Reader Mail

Sex and the Silly

Sizing up S.J. Parker. A problem with Dad. Naderonomy. Plastic or plastic? Plus much more.

2.24.04

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A SENSE OF PROPORTION
Re: Reid Collins', Wlady Pleszczynski's What, No Sex?

Whuzzat! You say that Sarah Jessica Parker had a cable television show for the past six years and that it was called Sex in the City. Who knew?

Best Wishes,
-- Sam Keck

Good grief, someone's knickers are in knots. Sex and the City was everything my life is not -- well, almost -- which is why I loved the show. Stop analyzing the fun. I've watched every episode and still can't dream up anything better for confession fodder than "engaging in gossip." For me, Sunday night TV was easy. Malcolm in the Middle? Get lost. The Surreal Life? Get real. Millionaire? As if! Sex in the City? YES! YES! YES!
-- Kitty Myers
Painted Post, New York

I recall, but cannot identify, a conversation between two actors who mentioned Sarah Jessica Parker's tube top as perhaps the smallest garment ever made. If you want to see Mrs. Parker-Broderick acting in a manner consistent with her dubious attributes and talents, you need look no farther than Tim Burton's Mars Attacks! wherein she plays a vacuous television reporter whose head is transplanted onto her Chihuahua's body and she falls in love with Pierce Brosnan's disembodied head.
-- Bob Johnson
Bedford, TX

PLASTICITY
Re: Brian Doherty's Two Bag Ugly:

As a seasoned veteran of the Mall Wars (including the infamous "Glasgow Toys 'R Us" skirmish of '97 -- it was bloody work, but we won the day) I sympathize with Mr. Doherty's plight absolutely.

However, instead of giving Dow Chemicals a fragging for his bagging, as Chief Sapper he should investigate other measures. A biometric bag, for example, that lets him know precisely how much he can carry? Or a psychometric bag, that will tell him to feel good about himself while he's doing it? Or even a barometric bag, that will do these things and tell him when to seek shelter from the rain?

A seasoned Mall Warrior like Mr. Doherty should investigate such dynamic possibilities under his own initiative. We should form a regiment -- "The Fighting Baggers."
-- Martin Kelly
Glasgow
SC0TLAND

Brian Doherty's musing on the plastic bag came just one day after I carefully explained to my 12-year-old daughter that eco-kooks years ago had wrongly deemed the coming of the plastic bottle to be the bane of mankind. It has turned out just the opposite -- of course. Plastic bottles require much less raw material and energy to make and to transport than glass, and they can be incinerated in garbage-to-energy plants (i.e., you can get another use out of them even if you don't recycle them, which enviro-nuts also had deemed impossible).

The reason for each and every eco-rant is this: Enviros are weak, tormented people. It is no surprise that soft-handed journalists and up-at-noon academics are the leaders of the movement. They do not make steel or build houses or mine coal, no, that is for strong, rational people. Ecologists live in a state of perpetual intellectual indignation. They assert themselves as mankind's savior because that is the opposite of what they really are: Unproductive people who tremble at every oil well drilled, every SUV manufactured. Thus they use fear tactics and tell any lie to further their cause. Have you noticed that "global warming" suddenly has turned on a dime after just two cold winters: Now it's a new Ice Age for England and the United States! Bang! Just like that!

I use plastic bags every week. I like them. But Mr. Doherty did let slip yet another tactic of lefty weed-huggers: Ireland is taxing plastic bags. Yes, now we are seeing into the heart of the matter.
-- Steve Nikitas
Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Alas, poor Plastic! I knew him, Horatio: a bag of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! (Hamlet, Act 5, scene 1, with apologies to Mr. Shakespeare.)

How fickle we Americans are! I remember the paper vs. plastic wars of yore. And even today, some merchants will provide either. But the little plastic bag is king. And how versatile. Changing the oil in your car is less of a mess if you slip a used bag over your hand before you start. Infinitely useful at the picnic, bag, ersatz placemat when slit open, useful pack out tool. And useful for crafts. It is not just a bag, but a shimmering piece of modern technology highly underrated and not fully appreciated.

But in Russia the plastic is coveted for it is not given away in the stores so lightly. In Europe, alas, one brings ones own bag or mesh net carryall if one wants to bring home the bacon in many shops. And in much of the third world, if you are lucky to be near a supermarket, you most certainly bring your own tote. So I ask Mr. Doherty, if LePlastic is so wanting the ultimate solution is a pair of canvas totes from L.L. Bean. Infinitely practical for more than just bringing home the groceries and they last for years. Just keep in mind that it will be 30 kilos to the bag filled to the brim.

But a fanciful read nonetheless.
-- John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

Thank you, thank you Brian! I sent your article to my wife, who is a plastic bag fan (she likes them because of the benefits you mention in your article). I hate the little buggers for all the reasons you describe. At last, someone who shares my pain!
-- Paul

PUBLIC ENEMY OF PROGRESS
Re: Jeremy Lott's Public Citizen Number One:

Mr. Lott's reference to Ralph Nader's politics being truly progressive perpetuates the oft-stated and widely assumed left-liberal position that such politics are, in fact, progressive. I would argue that the evidence indicates quite the contrary. Always and everywhere the degree to which the left succeeds is directly proportional to the degree of spiritual and material impoverishment experienced by the body politic, including the left-liberal masters who are oblivious to the former and exempted from the latter. Ralph Nader's politics are the epitome of regressive, not progressive.
-- P. A. Melita
Charlottesville, Virginia

TO THE LEFT OF RALPH
Re: The Washington Prowler's Nader Rater:

The DNC staffer gloats that, "Bush is going to have a hard time painting Kerry as the great liberal demon ..."

How difficult will it really be? Kerry has, magnanimously enough, provided an easel, paints and brushes, as well as a canvas pre-stenciled with a "paint-by-Senate-vote" template.

Worst case scenario for Bush? The provided template is erased when the Democrats figure out, before it's too late, that Edwards is their best nominee. Fortunately for Bush (and of course, the country), the DNC thinks it's a trick that so many Republicans are professing that Edwards is the bigger threat.
-- Mark Hessey
Belmar, New Jersey

I disagree that Nader will make Kerry look positively mainstream. They look and sound like twins separated at birth. They even share the same ponderous speech patterns and goofy logic. Nice try, but give me a break, Terry!
-- Judy Beumler
Louisville, Kentucky

OVERPROTECTED
Re: Ian Watt's and Rian Watt's letters ("Revenge of the Howies") in Reader Mail's Howie Who?:

Dear Ryan: Good on you for getting involved -- commendable at such a young age. Here's why you're being made sport of: "there was no doubt in anyone's mind who was going to be their Democratic Candidate for President" How about now?

Ian: "He is 11 years old and has written several reports for Kids4Dean with no input, icky or otherwise, from me or any other adult"

Yeah, right. "no input"? Because all 11-year-olds have a keen interest in politics? And he just happened to be attracted to Dean on his own? Sounds like a chip off the old misguided block to me.
This is politics, baby: No room for crying. I would have opted for a Cubs game.
-- William H. Stewart
Boston, Massachusetts

Poor Ian and Rian Watt. I guess the concept of free speech and debate eludes them.

Instead, like typical people who would support an idiot like Howard Dean, they attack Shawn Macomber as "disgusting," "self-absorbed," and "contemptuous."

Hmmm, interesting coming from a self-absorbed man and his equally pretentious 11-year-old son who think just because he "worked hard" on the website and "wrote his essay in a notebook at his kitchen table" we are supposed to stand in awe and amazement.

Then both demand to be responded to. Poor babies. No wonder Dean faded so fast with these kind of supporters.
-- Greg Barnard
Franklin, Tennessee

Dear Mr. Watt and Rian: Your letters today posted on THE American Spectator website caused me to look up Rian's site. That's a good job, young man!

I have sons just a little older than Rian (they are 16 and 13). Neither of them would write in the style of Rian's essay, even though they are both very bright too. I can't speak for the author of TAS's Deaniac piece, but the un-kidlike style of the essay may explain why he felt that some adult was speaking from behind the curtain as it were.

I don't think that Rian should feel attacked, or that either of you needs to demand an apology. The only comment in the article about Rian's site was based on the author's assumption -- right or wrong -- that Rian's essay had been ghostwritten or edited by someone else. That's not an attack on Rian, but only an attack on the (non-existent?) other person. Since Rian can honestly claim to have written the whole thing from start to finish, unaided, which I guess is what you are saying, it ought to be sufficient to point that fact out to the TAS website and its readers, as you have now done. Case closed.

It could still bother you, of course, to see Rian's work singled out for mention among the other "Deaniac" sites. The article as a whole was less an attack on individual webmasters as a commentary on the narcissism of many in the Howard Dean movement. It might trouble both of you to find that Rian is thought to be narcissistic, but c'mon, guys, that goes with the territory, doesn't it? I mean, if you put your picture and your writing up on the Internet, it can only be that you want others to see and appreciate it, not so? Wasn't the whole idea to say, "Look how precocious Rian is"? Isn't that the motive behind your letters, even now? Sure it is.

When you do something like that in the political arena, you have to figure that there are folks in other camps who might be disposed to draw unflattering conclusions. "Politics ain't beanbag," someone once said. While I understand that Rian is of a tender age, he consciously decided to enter a grown-up world and to interact with it on a very grown-up level. He needed to be told that by doing so he was exposing himself to the kind of response that grown-ups in that world understand and expect.

I hope that Rian will one day understand, too, that Howard Dean wasn't worth his loyalty, and that there are more things on heaven and earth than are dreamt of in left-wing philosophy.
-- Leighton M. Anderson
Whittier, California

OVER THE HILL
Re: The Washington Prowler's Top Events: Ticket Puncher:

Actually the Dems might just shoot themselves in the foot by getting Hillary on the bottom of the Dem ticket because she will probably not energize the party any more than is already the case and there will be no more Dems persuaded to vote than already plan to. What may end up happening is that a lot more pubs and conservatives might get make it their business to get off their butts and go vote and make sure Bush gets reelected. Besides, would Kerry (if he is the nominee) want to live in the shadow of Hillary if he won the election the way he has lived in the shadow of Ted Kennedy all of his senatorial life? If Kerry is the nominee, look for him to pick a southerner (Edwards?) to help him land the votes below the Mason-Dixon line.
-- Dick Melville
Ozone Park, New York

MAYOR KROPOTKIN
Re: George Neumayr's A Terrific Mayor:

There's one simple but deadly word to define the un-lawful conduct of San Francisco's Mayor Newsom in his issuance of illegal marriage licenses -- "anarchy." The governor must use his constitutional power to order his State Police to arrest the mayor unless he immediately ceases that action.
-- Ken Wyman
Huntsville, Alabama

George Neumayr states the obvious that the gay agenda is to make homosexuality a cultural norm. What isn't so obvious and I have not read a comment on is the other agenda of the entitlement grab. All Americans have legal property rights and can go and visit a dying friend in the hospital. Some people leave their estates to their cats! But only married people can claim their spouses pension benefits or Social Security survivor's benefits. Although there have been a few companies and governments that have extended medical benefits to dependents, it is marriage that legalizes the extension of benefits to family members such as spouse or child. So what's a gay guy with AIDS to do when he doesn't have health insurance? Get married and wait until the period of pre-existing conditions runs out. All perfectly legal … soon.
-- diamon sforza
San Diego, California

LIVING UP TO EXPECTATIONS
Re: The Washington Prowler's Top Events: Top Banana:

Just proves D'Amato was right when he called Schumer a putz during their 1998 race.
-- Morrie Kleinbart

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