Film History Lesson -- I have a bone to pick with Marty Demarest's review of The Triplets of Belleville (2/19/04). While the review was predominantly positive (of which I approve -- the movie is a great one), I have to wonder about his opinions on the film's opening segment. This was not a parody of either lower-grade animation or a critique of American trash TV. It was, in fact, an homage to the golden age of animation in the 1930s and '40s. Done in a style reminiscent of the Max Fleischer studios, Harman-ising Productions, and some of the earliest Disney and Looney Tunes musical numbers, the caricatures alone were worth the price of admission: Fred Astaire being eaten by his own dancing shoes, Harpo Marx as the lunatic bandleader, Clark Gable playing with his feet. These are classic images, slightly re-appropriated, as is that of jazz age expatriate Josephine Baker doing her infamous Banana Dance - the "twirling breasts" mentioned in the review.
I might understand such ignorance from someone not so intimately connected to the film industry; after all, Baker was much better known in France than at home, and her last brief screen appearance was long after her death -- in the forgettable 1997 Don Bluth film Anastasia (coincidentally, also an animated cameo). References to 1949 Paris being "pre-World War II" aside, I do have to wonder about a film reviewer who was apparently unable to pick up on what were, to me, unmistakable and iconic references such as these, as well as the contextual significance they were apparently intended to have. Oh well. It's still an excellent film, and that point was successfully made.
Boob Tube -- I am prepared to agree with William H. Allison (Letters, 2/12/04) that the halftime show of the Super Bowl was hardly the only crudeness and coarseness that was put on TV during this year's game. As a feminist, I too can take umbrage at the Super Bowl ad that hawks beer by parking a young lady directly behind a horse's rear, with a candle, getting burned in the process when the horse breaks wind. The advertising companies should not have run that or any other crude commercial. But they seem to have gotten the approval of the beer company, and the FCC seems not to mind a young lady getting burned as much as they do mind Ms. Jackson baring all -- or even half.
Joan E. Harman
Dalton Gardens, Idaho
Fooling the Foolish -- Cheney should be dumped, and Bush needs a break about his intelligence deficit. He was fooled into attacking Iraq just as Kennedy was fooled into Cuba. Both were told, "We'll be welcomed as liberators" by conservative hawks like Cheney and Wolfowitz.
Of course, Bush did have something that Kennedy didn't have. Bush might have learned from Kennedy and Cuba. He could have learned, too, by watching Dr. Strangelove that men like Cheney are silly and incompetent. Bush could have read Catch-22 and learned a similar lesson about conservatives. On the surface, conservative hawks make quite a show, but they're incompetent dunderheads.
Tragically for America, Bush is an illiterate man who seldom reads and learns nothing. Now we're paying for it.
Bush was also too busy partying his education away to learn anything, and, now, men have died needlessly because of his ignorance, and he's gotten America into a mess we'll have to deal with for decades to come. People who don't know history are doomed to repeat it. A president is supposed to be smarter than that.
Judicial Disappointment -- In another effort to avoid any public voice (through our Congress members) the man who would be King (i.e., Dubya), appointed William Pryor to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit without Senate approval.
Apparently Bush is betting that contempt for Americans' fundamental rights and liberties, and for the checks and balances that ensure fair and independent courts will rally his political base (i.e., the extreme right wing), but not turn off more moderate voters or get much public criticism.
I keeping telling myself I live in a democracy, but I'm finding it difficult to ignore the signs we are living in a dictatorship. Where does it end? In November 2004!
Shame on Us -- The President misled Congress into approving his preemptive war based on the threat to our nation from Iraq's WMDs. If we hesitated and allowed the UN inspectors who were in Iraq to do their job, a mushroom cloud over New York, to use Condoleezza Rice's imagery, might well be our fate.
Now we know there are no WMDs. There was nothing to preempt. Over 500 Americans dead and over 10,000 Americans injured. No one is counting Iraqi casualties. The Pentagon will run out of money to support our troops by September. They have requested an additional $50 billion for next year, but Bush didn't bother to include that in his budget -- we won't hear a word on that item until after the election.
The Bush Administration is complicit in the greatest scandal in U.S. history. Shame on us if we hear no calls for a broad-ranging investigation like that regarding the infamous blue dress. President Bush must be held accountable for his actions. I hope the U.S. Senate will censure him for misleading the American people.
Playing Favorites? -- How can The Inlander ignore Dennis Kucinich? The 2/12/04 issue of The Inlander showcased the Democratic presidential candidates, yet did not show Kucinich on the cover. This, to me, does not make sense, because Kucinich came in third place in the state of Washington, beating Edwards and Clark (who were both on the front cover).
In my precinct alone, he tied John Kerry for delegates (both received three). In addition to all of this, Gen. Wesley Clark dropped out of the race. Perhaps The Inlander did not know Clark had quit when the paper went to print, but you certainly knew that Kucinich did really well in the state of Washington -- and in Spokane.
Is it really necessary to remind The Inlander that their major readership is around Spokane (and the Inland Northwest) and no matter how much they strive to be a national publication, their responsibility is to the people that read them and therefore who allow them to earn an income?
In Spokane County alone, Kucinich earned 83 delegates. He is attracting the attention of many voters in the Inland Northwest because many people are all too aware of labor issues, farm issues and environmental issues. It was a poor judgment call on the part of The Inlander to omit Kucinich from the front page. He has a shot in Washington, but not if The Inlander keeps interfering with a fair presentation of the candidates.
A Threat by Any Other Name -- If, as the evidence seems to suggest, Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction, one wonders how it could be a "grave and gathering threat," or "a unique and urgent threat," or "grave threat" to America.
These were all claims made by President Bush, in his nefarious effort to deceive the American public, and to stampede Congress into unconstitutionally abnegating its power to declare war.