O for O'Barry
Hero: Ric O'Barry, as described in Natalie O'Neill's March 5 story, "Free O'Barry," is indeed a hero. There is no doubt about that. There is also a villain, and it is the marine captivity industry that makes millions of dollars off the misery and deaths of intelligent animals. This is not a matter of differing philosophies. The captivity industry recognizes itself as the bad guy, and thus the lies about the disgusting aspects of its behavior. The lawsuits against Mr. O'Barry will fail, and his message will be heard even more loudly. Worse yet for the whale jailers, people are slowly but surely realizing the gross inhumanity of holding intelligent marine animals in overgrown cement swimming pools. Rock on, Ric O'Barry. The dolphins need a hero!
Steve Hindi, Elburn, Illinois
Villain:If there is anyone who could recognize PR crap, it should be the man who has based his entire career on PR crap. Don't get me wrong, I find the dolphin slaughter in Japan to be reprehensible... but Ric O'Barry is far from a hero. No one who has ever worked with him will ever work with him again, even if they agree with him. O'Barry will not be a part of any story where he is not the driving force or obvious star. He does not play well with others. This must be why he gravitates toward animals. It is a shame Ms. O'Neill was too star struck by her subject. She calls him "quietly handsome" and notes his "hazel eyes are framed by deep age lines." These are not necessarily objective observations. She should have done the proper background research necessary to tell the whole story. The man who claims to be Flipper's trainer was merely a fish cutter and a bucket scrubber during the time that Flipper was being shot. But self- aggrandizing hyperbole is his specialty. But facts like that get in the way of a good story, making this article more of O'Barry's "PR crap."
Hero... and trainer: From all my research, Ric was the head trainer for the entire length of the Flipper series. I have spoken with the cast, crew, and creator, and they all testify to that fact. Ric O'Barry helped start awareness to the plight of captive dolphins worldwide. The fact the dolphin entertainment industry is directly tied to the slaughter of tens of thousands of dolphins strengthens the argument that marine parks only serve themselves and the bottom line. I have seen The Cove and it is the most powerful documentary I have ever seen. The New York Times, New York magazine, Variety, and Entertainment Weekly have also suggested that it may be one of the all-time great documentaries with Ric as the hero... so there.
Don, Coconut Grove
Hero... and fill-in: I worked with Ric O'Barry, and I would work with him again anytime. There are few people in this world who would dedicate their lives to a cause the way he has. Wherever Ric might be, he has brought attention to the fact that captivity is a horrible life for a free-ranging animal. I don't believe anyone would choose to be so hated by so many if their ideals were not strong and their cause not great. Ric does what he does for the dolphins, but also for the many of us who cannot.
Kathleen, Key West
SunPost Up, New Times
No more skateboards, c'mon!: "The SunPost is Setting" by Kyle Munzenrieder and Chuck Strouse (March 5) was a nice story. It is a sad thing that this little paper is unlikely to survive. Now it's up to New Times to do a few less tits and skateboard type stories and a little more muckraking.
Rebecca, Miami Beach
Brandon's Her Boy
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SHOW ME HOW
He got it right for once: I couldn't agree more with Brandon K. Thorpe's February 26 review of Defiance, "Race and Power." The questions posed were important. The answers, we were left to ponder. The actors portrayed their characters so truthfully, that I was greatly moved. Wow! Barbara Lowery
A recipe for cucumber strawberry mojitos published on page 26 of the 2009 Taste guide (February 26) incorrectly listed the address of Meat Market restaurant — which incidentally is reviewed on page 38 of this issue. It is located at 915 Lincoln Road.