Re: Colby Cosh’s Hero of Our Postmodern Times:
Interesting how Mr. Cosh serves us an off-handed snipe at Tolkien with an “elephant-in-the-chicken-coop” designation in the context of his “propagandistic” and (by now surely hackneyed) “troubling” appraisals, all because The Lord of the Rings has, in his estimation, a([n] apparently nasty) “crypto-Christian subtext.” Well, by gosh, Mr. Cosh, nice to know you’ve let us in on your subtext.
Not only was Tolkien a first-rate philologist and writer, but — gasp — a devout Christian. That his beliefs should be expressed in his fiction should be by no means shocking, even if those with contrary world views don’t care for it.
— Nick Hauser
I have to concur with Colby Cosh on this one. I saw it Sunday and it did not take long for what I felt were undertones of Nationalism as subtle as a sledgehammer to come through on the plot.
I got the feeling that any German seeing Eisenstein’s Alexander Nevsky should have gotten in 1938 — a wake-up call that won’t quit.
Nice to know I wasn’t alone.
— Cookie Sewell
IN THE THICK OF THINGS
Re: Brandon Crocker’s Thick Hair But Thin Skin:
Mr. Crocker makes many good points about Kerry, but it might be enlightening for readers to know more about retired Gen. McPeak. He was one of the most controversial and disliked USAF Chiefs of Staff during my 26 years in the USAF. Following his appointment after the Gulf War, he seemed hell-bent on changing every single thing (especially our service dress uniform) that had pissed him off since his days as a 2nd Lieutenant, and this at a time of great turmoil. I have always been hard-pressed to find a single officer or non-com who had even one nice thing to say about the guy or his tenure, right up to my retirement this year.
Regardless of who McPeak says he voted for in 2000 in his Kerry commercials, if memory serves me right, he (along with Michael Moore) backed Wes Clark in the primaries — ’nuff said?
— Jeff Kocur
Mr. Crocker’s analysis of Mr. Kerry’s empty drum of a campaign is quite accurate. He succinctly points out the lack of any substance at all in the Kerry candidacy. I think I know why that is so. I have come to the conclusion that there are three great pillars of liberalism and that all three are 180 degrees wrong. First, liberals believe that a nation can and should tax itself into prosperity. This has never in human history happened, and never will. Second, it is a liberal axiom that the primary function of government is to act as social arbiter, and wealth redistributer. This pillar attaches to the first one. And, third, it appears that liberals hold that the primary function of business and industry is to create and maintain jobs, rather than make and successfully market goods and services. I could provide evidence of the liberal slavish adherence to these three principles, but it would probably take page upon page just to write the introduction. By the way, these are the only three principles that Mr. Kerry has not flip-flopped on. For a presidential candidate, he looks an awful lot like a walleye flopping around in the bottom of a boat.
— Joseph Baum
Newton Falls, Ohio
I was at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) from 1968 to 1972. I took four 2-S deferments when I was a student (two more than John Edwards did while at North Carolina State University) — I suppose that disqualifies me from criticizing Sen. Kerry.
Sen. Kerry sounds as if he’s speaking to his butler when he says, “I will not stand for …”
His message is getting across to voters: “I’m not Bush.” People are starting to pick up on that, and believe him. He ain’t no Bush.
— name withheld
I think Kerry is so thin-skinned because he is getting caught up in all the lies he has told over so many years. He obfuscates about his record, and goes postal if anything negative comes up against him.
He is really off balanced. I expect to see him implode over the next few weeks.
Brandon Crocker writes: “If Kerry’s infamous Senate testimony was true, and his antiwar activism justified, then Dick Cheney’s choice to utilize college deferments was honorable, indeed, heroic.”
Many suspect that John Kerry’s antiwar activism was simply a self-serving effort to advance his political career. Whether his testimony was true or false is irrelevant. Consider:
John Kerry was not drafted, he volunteered.
John Kerry staged re-enactments for the camera.
John Kerry took no prisoners when a wounded teenager was fleeing for his life — he shot him in the back.
A sailor directly under John Kerry’s command, while lying in ambush, shot and killed an infant and the child’s father.
John Kerry engaged in free fires with .50 caliber machine guns.
I can only conclude that this man loves war.
You’d think the peace-loving Bush-haters would all vote for Ralph Nader, but hate trumps love.
— Dan Martin
Brandon Crocker repeatedly refers to Kerry’s “four months” of combat service. Kerry spent four months in Vietnam, but the first month was in a training area far from the combat zone. Even that three-months’ combat was more than he’d planned for: after his request for a student deferment was turned down, he avoided being drafted into the Army by enlisting in the Navy because that was supposed to be the least dangerous service in that war. These two facts cast doubt on Kerry’s supposed willingness to place himself in danger in service to his country.
John Kerry is a defeatist who submitted to the Communists in the ’70s. His version of heroism involves shooting the wounded in the head. His version of leadership involves abandoning his command 4 months into a 12 month tour. His election would be the ideal time to start memorizing the Koran.
— Ian Callum
Isn’t the hypocrisy of the left a scream? Here we have General McPeak telling the world that since they didn’t serve in Viet Nam, Bush and Cheney have no right to challenge Kerry’s foreign policy credentials. Where was the General when draft dodger Clinton was running against war hero Dole? Surely he should have come out and said that Clinton was unqualified to challenge the foreign policy credentials of a man who served in combat in WWII.
My guess is that the general didn’t think military service was a big deal when it came to Clinton.
— Pete Brittain
As a draft-aged male I drew #210. As a student I had a deferment. As a young college man with his life ahead of him, I was selfish enough to want to live and grow old with my high-school sweetheart.
Never once did I march on/for anything or call anyone a baby killer/or a village burner. I was naive enough to not care one way or another. And not to care in most cases because I was selfish.
John Kerry and George Bush were no different than me. The only difference was that Bush probably had connections and Kerry desired power and connections.
Vietnam was a lousy “war” that Kerry protested and every time he did, it insulted the real heroes that did serve with valor under fire. Now he calls all of us (like Cheney and Bush) who were selfish enough to hide behind our draft numbers and deferments (even though we would have probably gone if we had neither) every time he tries to lash out at his opponents in this campaign.
I can’t believe this man ever wants to be anything but the most liberal senator in the Senate.
— Stu Margrey
ALL RIGHT AND WRONG
Re: Steve Sailer’s The Kids Are Alwrong:
I agree completely with Steve Sailer about the problems of American youths, but the idea that maintaining marijuana prohibition is somehow a solution to these problems is ridiculous. The laziness and lack of direction among young people starts long before they ever come into contact with marijuana. Certainly there are at least three or four sober couch potatoes in America for every one stoned couch potato. And let’s not forget that not every marijuana smoker is an unmotivated underachiever.
He also complained about street crime, but this is exactly what drug legalization would help solve by taking drugs off the streets, defunding street gangs, and eliminating the crime and violence caused by drug prohibition. American youths need more parental control and individual responsibility and legalization would not undermine these qualities, but help to instill them.
— Dr. Mark Thornton
Ludwig von Mises Institute
“… saps the energy from youth, turning them into sedentary couch potatoes.”(Sailer’s “The Kids Are Alwrong”). A strong argument for the criminalization of television.
— Harry Anslinger
Steve Sailer replies: So? The burden of proof in conservative thought is on those who advocate change. “First, do no harm.”
TANK YOU VERY MUCH
Re: James Ward’s letter in Reader Mail’s Who’s in Charge?:
In his letter regarding the candidacy of Mr. Kerry, I am sure that Mr. Ward meant to write that upon losing, Mr. Kerry would become “the Dukakis of the 21st Century. Unless I am incorrect, Mr. Dukakis was “the Dukakis of the 20th Century.”
— W. B. Heffernan, Jr.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH
Re: Mrs. Janet Jackson’s letter (under “Kerry on Nantucket”) in Reader Mail’s Remember the Meathead:
Response to Mrs. Jackson: Thank you, thank you, thank you. I thought I was the only one asking out loud “Jen-jis Khan? Did he really say Jen-jis?” I waited in vain for someone to point that out. I was afraid to lest someone point out that I did not go to college. Or perhaps that there is a Massachusetts’s way of pronouncing “Genghis Khan.” I see now that I fell into a trap. The trap of the truly pompous & elite to sound truly pompous & elite. I realize I was right the first time I heard that quote and every time I hear that quote: what an ass!
— Oscar Araiza (“uh-rize-uh”)
San Diego, California
If “W” stands for wrong, “F” stands for flip-flop. I cannot imagine that John Kerry started THIS word play game. He truly doesn’t seem to have a plan.
— Roger Ross