Thank you for Brendan Bernhard’s cover story on Leonard Cohen [“Angst
and Aquavit,” September 28–October 4], which conveyed both an intimate feel
for, and an objective perspective on, the man and his work. For his ability
to explicitly chart, through his writing and music, his own progress through
the magnetic field of attraction by secular as well as spiritual forces, Leonard
Cohen remains, for me, one of the most fascinating artists of our time. I am
grateful for the insights into this progress, valuable indicators for us navigators
of the human condition. Thanks to the Weekly for affording them the space
and the ink, and, most of all, for the spirit in which offerings such as these
Great article on Leonard Cohen. In all, a well-written, interesting and engaging
According to William T. Vollmann [“An
Afghanistan Picture Show,” September 28–October 4], “We did a very good
thing when we helped the Afghans.” Not so. The U.S. engineered an apocalypse
in Afghanistan. As to the Taliban, they’re the offspring of our intervention.
In a 1998 interview with the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur, Carter
National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski claimed that funding the insurgent
mujahideen’s bid for power in order to “induce a Soviet military invasion” had
been an “excellent idea” because it led to a major setback for the Soviets,
leading to their “demoralization.” No mention of the millions of deaths, or
of the shattering of the Afghan nation. Our intervention set loose the demons
that devastated that country, and now they have turned on us.
William T. Vollmann’s evocation of selfish, clueless Americans — so like that
of other Americans who extol the virtues of brutal and backward societies —
is wrong-headed and tiring. Today, young people take as fact that America’s
wealth and success are achieved on the backs of the poor people of the world,
as though there is a pie and we are hogging the biggest piece. Remove America,
and the poverty of the world’s so-called oppressed would be so much greater,
their suffering much more profound.
New York City
William T. Vollmann’s outstanding “Afghanistan Picture Show” should be required
reading for all the “experts” within and around the Bush administration. They
should ask somebody to read it to them.
Force” [September 21–27]. Kudos to Howard Blume. I have sent out many screeds
since the WTC attacks, sent numerous letters to our elected pols, but none of
my own words or those of many other authors whom I have read come close to the
incisive commentary Howard has here put forward. Well done!
—Robert D. Hagan
Weaverville, North Carolina
Howard Blume, like most of Bush’s critics from the left, offers nothing but
vagaries in the way of alternatives to the current crisis. He raises serious
concerns about the alarming enthusiasm that some people in the United States
show when it comes to making “them” — namely the terrorists and their sponsors
— pay for what happened in New York. He believes that armed action of any kind
will result in the death of innocent people, and he may well be right. But the
same could be argued for World War II, when there was no alternative to bombing
Germany and Japan.
I wish there were a politically correct kind of war in which “only
the guilty” die. Unfortunately, that is not the way reality works.
—Ricardo A. Romero
Re: “Behind Bush: Those ‘Wag the Dog’ Dems” [Dissonance,
September 21–27]. Marc Cooper is right on! I am sending this article to
my (Democratic) representatives and anyone else I can think of.
—Cathy Van Maren
La Crosse, Wisconsin
No matter what happens and no matter who else might warrant criticism, Mr.
Cooper seems bent on sneering at Democrats. His latest hit is the worse for
being unjustified in every respect, starting with the title. Is Mr. Cooper suggesting
that the World Trade Center attack and our response to it is some imaginary
fight whirled up to distract us?
Like all Democrats, I worked hard to avoid a Bush presidency (something that
cannot be said for Mr. Cooper), but responding to this attack is now his job,
and so far he has done it well. (Whether he â more resembles Winston Churchill
or Daffy Duck is beside the point.) Most Democrats want him to bring the attackers
to justice and defend our country, and the world, from further attacks. That
is why we are backing him.
Cooper ends his article with a daydream in which Democrats call for a bipartisan
reversal of Bush’s awful tax cut. Such things are not daydreams, but the result
of concrete political struggle. If Cooper and his bunch had taken some time
out from sneering at Democrats and showed up last November when we needed them,
there might not have been a Bush tax cut to dream about upending. For Cooper
now to accuse Democrats of not putting up enough of a fight is just sickening.
Next Cold War” [September 21–27], Harold Meyerson, like many liberals, establishes
his credentials by offering up Israel as a sacrificial lamb before critiquing
the lack of democracy in the Arab world, the real cause of their anti-Western
fanaticism. By not calling Hamas suicide bombers “terrorists,” he whitewashes
Palestinian terrorists who bomb an Israeli pizza parlor, blow up Israeli teenagers
outside a disco or bomb Jewish kids waiting for their school bus. Such whitewashing
is the best PR the terrorists can ever hope for.
Re: Helen Knode’s interview with Riane Eisler [“The
School for Violence,” September 28–October 4]. Eisler makes all sorts of
sense. Americans need to look at what we are doing at home (intra- and interpersonally,
as well as nationally) in order to predict and perhaps modify the types of humans
we are producing for our future. Following such an examination, we might consider
that we cannot teach what we don’t know.
Marshall, North Carolina
Re: Celeste Fremon’s “To
Be Muslim and American in L.A.” [September 21–27]. Excellent article about
the worshippers at the King Fahad mosque. I hope the Weekly keeps up
the good work, reporting all sides of what is happening in the U.S.
Kudos to Dave Shulman for “Planet
of the Apes: A Space Odyssey” [Sitegeist, September 21–27]. Sheer fucking
In the October 5–11 Neighborhood Movie Guide, a photo
by Jack Gould, of Jared Sanford as the Incubus in Anna Biller’s movie A Visit
From the Incubus, was misidentified. Also, in last week’s Best of L.A. issue,
the photo of picnicking squirrels should have included our thanks to Bischoff’s
Taxidermy. We apologize for the omission.