MORE TO LOVE

Re:
Gendy Alimurung’s “The
Forgotten Woman” [January 10–16]
. Please plus size me! Who was it who first
said that “thin is acceptable, fat is not”? No doubt some obese male who hadn’t
seen his feet for years. Forget Kate Moss, Christy Turlington, Elle MacPherson
and all those other 10-foot-tall, 10-inch-wide supermodels. Forget fashion spreads
in magazines featuring chisel-cheeked waifs who wouldn’t look out of place in
a colony of stick insects. Forget dieting, body wraps, pills, lotions and grueling
exercise programs. Why? Because there really are a lot of decent, attractive
and successful men out there who prefer larger women. Given the choice of Kate
Moss or Kate Winslet, I’d choose Kate Winslet any day.

To say that only women who are less than size 12 are beautiful is a fallacy.
I don’t really find tiny, small or thin women at all sexy. There’s something
pedophilic and unnatural about men who prefer women with small, boylike physiques.
To me, there’s nothing more beautiful than a woman with ample curves. Who wants
to cuddle up to a skeleton at night? There’s nothing that puts me off more than
taking a woman out to a nice restaurant, and then watching her pick at her food
all night, especially when I want to tuck into my food without feeling guilty
about the fact that I actually enjoy eating it. Generally, if a woman enjoys
her food, it’s a sign that she has a good appetite for life, love and friendship
— among other things.

—Tom Knutson
Watertown, Minnesota

In the interview by Michelle
Huneven [“Fat & Fucked Up,” January 10–16]
, Greg Critser overlooked
the most important trend over the past 30 years, one that has done more to foster
obesity than declining meat prices, disappearing P.E. programs or a dearth of
prenatal care programs for the poor. The demise of the home-cooked meal is the
main cause of obesity. Parents rarely invest any time to prepare healthy meals
with wholesome ingredients and regulated portions for their children or themselves.
Fewer sit down for a regular family supper at the table to even talk to each
other. Instead, children fend for themselves by heating up frozen burritos,
fish sticks, pizzas and French fries. Then they chase that garbage down with
some sugared soda water while watching TV number two. Meanwhile, one or both
parents are watching TV number one in a separate room, eating the same prefabricated
meal. Today, the majority of meals we consume are prepared by strangers in food-processing
plants, school cafeterias and restaurants. These strangers extract dietary fiber,
and load their portions with salt, fat and preservatives.

Of course, these developments are symptoms of the decline of family values.
Not exactly the kind of problem a left-wing social reformer like Critser could
seriously address without incurring the wrath of the “It takes a village” crowd.

—David Barulich
Highland Park

THE RULES OF
ENGAGEMENT

I agree with much of what John Powers wrote in his essay “Beyond
Smart” [On, January 10–16]
. Some have made a fetish of being “wised-up,
pragmatic, detached.” But pragmatism was sorely needed in the election of 2000
— not detached pragmatism, but engaged pragmatism. Unfortunately, in its stead,
idealism and its attendant disasters once again reared their ugly heads when
Ralph Nader voters decided “It doesn’t matter who gets elected, they’re the
same.” Can you imagine Al Gore making the “axis of evil” speech? North Korea
just pulled out of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty today, we’re about to
drop bombs on Iraq, and we’re going to give billions in tax cuts to the wealthiest
2 percent of the nation. Nader voters: It really does matter who gets elected,
and you owe the rest of us an apology for your childishness. We need an engaged,
pragmatic leader in the Democratic Party, and yes, even one as “promiscuously
intelligent” as Bill Clinton was. We are playing for very big stakes now (hello,
nuclear bombs and terrorism), and we can’t sit around wishing the world was
different or making gestures that cause more harm than good. A two-party system
is what we have, and we must use it to find a way to get us out of this mess.

—Lisa Nichols
Los Angeles

RAGE MATTERS

If anyone wonders why the American left is irrelevant,
all they need to do is read Judith Lewis’ profile of “Accidental
Artist” David Rees [January 3–9]
. Rees based his “rage” (and his October
9, 2001, epiphany) on the speculation that “hundreds and thousands of people
were going to die.” Odd there was no mention of any rage in connection with
the thousands who had already died — namely, those Americans and citizens from
all over the globe who had perished in three separate crash sites 28 days earlier.
ä

It’s also interesting to note that either he or Lewis goes to the trouble
of citing Graydon Carter’s ludicrous autopsy of irony when setting the scene
for Rees’ weepy, drunken epiphany. That “unrelenting social critic” is typical
of many on the left, a cheap-shot machine who, while “plumb[ing] the depths
of his political rage,” manages to betray an appalling shallowness.

—Brian McKim
Merchantville, New Jersey

PHYSICIAN, HEAL THYSELF

Re: “The Bad
Doctor” [January 10–16].
Thank you, Doug Ireland, for boldly stating the
case about Senator Bill Frist. By all accounts, Bill Frist is a very competent
physician and on occasion “a Good Samaritan.” He is also, however, a multimillion-dollar
stakeholder in his family’s for-profit enterprise, Health Corporation of America
(HCA). HCA has, so far, paid $1.7 billion in penalties for fraud, i.e., for
diverting precious senior-health-care dollars to illicit personal gain. Given
this monumental conflict of interest, Senator Frist, ethically, has no other
choice than to recuse himself from legislative activity in health matters.

—Quentin Young, M.D.
Kimberly Soenen
Chicago, Illinois

I was directed to your site by way of a link — to a very funny story you ran
about Bill Frist — from an equally hysterical Web site, www.whatreallyhappened.com.
You liberals are really good for a laugh. You have no idea why your numbers
are dwindling so quickly. Please keep up the good work!

—James Trimble
St. Louis, Missouri

THE GIT FACTOR

Although I agree with Brendan Bernhard’s sentiments
on the reality-based televison show The
It Factor

[“American Asshole,” Box Populi, January 10–16]
, I have to wonder if he’s
lost touch with reality. Yes, it would be nice to see a show about struggling
actors who possess some semblance of insight, or perhaps aren’t completely narcissistic
and self-obsessed. But the sad truth is, a reality-based show featuring actors
like that wouldn’t be based in anything resembling reality.

—California Watson
Los Angeles

WISH YOU WERE HERE

Re: “The New Year’s Eve Riot
You Didn’t Hear About” [January 10–16]
. I love the way Alec Hanley Bemis
writes. He made me feel like I was there. I wish I had been. It sounds like
it was a blast. I am a reader who usually reads one or two paragraphs, and if
I don’t like the way a story is written (no matter the subject), I will lose
interest quickly and quit, or force myself to find what the point is and skip
a lot of the stuff. Bemis’ article made me laugh and smile.

—V.A. Salazar
Victorville

CORRECTION

An article last week on instant runoff voting,
“What Democracy Votes Like” [January 17–23], incorrectly identified someone being
criticized in the last paragraph. Dave Robinson chastised Steve Chessin — not
Steven Hill — for suggesting in a proposed letter to the editor that runoff
voting is more popular among “progressive” voters. Hill is dedicated to promoting
runoffs as a nonpartisan alternative to the current system.