LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
U.S. Rep. Tom Coburn should resign from the Congressional Family Caucus.
I hope my views represent the conscience of more than 6 million Jews murdered
in the holocaust, holocaust survivors, and the decency and human emotion
in every individual.
As a concerned U.S. citizen, I am enraged over Oklahoma U.S. House of Representative
Tom Coburn's recent comments criticizing the airing of Steven Spielberg's
Schindler's List on NBC ... Coburn's exploitation of this important movie
for his own conservative, right-wing platform is the best reason I can think
of for him to resign from the Congressional Family Caucus, where Coburn
serves as co-chairman.
I believe the nudity, violence and profanity used in the film accurately
portrays the horror of war. Coburn has taken these elements out of context.
Should we ask people to stop watching documentaries on Third World nations
because people are seen naked in impoverished, war-torn countries? To judge
the elements of a program detracts from the message.
The message is clearly lost on Coburn. The district he represents in Oklahoma
is probably void of a large Jewish population. You don't have to be Jewish
to understand this film or the significance of the Holocaust, the killing
fields of Cambodia or the ethnic cleansing that happened so recently in
It does not outrage me to educate children under the correct supervision.
Maybe if children learn about the horrors some adults create, we can prevent
these crimes from reoccurring. This program was aired on commercial television
and parents can make their own best judgment - without government interference
- whether or not it is appropriate to watch.
The TV rating system was created by politicians such as Coburn who feel
the need to regulate the rights of individuals to make a choice. It was
rated TV M for mature audiences. Too strong for your children? Don't let
them watch. There are at least 50 other cable channels with other programming
available as well as an "off" button on televisions.
If Coburn was a Jewish prisoner of war under the supervision of Schindler,
he too might be saved. Unfortunately, he will just remain "Schindler's
Daryl S. Toor
5003 Old Cask Way
Apex, NC 27502
Don't 'Naptown' Us
In today's mail I received an unfortunate combination: a subscription expiration
notice from The Progressive Populist and a copy of the March edition highlighting
on the front page an article by Phil Farrugio entitled "The Pods; Agitating
"Naptown" is an insulting term by which Indianapolis is sometimes
denominated, and Mr. Farrugio, a transplant from New York City, set out
in the article to belittle not only the city's general culture but various
members of what he considers "the so called progressive movement here
in Naptown." His bases for the latter thrust seem to be that (1) one
local activist (not in the Alliance) supports the two-party system; (2)
not everyone here was prepared to pursue Farrugio's exact strategy and tactics
on campaign finance reform; and (3) fewer people turn out here for progressive
demonstrations than in New York.
Many others, whether native to Indiana or transplants like myself, agree
that the conservative dominance in Indianapolis can be stifling; we do not
necessarily think, however, that insulting an entire city is an appropriate
or a mature reaction. As for his disparagement of local progressives, I
really find too little there to merit a response.
I suspect this is neither the first nor the last time Mr. Farrugio will
use his pen to wound those with whom he could have made common cause. But
I confess I was not prepared to see the pages of The Progressive Populist
used to such effect. I believe your editorial staff owes an apology to Indianapolis
and to those who struggle here for progressive causes.
Disappointed in you,
Alliance for Democracy, Indianapolis
6829 Chaucer St.
Indianapolis, IN 46220
Editor's Reply: The Progressive Populist is about presenting opinions
and stimulating debate. We don't always agree with our writers, but we hope
they're thought provoking - in your case, maybe anger provoking. I guess
you know Mr. Farrugio. You might try cussing at him, to make him feel at
home. Then buy him a slice of pizza (New York-style, of course) and resign
yourself to the fact that some New Yorkers may move inland, but they never
Throw out the TV
Joan Zwagerman's piece that advocated that we turn off our t.v. part of
the time had a rather sad ring to it.
Television as an addiction is not a mere metaphor, it's a bona fide phenomenon.
Television is truly used as a drug, a way of turning off your brain by allowing
stimuli to wash over you while you sit passive and immobile on the sofa.
Calling it crap and pablum and then advocating watching less instead of
getting rid of the problem sounds like the rationalization of a true junkie.
I know all this from personal experience, for when I was a kid, my parents
experimented with all kinds of schemes to get us to reduce TV watching.
They took the channel switching knob off so that we could only get PBS.
We found pliers. They gave us credits for a certain amount of TV per day.
Family turmoil resulted. They got rid of the TV altogether. We got mad,
then we went outside and got used to it. For several years we lived in a
no-TV environment of quiet and conversation. Unfortunately, as my parents'
lives became more stressful in the post-'60s slump in university employment,
TV came back for use as an adult tranquilizer. Then, all was lost, and we
spent as much time in front of the idiot box as anybody in America.
Kids today spend even more time in front of a cathode ray tube than we did,
what with computer games and the move to computer-based learning in school.
Get rid of the box altogether, come face to face with your own addiction
to poisoned pablum, and save yourself the grief of coming up with complex
schemes to limit your or your kid's access.
Perhaps a more true analogy is that television is like a fungus - if you
have an infection and cure only part of it, it will in all probability spread
back to its original extent.
To paraphrase the great environmental writer and seditionist Edward Abbey:
Kill your television. Take it out back and shoot it or find some other way
to destroy it utterly. Dispose of it properly, and don't give it a second
Portland, OR (No street address listed)
Don't Trust Kelly
I greatly enjoy reading The Progressive Populist, although because I had
several books to read I just read my January edition today. One of the books
which caused this delay was Toxic Sludge is Good for You. This book is subtitled
"Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry," and was recommended
by your magazine. You can well imagine how surprised I was to find the misleading
and unrealistic article (which I have enclosed) ["Green Consumerism
is Dead, Long Live the Green Corporation," claiming that corporations
are adopting environmentalism] in the January issue of The Progressive Populist.
Apparently, Marjorie Kelly of Business Ethics magazine either doesn't know
what she is talking about or is a liar.
Sincerely, Paul Schwietering
461 Sanoma Ct.
Cincinnati, OH 45255
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