Depends Who’s in Charge
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
New York City
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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