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Survival Goad

To the Editor:

It’s everywhere, like dog shit and MacDonald’s [sic].

The cover of your “2004 Student Survival Guide” [Sept. 9] featured an armed woman space traveler being pursued by ant-like aliens.

Such an image unwittingly reinforces:

1. The eye attraction of violence
2. Fear (rather than challenge) in The Unknown
3. The logic of force as a reaction to “the other”
4. The glamour of armed conflict

If a survival image was needed, why not someone crossing a desert? Or climbing an ice-covered mountain?

Ninety percent of American video games involve mayhem, brutality, and death. No harm, they’re only games, right? Death is fun. Murder is entertaining. Crucifixions are way cool.

Were people actually shocked at what happened in Abu Graib Prison? Please.

Standing before the state Capitol building is a statue of Gen. Phillip Sheridan (a man often credited with originating the phrase “The only good Indian is a dead Indian”). Oh, that it might be torn down to make way for something inspiring, something to provoke thought. Something on the order of, say, The Runaway Slave Woman. Or The Defiant Red Man.

Joe Quandt

The God Must Be Crazy

To the Editor:

Upon reading your coverage “Oh Saratoga!” Super-Christian rally [“Get Thee Across the Street, Satan,” Newsfront, Aug. 19], I am forced to wonder: Where do I get one of those awesome aborted fetus posters? Not only are they totally metal, but they remind us that when religious white suburbanites have too much time on their hands, look out!

Don’t get me wrong—I empathize with their position. I mean, who doesn’t have a Supreme Court decision stuck in their craw? Just the other day, while bathing, I was reading a copy of Plyer v. Doe, and tore it up in a sudsy rage. I always have a copy of Plessy v. Ferguson in my back pocket just in case a marshmallow needs roasting. I’m not much for book-burning, but hey, if it causes Allah to realize that he’s a false God, then burn, baby, burn.

Speaking of gods, I was talking to the real one the other day, at the Y. We were pedaling side by side on exercise bikes, and I said “God damn it, God, those posters were wicked! How about hookin’ me up with one?”

“I’m not part of that garbage!” he said, panting. I told him to chill.

“Well, how would you feel? These Bozos go around dropping my name as if they know me! They say I’m angry, that I’m spiteful. Where do they get this stuff? Then, they march into a peaceful neighborhood, blowing ram’s horns, spewing hate speech. They started their protest at the Capitol building, right? Isn’t that the symbolic center of the lawmaking process? Isn’t that the appropriate place to protest a legal statute? Oh no! They have to hold their hate party in front of a legally operating Planned Parenthood clinic. It’s like picketing Chuck E. Cheese’s because you think kids play too many video games. Sheesh!”

Between you and me, God can be a real buzz killer, and by the time he got to all that legal talk, I had stopped listening. Sweat dripped down my face, and my mind wandered back to that dead fetus poster. Maybe I could get it made into a T-shirt. Now that would be bitchin’.

Nick Yetto

He’s Not That Bad

To the Editor:

I expect Metroland to be relentlessly left-wing and filled with Bush bashing. That’s OK, America is a free country (even under the Bush administration, though one wouldn’t think so from reading Metroland).

So now Mr. Leon’s commentary [Comment, Sept. 9], as well as a “news” article in the same issue, both seriously suggest that President Bush and his administration knew of the 9/11 attacks in advance, and intentionally conspired to let them happen.

This seems somewhat ironic in view of your unremitting portrayal of Bush and his administration as dumb, ignorant and incompetent. I don’t think Bush is dumb; but cannot imagine he and his administration are so incredibly well-informed, astute and competent as to have known of the 9/11 plot in advance, and to have deliberately facilitated it. If government were actually capable of such cleverness, maybe I wouldn’t be a libertarian. Further, call me a naive idealist, but I don’t believe any U.S. president (not even Clinton, whom I despised) would ever intentionally sacrifice American lives to advance his personal political interests.

There are plenty of legitimate criticisms of the Bush administration. But suggesting it welcomed the 9/11 attacks is not one of them. That is way outside the bounds of civil political discourse. It is a thoroughly absurd, ludicrous and disgraceful allegation; it is sick, sick, sick.

And you are the people who also accuse Bush of dividing America.

You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Frank S. Robinson

Stephen Leon replies:

For the record, I did not make an outright accusation that the Bush administration had foreknowledge of the attacks; I wish enough information were available that we all could have access to the truth, whatever it may be. What I did say is that the evidence of possiible foreknowledge (on some level within the adminstration and/or the intelligence apparatus) is considerable, and disturbing, and we should not stop asking questions that the 9/11 Commission didn’t get answered. I do not believe such inquiry is absurd, disgraceful or sick—I believe it is our job as journalists.

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.

Send to:
Letters, Metroland, 4 Central Ave.,
4th Floor, Albany, NY 12210
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