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What’s Your Point?

To the Editor:

I want to respond to Gene Mirabelli’s article “Poorhouse, Here We Come” [Opinion, May 11]. While I applaud Mr. Mirabelli’s effort to back up his thesis (despite not having one) with statistics and to bring much needed attention to the problems facing our materialistic, buy-now-pay-later society, he writes an opinion with no clear understanding of the issues at worst, or no clear context with which to frame the statistics he proffers into a comprehensive argument at best. For instance, in the second to the last paragraph, beginning “Unfortunately, the wealth is not distributed according to hours worked,” he makes no effort to explain this assumption. “For the past several years the rich in this country have been getting richer.” Maybe, maybe not. It’s not easy to tell given his “snapshot” recent figures. Further, how exactly would we be sunk if China decided not to loan us any more money? The reality is that this is an extremely complex issue that cannot be used as ammunition in an anti-Bush’s regressive tax-policy bashing. If China decided not to loan us money (buy U.S.-backed securities) our interest rates would rise, as would the value of the dollar, giving American consumers more real purchasing power. This would, unfortunately, further exacerbate our trade imbalance, as it would be more expensive for foreigners to purchase American goods, but less expensive for Americans to buy foreign goods. While I’ve attempted to refute specific portions of Mr. Mirabelli’s article here, the broader point I would like to make is that opinions like this should not be published absent a clear understanding of the issues and a well-stated thesis. We should be able to expect more from our print media.

James Doar


High Infidelity

To the Editor:

While I might sympathize with Jeremy James’ complaint [“Indie? Indeed!” Letters, May 11] regarding chains versus local indie business purveyors of culture, popular or otherwise, I must take issue thusly. Sometimes local independent businesses do not meet customers’ entertainment or elucidational needs. Case in point, the complained about Netflix noted by Mr. James. For ethnic filmgoers like myself, who may wish to watch “art” or popular movies reflecting their cultural tastes or identification, other than venturing to the Spectrum on occasion, Netflix, vile Web-based concern that it is, offers a much vaster selection of Hindi, Spanish, Portugese, Tamil, Arabic, Hebrew, Cantonese etc. movies, complete with English subtitles than any local emporium, especially one catering to the still comparatively parochial tastes of tri-city residents. Nor may I add, on a broader range of topics (say, a travelogue to the gigantic Hindu Kumbh Mela at Allahabad, India, or talks by the Dalai Lama, or Sufi mysticism in Iran, among the sort of discs I’ve rented via the internet from Netflix). And while I was a past consistent customer of the Music Shack, both in Albany and Troy, I all too often found my tastes in world music looked down upon by the staff there when I inquired about a title I wished to buy or had pre-ordered. So much so, that buying said such kind of music from, say,, or even the local Borders or Barnes and Noble a much more aesthetically (and politely) enjoyable and rewarding experience than having to endure the snickering and ridicule of heavy metal/industrial/rap music cretins with about as much knowledge of other cultures as that of George Bush’s foreign state department. Not all net-based or large corporate chains are equivalent to Wal-Mart, and to automatically assume so is the shallowest of pseudo-populism.

Ganapati S. Durgadas


Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters addressed to the editor. Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length or clarity; 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 anonymous, illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

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