Dean Kuipers’ “Hitting the Streets” [February 1–7] exemplifies everything that is wrong with mainstream alterna-whining about globalization. In brief, he hangs overcondensed harangues about the WTO and IMF on the news peg of the WEF (an entirely different organization, Dean!) coming to NYC. Then he says, “The 2,500 corporate, political, religious and academic leaders who will attend the [WEF] sessions represent, to the anti-globalization crowd, everything that is wrong with mainstream thinking on almost any topic.”

How so? All the anti-globalization people I know feel pretty okay about the “mainstream thinking” of Jeremy Rifkin, Jeffrey Sachs, Vandana Shiva and Mohammed Yunus (to name just a few of the highly critical thinkers — and, more important, doers — I heard at the WEF either this year or last).

In fact, these people are invited specifically to represent a concrete, action-oriented alternative to headlong globalization. Generalizing about the players doesn’t further the dialogue in any direction. If the WEF fails, it is not because there aren’t people within it trying to wake up the fat cats, people in direct sympathy with the puppet-hoisters and paint-flingers. They just know they get better airtime on the inside.

—Deborah K. Holmes New York City


It’s time to take back the word globalization, which currently connotes unchecked development, capitalist imperialism and labor exploitation. These are merely the bad aspects of globalization, and certainly don’t define the word or what it stands for. Globalization encompasses all aspects of world integration and cooperation, good or bad. If you call yourself anti-globalist, you would be against UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and global treaties that protect the environment and children.

Let’s also stop the inaccurate use of the label “anti-globalist.” It is counterproductive and does not describe what such falsely labeled protesters stand for. They are not anti-globalists, but intelligent citizens for responsible globalization.

—Amy Howlett Los Angeles


In “Why I’m Not a Protester” [February 1–7], Judith Lewis writes, “I don’t sincerely believe that wise, responsible people cast their votes for a leader whose family fortune depends on the oil business.”

I have two points:

1) Liberals often forget that government is the ultimate big business. It is a business that follows no economic rules, that won’t go under no matter how badly it’s managed or how much it spends money on projects that accomplish nothing. (On that note, I have difficulty respecting anyone who is a career politician from a family of career politicians.)

2) Until someone proves that the oil industry has had the plans for a 100-mpg engine and has been hiding them, let’s place the blame for how much oil we use where it belongs — at our own feet.

—Joseph Wood Thousand Oaks


I must say I got a kick out of reading Judith Lewis’ “Why I’m Not a Protester,” where she says she can’t believe Republicans can be wise or thoughtful. This after admitting that she herself didn’t think to learn where the protest site was and wasn’t wise enough to dress for D.C. winter weather. And here I’d thought that irony had gone out of style.

—Kevin Gowen Eugene, Oregon


Re: Brendan Bernhard’s “DISH and Dat” [Box Populi, February 1–7]. I also watched Charlie Rose’s interview with Jean-Marie Messier. As a stockholder in Vivendi, I believe that globalization of the electronic media is the (nouvelle) wave of the future. The very real problem described by Bernhard is that of customer service or, more accurately, lack thereof. This is rampant, from the clerk at Staples who carries on a private phone conversation during your entire transaction, to the clerks at Tower Records who are too busy chatting with each other to ring up your purchase.

P.S.: Messier is actually better looking than Robin Williams and hasn’t, so far, starred in any saccha rine melodramas.

—Rozanne Winkler Sherman Oaks

I was all set to mutter, “Just what we need, another column devoted to elevating mediocre media product to ‘culture’ status,” when Brendan Bernhard went real on me! His observations on the crass business of mass-merger mass marketing are honest and much more important than any critique of any TV show.

—M.A. Krupnick Los Angeles


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