “unenfranchised,” not “disenfranchised,” in his letter. But really, who’s counting?]

But “take care,” warns Johnson, “if these were people, not cats, we are but a feline step from fascist Europe in the 1930s.” Yes, but, I know it’s a detail, but they’re actually not people. Johnson’s argument may be paraphrased as follows:

“First they came for the cockroaches, but I said nothing, for I was not a cockroach. Next they came for the termites, but I said nothing, for I was not a termite. Next they came for the feral cats, but I said nothing, for I was not a feral cat. Next they came for the Jews, etc., and finally, they came for mushminded saps like myself, and I looked around, and there was no one to protect me, because all the cockroaches, termites, feral cats, Jews, vegans, gay anarchists, singer- songwriters, restaurant reviewers, etc., had already been taken away.” The slippery slope.

Now I have seen countless liberal and leftist trivializations of the Holocaust for petty immediate political exploitation (that word again!). But none came close to Johnson in his (his phrase) “extremely patronizing”—patronizing whom? Feral cats? They don’t care, and isn’t he their self-appointed patron? (being “disenfranchised,” they could not elect him to “defiantly continue to advocate on their behalf”)—and farcically humorless self-righteousness and straight-out boneheaded stupidity. It would be a tough call who is worse-served by this nonsense—cats or people. Only a certain pompous Pharisee gets anything out of it.

Bob Black


Redefining the Agenda

To the Editor:

I am writing in regard to Nolan Konkoski’s article [“Don’t Ask, Don’t Recruit,” Newsfront, March 10] on our campaign to have the heterosexist and discriminatory U.S. military barred from SUNY Albany’s campus. While I appreciate the attention you have given us, I feel you have greatly missed the point of our campaign. We are not antiwar activists “shifting tactics” to achieve a win for the antiwar movement, we are LGBT people and allies fighting to end discrimination based on sexual orientation on our campus, and to stop the persecution of LGBT people in the military. We do not condone, nor would we tolerate, anyone “using” LGBT issues to further their own unrelated cause. True, many of us are also antiwar activists, but in this campaign we are fighting solely for LGBT rights.

Gene Cronin

SUNY Campus Action


Not Fade Away

To the Editor:

I had to write to tell you how fantastic I thought the article regarding Billy Idol was written by Carlo Wolff [Recordings, March 10]. Since I am a self-proclaimed “Idol Junkie,” I read everything about Billy and thoroughly enjoyed this one article in particular. I agree with everything Wolff wrote and look forward to reading more, more, more about my Idol.

Nancy Chinavare

Brownstown Twp., Mich.

Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters (computer printouts OK), addressed to the editor. Or you may e-mail them to: Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length; 300 words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

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