9/11 . . .
Congratulations on your “9/11” issue [September
14–20]. There is hope for American journalism after all. I had almost totally
despaired in the face of the shills masquerading in the media as reporters and
writers — forget thinkers. The prognosis is bleak, but what the hell, have fun
fighting the good fight.
In the most terrifying week of my 23 years, I finally found some comfort in
your coverage of the disaster in New York and Washington. There is a
voice of reason outside my television set, beyond my city newspapers. Marc Cooper,
John Powers and Harold Meyerson were the voices I desperately needed to hear
— not the buffoons and bullies on TV making threats, as George W. put it, against
The hatred for the United States that exists worldwide did not happen overnight.
It was carefully cultivated, for years, by our government, our foreign policy
and our brand of corporate democracy. The United States has had a direct hand
in creating the situations that led to the hate, resentment and evil that killed
so many people this week. If we can’t admit this and stop it, then the terrorist
acts that occurred on Tuesday are just the beginning.
Please continue to print an alternative view of these events and what is now
unfolding. Those of us who don’t believe everything television news and corporate
newspapers tell us desperately need to hear something different.
By and large, your writers missed the obvious. President Bush’s “We’re a target
because we’re a beacon of freedom” provides greater insight into the attackers’
real motives than the feeble theories of provocation offered up by Powers, Cooper,
Rappleye, et al. Promotion of democracy, a culture of individual expression,
dedication to freedom of exchange. It isn’t America’s actions so much as America’s
nature — just as it isn’t Israel’s actions, but Israel’s existence — that embitters
hijackers and their handlers. Only the alteration of America, and the end of
Israel, will appease them.
After seeing the picture of President Bush with the caption “In over his head,”
I have decided to stop reading your paper. What a great response to the nation’s
tragedy. What is wrong with you people?
John Powers’ “Apocalypse, Tuesday” was outstanding. His presentation of the
issues at hand was handled with tact and wisdom. We are tired of sugarcoated
regurgitation. We want answers, not posturing. Again, I thank you for printing
While complaining of the media culture’s need to make everything “feel safely
formatted,” John Powers managed to do the same. Instead of actual reflection,
he fell into a knee-jerk partisan whining that was entirely out of place under
the circumstances. The complaints about President Bush and Newt Gingrich were
so pathetically predictable that the article looked as though it had been written
from a template Powers had stored in his computer to respond to any international
incident. The assertion that the terrorist attacks had something to do with
Bush’s alleged arrogance toward other countries indicates Powers’ extreme ignorance
of global politics. It is also sadly indicative of the kind of political myopia
that will hopefully dissipate in light of this horror. This attack was planned
long before the current administration came into power.
Wake up, John. This is much bigger than reflexive partisan bickering, which
almost everyone in America but you seemed to have grasped immediately.
Re: John Powers’ claims that the president’s flights around the country were
cowardly. I sincerely hope he made those misguided statements before he learned
about the very real and credible threats to both Air Force One and the
White House on that chaotic day. Earlier in the week, William Safire, in The
New York Times, made the same misinformed presumption that Powers did;
once the truth came out, however, he ate his words in the same public forum
he had used to question Bush’s actions and judgments. Will Powers have the guts
to do the same?
John Powers’ “Apocalypse, Tuesday” was the best expression of my own feelings
yet. Congratulations to Mr. Powers for his insight and honesty. I only hope
that we can find a place in our hearts to understand that we are all human â
and all in pain, including George Bush and Osama bin Laden. One must try not
to judge how another expresses despair.
I pray for the enlightenment of all beings.
—Michele Landry Holt
Re: “Start of History.” As a kind of left-wing Jerry Falwell, Marc Cooper
clings to the old-time religion, preaching fire and brimstone over our foreign
policy and our presumed culpability in the terrorist carnage. America must be
held accountable as an agent in the 9/11 bloodletting, Cooper declares. America
must take responsibility for the crashed jetliners, the mangled office towers
and the thousands who perished Tuesday morning.
Beware the wages of spin, Cooper chides us, spouting inanities as if they
Sad to see that the L.A. Weekly has now extended its equal-opportunity
hiring policy to the morally handicapped. In “Brazil 911,” Dave Shulman tells
how some bad people from a fundamentalist religious group in Afghanistan have
attacked us because, to them, we are the bad people. Then he notes how
President Bush also believes in God and, finally, that belief in God
is itself a “kind of arrogance.” Finally, he asks whether anyone “recall[s]
the last time anyone was terrorized by agnostic fundamentalists.” Well, as a
religious Catholic, I lump the murders on Tuesday — along with the actions of
all terrorists — along with the activities of all the agnostic or atheist fundamentalists
who have terrorized civilization: Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao Zedong (along
with the current Chinese rulers), just to name a few.
Shulman’s condescending tone reflects a void in his soul. Rather than lie
about, cry with his cat and watch TV in these days of heartbreak, why doesn’t
he look for some strength in a church, mosque or synagogue?
—Gregory A. Knapp
The Soviet purges, the Cultural Revolution, the Great Leap Forward, the Killing
Fields . . . Just because people don’t believe in God doesn’t mean that they
aren’t arrogant enough to want to play god.
“The twin towers of the World Trade Center,” writes Jonathan Gold, “which
normally dominate this view, were reduced to only one, burning merrily as a
Christmas candle.” Beg pardon? Is Charles Manson your new copyeditor?
. . . AND OTHER MATTERS
I recently read the article by Rich Kane [“Springboard
for Hitler,” September 7–13] about the white-power ignorance in Anaheim.
I just want to clarify that although one of the members of the band Youngland
used to be in a psychobilly band and carries that influence into his current
band, rockabilly and psychobilly have nothing to do with white supremacy. Mr.
Kane should be more cautious in the future and label a band that spews out racist
ignorance for what it is, namely a white-power band, regardless of the particular
sound it has.