Reader Mail

A Dynamic Duo

Mason-Felder, square dancing notwithstanding. Plus: On prison guards. Kerry's single vote and other ineptness. And more.

5.20.04

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SQUARING OFF
Re: Jackie Mason & Raoul Felder's Nobody Asked Us, But…:

I have always liked Jackie Mason -- even when his humor seemed to have been deemed somehow inappropriate or out of fashion -- although I must admit to having a certain prejudice against Felder because of his profession. (I'm a paralegal and have good reason to distrust attorneys!) However, this brilliantly written and succinct and well-reasoned article reinforces my fondness for Mason and redeems Felder in my eyes. Thank you, gentlemen, for expressing yourselves so well!
-- Gayle Miller
Columbus, Ohio

Glad to see the Spectator heeded the advice I offered the first time I read this duo's work. They are priceless, and their value increases exponentially with each essay. Please Jackie and Raoul -- WRITE A BOOK; but only after you take on (1) the loony left media, (2) the loony left academia, (3) the loony left anti-America entertainment industry and (4) the loony left Socialist Party's most recent attempt to pull off a coup d'état.
-- Charles Livingston
Fort Worth, Texas

Felder and Mason write: "Now when a few individuals out of hundreds of thousands of American soldiers have acted inappropriately, the Arab world is outraged." Actually, it seems that the Democratic politicians (especially Senators) are the most outraged. Anything to win an election. What a pathetic bunch.
-- Lucille McClure
San Jose, California

I began reading your article on prisoner abuse until I got to the part about Jackie and Raoul not liking square dancing! That is an outrage!
-- Jo Thompson
Boston, Massachusetts

MEDIA MATTERS
Re Kenneth E. Grubbs Jr.'s A Free Journalist:

Grubbs says that "the prevalent attitude still, after years of complaints, lost circulation, and decreased market share, is that newswriting can only justify itself if it leads to 'change.'" Hasn't this, since time immemorial, been the raison d'être of newspaper journalism? Why are conservatives ever amazed that the vast majority of newspapermen tilt left? And why are liberals ever amazed at the popularity of talk radio, the counter-balance to the auto-activism of newspaper journalism?
-- Jeffrey S. Erickson
Davidson, North Carolina

Excellent review! I will pick up a copy of John Stossel's book on my way home from work tonight. Reminds me of a quote from Hunter S. Thompson, back when he was much funnier than he is today: "Objective journalism is a pompous contradiction in terms."
-- Joel Natzke
Kansas City, Missouri

COUNT KERRY
Re: The Washington Prowler's Insolence on the Ground:

I observe the following quote from the Prowler -- "The extension of benefit required a 60-vote majority. The bill failed by a vote of 59-30. The only no-show was Kerry."

Last time I checked there have been no successions from the union (again), Calif., Oregon, Wash., Alaska have not fallen into the sea and the Southwest has not turned into Atzalan yet. So I can only conclude that the full complement of the U.S. Senate is 100 members. On that basis the view that Kerry was the only no-show is in error, is it not? Daschle beating his chest that Kerry was the sole critical vote to get the magic 60 would also be in error.

I am so tired of the theatrics on both side of the aisle. I am also tired of the American public being so ignorant to even know that they are being played with politically. That Kerry was a no-show should be prominently displayed on every TV ad in America. That Daschle has not a single shred of decency to stand up and say he was a failure is a crime. For it fell to Daschle to assemble the requisite votes if he wished to save the bill.

I am not defending Kerry, he should have been there. But the balance of the assembled cast used the opportunity as a scapegoating to cover their own failures to deliver. We need politicians that are willing to say "I failed." May be Pollyanna but I would prefer that to Daschle's drivel.

So the big question is where were the other 11 senators? And which ones were Democrats to "defend the little guy"? (Their line, not mine.)
-- John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

The Prowler replies: Sorry. It was of course a typo. The vote tally should have read, 59-40. It's my speechwriters' fault.

ON BEING A BOY
Re: Kelly Jane Torrance's Nurtured to Death:

Francis Schaeffer in his book and film series How Should We Then Live made me very aware that what one generation believes, the next generation puts into practice, regardless of the consequences. The 1950s generation produced the Kinsey report on sexuality and Playboy magazine, the recon patrol of modern porn, both with serious moral and logical flaws. Therefore, the 1960s generation concluded that sex was a human experience of absolute necessity. So, logic demands, if an infant boy loses his penis to a doctor's stupidity (and my wife wonders why I challenge doctors), then he must be made into a girl. Miss Kelly documents the rest of this sordid tale, including two fresh graves.

A little boy without a penis is still a little boy. Even when castrated, his body declares with its X-Y genetic structure that its owner is still "Bruce" and not "Brenda." A serious medical error was followed by a philosophical error: that gender is "learned" behavior, and trumped that with an attempt to make a boy into a girl. A fatal error as it turned out.

Sadly, the practice continues even today, as Miss Torrance stated. In 1993, Montreal doctors separated conjoined twins, boys, connected at the hip, with only one set of genitals. They made a "girl" of the loser.

Of all the injustices that occur in this fallen world, I hate most to see stupidity claim innocent victims.
-- David Shoup
Dublin, Georgia

EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL
Re: Ralph Reiland's Unlearned Prison Lessons:

Ralph Reiland's citation of Phillip Zimbardo's famous "prisoner and guard" experiment at Stanford University is spot-on -- until his conclusion:

"The lesson from Stanford is that things run out of control when no one is in charge. The lesson from Abu Ghraib is that no one was in charge. President Bush says the mistreatment was the result of "the wrongdoing of a few" -- just a few bad apples in the barrel who need some good court-martialing. Wrong. It's the barrel that's wrong -- the top, the big picture guys who tossed our troops into a hell-hole in inadequate numbers with no training and no supervision."

With this, he explodes his metaphor. Was Stanford University's psychology department responsible for the abuse of the Zimbardo "prisoners"? Was it responsibility of the Stanford academic committee that gave Zimbardo tenure? Was the university as a whole?

Nonsense. Zimbardo was in exactly the same position as Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski. The difference is that Zimbardo responsibly ended his experiment. Karpinski did not. Higher than that, it did not arguably go.
-- Lawrence Henry

Prof. Reiland says the fault at Abu Ghraib lies with '...the big picture guys who tossed our troops into a hell-hole in inadequate numbers with no training and no supervision'.

This is left wing drivel.

Is there a war that is not a hell hole?

How much training and supervision does it take not to behave like a creep? What about those who refused and blew the whistle; where did they get their training? Were there no officers there? I listened to the weasel worded lady general and she was there, so were plenty of colonels, majors, captains and lieutenants and all of them for sure knew right from wrong even if they thought it did not apply to them.

The blame lies with those who misbehaved and their immediate superiors. Period.
-- Fred Z

This article implies that those soldiers guarding the Iraqi prisoners will automatically do bad things. (Like they have no free will.) This test at Stanford showed what a few college students did during a test, but doesn't prove that all of us would behave badly given a chance.
-- Muriel Maloney

PUNK RIGHT
Re: Reader Mail's At Seventeen:

To the readers who wrote in dismayed at the "Rock Against Bush" tour profiled by Shawn Macomber, I say: Don't worry; all is not lost -- check out this link this link and this one . And for true inspiration, check out this interview interview of Johnny Ramone that some friends conducted a couple of years ago.

To me, I think punk should be right wing. That's how I see it. The left wing is trying to destroy America by giving handouts to everyone and making everyone dependent on them. They only care about the voter base.

"They don't really care about anything else. They don't care about
anyone." (Johnny Ramone)
-- Ivan Osorio
Arlington, Virginia

INEPT JOHN
Re: David Hogberg's Kerry's Aspirin Factory Moment:

My private bet that Hillary is on the move for VEEP or PRES in 2004 looks better every day; but her potential candidacy, vs. Kerry's pretentious inconsequence, makes the game really delicious. Yes, the Dems must DO SOMETHING about Kerry's air bag of a campaign. But outside the DNC's soundproof self-absorption zone, there might just be one or two Americans who may have some questions about the advisability of another Clinton Administration. Imagine the fun of creating Republican TV advertising. Photo image: Hillary Speaking Out (but in Bill's [replicant] voice). Ad Announcer Voice-Over. "And we can believe every word that...um...whoever...says here. Right?" Who says God lacks a sense of humor.
-- Gene Wright
Laguna Niguel, California

Never forget for a moment that the Clinton Foreign Policy was the product of the "it's the economy, stupid" mindset. Clinton's attention and energy, along with that of most of his close advisors, was riveted to polls related to the economy. This is to say nothing of was focused on pizza delivery and female interns. It has become almost axiomatic for those who look seriously at the Clinton presidency to realize that many of the foreign policy decisions made by Mr. Clinton were made to distract the public's attention from several of his seamier misadventures here on the homefront. Not the least of these was the illegal assembling of money for the DNC and the posterior covering related to his extra-marital excursions.
-- Joseph Baum
Newton Falls, Ohio

To accentuate your point, anyone who would find that ... Senator Levin not only acceptable, but on his very short list (four names) for Secretary of Defense, should not be President at any time much less in a war.
-- Greg Allison
Rancho Santa Fe, California

ALMOST
Re: George Neumayr's A Very Dangerous Place:

Zarqawi is an independent operator, with very basic disagreements with Al Qaeda strategy and tactics. I am not sure that he is a fundamentalist or Islamist. It seems probable that he has closer links with the (Shiite) Hezbollah than with Al Qaeda. Insofar as he is connected with Ansar Al Islam, his presence in Iraq was beyond Hussein's reach, as their base camp was protected by the U.S. no-fly zone. Any network in Baghdad established by Zarqawi has been established almost surely since the demise of Saddam.
-- Richard Mulliken

JAVA HERETICS
Re: Angelo M. Codevilla's Heresy and History:

I just wanted, as a reader, to send my congratulations to Professor Codevilla on an extraordinary, wide-ranging and deep article, on Wahabism and the path of heresies in general. Amazing stuff; and very much on the nail.

I've written about this subject myself, in relation to what's going on in traditionally syncretic Java (Indonesia) as the heretical puritans attempt to grab control of the Muslim agenda. This article, "The Narrow and the Numinous," is archived at Quadrant Magazine's site, in the May 2003 issue.
-- Sophie Masson

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