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
Such an image unwittingly reinforces:
1. The eye attraction of violence
Fear (rather than challenge) in The Unknown
The logic of force as a reaction to “the other”
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
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.
God Must Be Crazy
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?”
not part of that garbage!” he said, panting. I told him to
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’.
Not That Bad
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
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
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.
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.
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