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Letters

PERPETUAL WAR

Once again, the L.A. Weekly has given an unfettered forum to another self-avowed left-wing propagandist, in this case photographer James Nachtwey [“The Eyes of Perpetual War,” November 22–28]. Writer Steve Appleford lobs only softball questions and practically fawns over the answers, no matter how hyperbolic and indiscriminate.

When in history has there been a sustained period that couldn’t by his definition be termed “perpetual war”? Like it or not, a decade or two is about the most amount of time that has ever passed without a major conflict somewhere on the globe. And why is it always U.S. aggression that is the problem? Anytime the U.S. does go to war, either the issue is not big enough or the risks are too great. “Kuwait wasn’t a democracy anyway,” “Places like Bosnia and Somalia are quagmires,” “. . . too reminiscent of Vietnam.”

Is war ever a good idea? Should he have allowed Hitler or the Japanese to carry out their unchecked aggression during World War II? Ceded the entire Southeast Asian peninsula to the communists? Allowed Saddam Hussein to roll over every rich, defenseless emirate in the Gulf anytime he needed to pump up his bank account?

And we wonder why the trend in American politics has lurched so far rightward. The dearth of ideas is on the left, my friends. At least the hawks know where they stand. And the Weekly?

—Tony Blass Winnetka

ARARAT

In John Strickland’s review of Atom Egoyan’s Ararat [“Ghosts of the Missing Dead,” November 15–21], he states that the “propaganda is too heavy.” His choice of words was careless and offensive. While the film is not entirely historically accurate (it is not meant to be), its basic premise — that the Armenian Genocide indeed occurred and has since become the object of systematic denial — is true.

The word propaganda implies otherwise. I wonder if Strickland or any other critic at the Weekly has ever referred to a film about the Jewish Holocaust or American slavery as propaganda. I doubt it. Perhaps Ararat is too subtle. Maybe the film fails. But propaganda it is not.

—Armen Tamzarian Los Angeles

 

Our organization thanks you for your objective consideration of the recently released film Ararat, by Atom Egoyan. It’s understood that quite a bit of political and social controversy surrounds this picture, and more specifically its subject matter as it relates to the tragic Armenian Genocide of 1915. We appreciate the forthright nature with which you delivered your review, and hope that you will remain open to future films that may involve stories concerned with the Armenian Genocide, or the Armenian condition.

—Peter Abajian Director, Western Office Armenian Assembly of America

 

Is Ararat a pure propaganda film, or does it also depict scenes in which Armenian murderers — collaborating with the invading Russian armies — massacred countless Turkish men, women and children, among whom were seven members of my grandmother’s family? Most people are ignorant of the history of the Armenian terrorists who stabbed the Turks in the back just as the Turkish nation was fighting for its very existence during World War I.

—Keenan Pars Patterson, New Jersey

 

The Weekly, which recommends Jackass, about a bunch of idiots riding in an oversize shopping cart, but not Ararat, should notify its readers that they are being taken on a different sort of ride — the one to Lalaland.

—Hacob Khodaverdian Los Angeles

SCIENCE NOTES

It’s unfortunate that Margaret Wertheim didn’t have the intellectual honesty to mention, in her review of The Blank Slate [“Creation Science,” Quark Soup, November 1–7], that Steven Pinker disses her twice (pages 366 and 393). Wertheim obviously has a grudge against Pinker and is incapable of giving any of his books a fair review.

—Howard Douglas Los Angeles

 

Re: “Here There Be Dragons” [Quark Soup, November 15–21]. Margaret Wertheim’s sentence “Miraculously, however, light is exempted from Einstein’s laws . . .” is nonsense. Einstein didn’t provide us with laws but, rather, with observations. And the speed of light operates within the observed laws of physics, just as do radio waves, X-rays, magnetism and so forth, and is constrained by them just as completely as any other phenomenon we can name, observe or about which we can speculate. There is nothing “miraculous” here or even out of the ordinary.

—Todd Saalman Los Angeles