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It Depends Who’s in Charge

To the Editor:

In responding to my piece “Who Needs the United States Government?” [Sept. 8], Frank Robinson concludes Katrina’s lesson is not that we need to look to the national government for help with society’s problems, but that “government, by its nature, is just not a very good vehicle for meeting human needs.” Mr. Robinson suggests that “experience” tells us this is so [“The Making of a Disaster,” Letters, Sept. 15].

Experience tells us that government is, by its nature, not good at meeting human needs? What about the New Deal, World War II, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid? Experience tells us that when we have leaders who see government as a force for good, not a problem to be mocked and staffed by unqualified castoffs of the Arabian horse world, government has been a good vehicle for meeting human needs.

To borrow an example from other observers, concluding now, after 25 years of conservative attacks on government, that government is inherently flawed, would be like letting someone slash your car’s tires, break its windshields, and wreck its engine, and then concluding that the car was never any good to start with. My conclusion is that we need people in government who believe in government, not people who see it as a dumping ground for political cronies or a cash cow for their friends in business.

Chris Edelson

New York City


To the Editor:

I just finished reading your article about friction between farms and new property owners [“Agriculture Wars,” Sept. 15], and I’m so agitated I can barely type. My advice to those homeowners: If you can’t adapt and get over it, go home and stay there! We don’t want you here.

My husband and I moved to Washington County five years ago from Long Island, after spending 45 years there. We were tired of the noise, overcrowding of houses/schools, traffic, crime, the whole nine yards. We moved here to get away from that. What attracted us here were the cows and farms, the open spaces, and fields of corn and hay. Why are these people moving to an area that they want to change and turn into what they just left? Stay where you are. Why move into a farm area when you don’t want to be near a farm? Duh! That concept is not rocket science.

Yes, our roosters crow at all hours, day and night. It didn’t bother them when back in suburbia, their dog barked all hours day and night, and then tell us there was nothing they could do, because after all, dogs bark. So what if our horses and goats “make manure.” That’s better than when they had lawn services come in to spread chemical fertilizer and spray the trees with pressure sprayers all summer long, killing the butterflies along with the Gypsy moths and other bugs. You didn’t care about what we were doing in our yard. These people complain about the farmers spraying 100 acres, yet didn’t say a word to anyone when they did the same thing on 100-foot lots. How about when we used to watch our neighbors pour spent motor oil from oil changes down storm drains and into the groundwater. Then they wondered why their children came down with rashes and asthma, or why the women in the family were developing breast cancer.

Where do these people think their food comes from, when they go to their fancy, yuppie restaurants and order steak? What? They think it came off the steak tree? No, it was a living animal at one time, making manure somewhere.

The countryside and farms must have been attractive to these newcomers to make them want to be here, and then they complain, and want us to change our lives to accommodate them. This is our business, and the way we make a living. For some people it’s a way of life and had been for many generations. I just don’t get it. Like the saying goes: When is Rome, do as the Romans do. If you can’t take it, then go somewhere else far, far away and leave us alone.

Karen Zlattner


Myth Mocking

To the Editor:

James Yeara’s review of Medea in Jerusalem [“Just Mythed,” Theater, Sept. 15] at Capital Rep is qualitatively more substantive than the play itself—a scathing review that I agree with to a great extent.

I would take the subject one step further and raise the question: Why did Cap Rep produce this play in the first place?

I came away from this play with the sense that it was an indictment of the Palestinian people—that they are responsible for all the violence between the Israelis and Palestinians. Such a one-sided portrayal does nothing to further our understanding of the conflict, as pointed out by Yeara.

Dawn Marar


Reality Check

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to David Brickman’s review of “Anything but Realism” at the Schick Gallery in Saratoga Springs [“Next Time, With Feeling,” Art, Sept. 15] I was personally delighted with the show and recognize why Mr. Brickman didn’t get it. Stating in the fourth paragraph, “A quick scan of the work reveals that there is a degree of realism to all of it,” offers the first clue. Mr. Brickman should extend his observation of the show in order to feel whatever it is he expects to feel as in the title “Next Time, With Feeling.” Scanning obviously isn’t enough to fully appreciate any of the work, let alone feel anything.

Joanne Carson’s sumptuous floral sculpture accents the other artists’ work by heightening the unreality. Her piece is bold and enchanting in a fanciful, yet sinister manner. Some would associate a floral sculpture with romance but the extraordinary, unsettling flowerlike sculpture adds to the ambiance of the show and does so with attitude.

Possibly Mr. Brickman needs to explore the contemporary art world outside of Albany, to see that Mark Greenwold’s painting is as relevant today as it was in the 1970s. Mark Greenwold clearly decided to show this particular painting because it fit well within the exhibit’s premise and not because he couldn’t find a newer painting. Nevertheless, it was “new” for me, and the distorted perspective along with the Mediterranean furniture and vacuous expression on the female character shares a sense of humor Mr. Brickman noticeably does not possess.

As for artist statements, one has only to read statements by Claes Oldenburgh, Karen Finley, or John Baldessari to name a few who express their ideas unconventionally. Unconventional statements often engage the disengaged viewer and do it with feeling.

G.G. Roberts



Due to an editing error in our story on differences within the antiwar movement over Israel and Palestine [“Don’t Touch This,” Sept. 22], Ethan Bloch’s first name and connection to the story were omitted. Bloch is an active member of a local synagogue and a member of the local Brit Tzedek chapter.

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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