CHECK IT OUT
Balance is important in life. In all areas we should be balanced. I'm not putting anyone down for watching sports and television. Especially if you watch "NOW" with Bill Moyers Friday nights on PBS. But if your free time consists of watching television and little else, you are out of balance.
I bring this up because I had the privilege and pleasure to attend the third annual Peace, Justice and Media conference Oct. 9-12 here in Eugene. It was a wonderfully inspiring and educational event with speakers, theater, music, workshops and films. I got the chance to meet other people who were involved in various organizations which are trying to make the world a more just and fair place. My dismay was the lack of attendance.
I had a hard time finding parking because there was a sporting event going on which was very well attended. I often find myself thinking if only these people would go to one of these types of conferences for one weekend a year, then maybe they would possibly expand their consciousness just a little to understand in depth some of the issues we are faced with today and what can be done to help.
Jim Hightower, who kicked off the conference, had a full house for his speech. That was great, but part of his message was for people to get active. The first step is to educate ourselves. The second step is to get involved in issues that concern us. This is a wonderful example to set for our children. Children notice and mimic what we do, not what we say.
Please, next year, check out the Peace, Justice and Media Conference. It just might get you to turn off your TV and get out in the streets!
Pamela Driscoll, Eugene
KILLING US SOFTLY
I had just walked out of the Peace, Justice and Media conference's video called "Killing Us Softly: Advertising's Image of Women," when I saw a copy of your 10/9 newspaper lying on a table in the EMU depicting a naked woman getting "The Best of Eugene" tattooed on her body with a person's black gloved hands on her ass. I cannot tell you the sadness and despair I felt.
A whole segment of the video was devoted to the dehumanization of women. To dehumanize is to objectify, leading the way to use and abuse. One way to dehumanize women is using women's bodies as an advertisement with examples that were less offensive than your cover page. One of the first things Jean Kilbourne said was that most people think they are not affected by advertising and that that is simply not true — not for us or our children.
This is my third letter to you — the other two were about the objectification of women in your sex ads. You didn't print those letters. The letters to the editor you print are predominantly written by men (11 men to two women in that issue.) You said mine exceeded the 250 word limit yet I see many that are in excess of that — the first two in that issue are 347 and 336 words (written by men).
Since your cover has absolutely nothing to do with the "Best of Eugene," I can only conclude that this is more than insensitivity. Please see that video and inform yourself before you continue to contribute to our abuse.
Jean Denis, Fall Creek
EDITOR'S NOTE: The tattoo artist on the cover is Best of Eugene winner Dr. Julien of The Parlor. As for letter length, 250 words is the target length, but it's the editor's discretion. The week before, the longest letter ("Field of Stumps," 426 words) was by Camilla Mortensen. Occasionally we'll run longer letters if they have news value, offer unique perspectives or advance arguments — and if space is available.
IN DEAN'S DEFENSE
Mark Rabinowitz made some misleading statements regarding Howard Dean in his 10/9 letter. He claimed that Dean has mere tactical differences with Bush on foreign policy. In fact, Howard Dean has consistently been against this war with Iraq in contrast to all of his congressional primary opponents (except Kucinich) who voted for the war resolution. Dean advocates controlling increases in military spending, seeks support from the U.N. in Iraq, and he has spoken out ardently against Ashcroft and the parts of the PATRIOT Act that infringe on our civil liberties.
Dean has a progressive health care plan, will roll back the Bush tax cuts and reinvest in our schools, increase jobs, stimulate the economy. His environmental agenda includes protecting natural resources and investing in alternatives to fossil fuel consumption. The Bush administration and their cronies claim he will be easy to beat in the general election. Could their mantra be because they fear his message, as well as his superb organizational skills and fund-raising activities from hundreds of thousands of supporters?
Those who advocate the continuing playing of the band while the Titanic is sinking have to answer to future generations for the folly they are creating by shirking our primary responsibility of getting rid of this oppressive regime in the White House.
Ellen Hyman, Eugene
NAUGHTY AND NICE
I've got a question for Ben Fogelson regarding his "O Girls" calendar commentary in your 10/9 issue. Hey Ben: Isn't it just a little hypocritical for an EW reporter to be critical of a calendar featuring "UO students in suggestive outfits" when every week the EW runs a half page full of ads featuring women in suggestive outfits for (wink wink, nudge nudge) "Escort Services"? I'll bet those "naughty and nice girls" in your paper's ads could show you an even bigger wad of cash then the one Zach Patterson is carrying around on 13th Avenue. Better start digging.
Steve Buck, Glenwood
EDITOR'S NOTE: We're all individuals down here and we have widely varying ideas about where to draw the line on what's acceptable.
Political cynicism is cheap and plentiful, and keeps citizens from voting. The intent of the current plutocracy is to keep people cynical and not voting, so they can stay in office. When Jim Johnson (9/25) categorically states that Kucinich is not electable, he is indulging in cynicism. Typically, such statements about Kucinich are not supported by any evidence. It is a belief, and as such, has the power to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Kucinich beat a Republican incumbent for mayor in 1977, for state senator in 1994 (overcoming the national right-wing tide) and for Congress in 1996, in a district of conservative Democrats. Kucinich has been a winner in a swing district in the swing state of Ohio. And Ohio has 20 electoral votes, the state that is key to national victory. Only two candidates in the 20th century won the presidency without carrying Ohio.
Political courage, like that of Wayne Morse and Peter DeFazio, is rare and extremely attractive to the anti-big business, green, progressive voters who have deserted left-right politics. Kucinich has the courage to walk his talk and to bring cynical voters like Jim Johnson, who admire Kucinich but fear Bush more, back into the democratic process.
If Kucinich can simply get his issues on the table at the Democratic convention, he will help the Democrats defeat Bush, whoever is nominated.
David Hazen, Eugene
HAPPILY EVER AFTER?
The war on Iraq was a Bush fairy tale. We, the good, were to defeat the evil, and the world would live happily ever after. We thumbed our American nose at the U.N. and waged our "preemptive" war against Iraq. As we wake up from Bush's fairy tale, we learn that the Iraqi people are complex just like us. And we find there was nothing to preempt. But our soldiers die every day, and we beg the United Nations to send troops and money to share the burden the UN warned us against.
Bush now asks for another $87 billion to cover the poor judgment and arrogance that got us in over our heads. We cannot trust the Bush team's motives and judgment any more. We, through our senators and representatives, must shake up this arrogant administration and demand that it get real about the mess it has created. We must:
Have a clear budget for any money allocated, and a clear exit strategy for both Iraq and Afghanistan. And watch out for well-connected gougers like Halliburton.
Invite the U.N. to join the effort on a cooperative basis, instead of our we'll-do-it-our-way attitude.
Fire the Pentagon team, Rumsfeld first, that lied and exaggerated to get us into the war.
And if they can't get real, we must throw the entire administration out!
Eldon Haines, Eugene
THAT TRUTH THING
It now seems to be common knowledge that George W. Bush has trouble with the truth thing. Add to that the inherent dishonesty of television commercials and we the people have been getting a bucket full of lies about marijuana.
First the Bush administration said we are terrorists. But they backed off of that. I am not sure now if the Bush administration thinks we were terrorists but are no longer terrorists, are terrorists but not too dangerous, or if they think we never were terrorists — again that pesky truth thing really trips up this administration.
Now we are being told people who use marijuana shoot each other, get pregnant or run over little kids.
If Bush were an intelligent person he might check out the statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (www.samhsa.gov)where he would find the National Survey on Drug Use and Health 2002 and under Illicit Drug Use he would find that over 14 million Americans used marijuana in the last 30 days. That's one out of every 20 people in the U.S. We can't all be terrorists and baby killers.
After Bush leaves office I do not think he should go back to Texas. He should move to California. I think he has a future in writing fiction for Hollywood.
Chris Pender, Eugene
I want to thank everyone for voting me as the second best mullet in Eugene.
The way I figure it six people must have voted — three for Dean Grazier-DelCastillo, two for me, and one for Carrie Jones.
It wasn't until 2002 that I learned that the haircut I have worn for years actually has a name (who names haircuts?) and that it is considered controversial! (Controversial?? The war in Iraq is controversial. Nuclear power is controversial. A haircut?)
Oh well, I will take my 15 minutes of fame wherever I can get it.
Thank you to everyone who provided me with a great laugh and a moment of high weirdness. Being in the business I am, I guess that I should expect high weirdness.
Thanks also to the EW for their "Best Of …" (Do I get a certificate?)
David Lang, Urban Shamanism, Eugene