War Is Hell
For both sides: Isaiah Thompson's "Ramadi Madness" (August 23) is another example of what happens to many soldiers when they return from war. I have always believed that war is the child of Hell.
That all of Florida's 124th Infantry came back alive is in and of itself miraculous. We witness once again what distinguishes wars: Men are slain and crushed by the obvious cruelty, injustice, and treachery of the murderous hands of other men. It is like a plague that sickens people. It destroys religious beliefs, it destroys families, and it destroys countries. War, as we see again and again, is as much a penalty to the punisher as it is to those who suffer from it.
A personal thank-you goes to all of our fighting men, and may we give the best treatment to all those returning from war.
Ronald C. Rickey
Too clever by half: In his recent review of Shaw's Saint Joan (August 23), Brandon K. Thorp writes the following: "Joan, who historically was a craven lunatic on the order of Jan van Leiden or Osama or Mother Teresa. Choose yer cuckoo." Long distance, over-the-centuries psychiatric diagnoses of people he has surely never met. And then he somehow places this very disparate group of people in the category of what he calls "craven" lunatics. Perhaps he was just "raving." Craven, of course, is both a noun and an adjective (things Mr. Thorp seems not to have a solid grasp on) referring to a coward (noun) or describing the behavior of a coward (adjective); in any case, the word is no substitute for raving. Isn't it your job as editor to save your writers from making such howlers and saving your readers from this smart-aleck style of writing? It is neither witty nor thoughtful, nor well informed. Spare us.
Jesse and John
Two artists in one article: Newspaper articles (usually constricted by who, what, where, when, and why) rarely sound like great literature. Not so with John Hood's article "Troubadour for Troubled Waters" (August 23). Great photo too. Kudos to Mr. Hood for expressing, so clearly and profoundly, why Jesse Jackson is such an important (if relatively obscure, for now) force of nature in the music world. I look forward to hearing more from both of them.
Floral Park, New York
Try again: Lee Klein, you are hugely off base with your review of Wish (August 23). Maybe you had one too many electric cocktails, but I am a regular at this wonderful establishment and your experience couldn't be further from the reality of this South Beach favorite. Maybe you should try again.
King for a Fray
You want fries with that, cheapskate?: Thank you for Janine Zeitlin's excellent August 16 article, "Burger Sting," about the ongoing injustice by Burger King against the Coalition for Immokalee Farmworkers. I wholeheartedly support your exposure of this important issue, and I applaud the initiative of the students at All Saints Catholic School in Sunrise, whose teacher encouraged them to write letters that spoke from their hearts. BK must think nobody cares enough to give even one penny more a pound. Is that really so much? Taco Bell, KFC, and McDonald's are getting lots more positive press for having done the right thing, and they look great in comparison. In fact it is clear to me that BK is the one that doesn't seem to care; they need to know their customers care much more than they realize! As Ghandi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world."
Not Feeling Fidel
Castro's crazy: Although seeing Fidel Castro's image on the cover of your August 16 issue made me feel sick, I understand this to be your way to catch your readers' attention in order to look for more information about this person.
Comparing Fidel Castro and Hugh Hefner seems like a good way to teach younger people what you can do in life to be famous, rich, and at the same time hated by normal, decent people. Both are millionaires due to the suffering of others: Hefner used sex in the most obnoxious way to get his green bills, and Fidel killed a lot of people and destroyed many families and a whole country. One thing I doubt is the quote from the New York lady (was she really a lady?) who went to Fidel's room at night, apparently because she found him so sexy, and he asked her for "tractors, seeds, and fertilizers." If that story was true, I'd rather believe Castro was asking for guns, bullets, and money. I don't know if Mr. Hefner is really sick, but I truly believe Fidel has a disease, which is eating his body the same way it ate his mind — which is, pardon the word, full of shit.
Elsa M. Rodríguez
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In "For Whom the Hell Tolls" (August 23), a reference was made to Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries accompanying the napalming scene in Apocalypse Now. The music in that scene is in fact "The End," by the Doors. Ride of the Valkyries is heard during the bombing of a Vietnamese village.
New Times's article about the Rewind/Fast Forward Film Festival ("Splice of Life," August 30) claimed actress Gene Tierney had been lobotomized. Although Tierney received extensive electroconvulsive treatment for depression, she never had a lobotomy.