tom is not the enemy
I was having brunch at a favorite Quarter spot, eating my eggs and spilling my coffee over the latest Gambit, when I found Hal Collums' diatribe against one of your more provocative political cartoonists ("Letters," Nov. 27). I remember saying to my friend, "We should write back to defend Tom," when I realized that the table beside us was having the same conversation. They were saying the buzz about town was to have "This Modern World" yanked from the paper as being too unpatriotic. So this letter is, in part, my fulfilling a pact we all made right then to write and help protect our basic civil liberties, not to mention our senses of humor.
Mr. Collums argues that decent Americans have to put up with all "this trash" because brave Americans before us defended our freedoms under attack. I wonder if he's really thought about where the greatest attack on those freedoms might come from? Here's a hint: it's not the terrorists. Those hard-won freedoms are in place because the founders recognized that disagreement, criticism and debate had to be protected within this country.
They recognized that it is dissent that makes us distinct, that criticism and questioning are essential for true democracy to exist. And by the way, do you think they all agreed nicely with each other? I'm so tired of having to rush out and defend my patriotism because I dare to question our leaders and their decisions. I'm not just exercising my political rights; I'm fulfilling my responsibility as an American. People get so caught up defending the flag that they forget to take a good long look at just exactly what that flag is representing. And guess what? Tom is not it enemy.
I'm not saying that the cartoon isn't crass. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's what political cartoons are all about. And this is just a hunch, but I'd be willing to bet that Hal Collums didn't write and complain over the untold months of Clinton sexploits endlessly belabored by his favorite political pundits. No, I don't always agree with Tom's latest bent, but I do know he's a voice that should be heard. I was hoping we had left that knee-jerk "love it or leave it" McCarthyism back in the '50s.
So I write to thank Gambit for being the only viable local voice that consistently stands up for the very basic rights we can all too easily take for granted. It is a brave and dangerous position to take in a political landscape that claims unquestioning agreement as the only true "patriotism" allowed. And I write to ask you to continue to stand up for the freedom to hear dissent; for vital, active debate within this country; and for a sense of humor in these terrible times as well! Keep Tom Tomorrow in your paper. I know it's a lot to ask, but there are a lot of us "ignorant sheep" out here, I promise, and for the rest of the barnyard animals, there's always The Times-Picayune.
the 'h' word
I am hoping Webster's Dictionary will add Entercom Communications under their definition of "hypocrisy" ("The 'V' Word," Dec. 4). Has Mr. Scott, the director of operations for Entercom, listened to the morning drive show on WKZN-FM (Bo and Beth)? They regularly discuss many body functions, including pretty graphic discussions of body gasses and body parts. Although I can't specifically recall hearing them use the word "vagina," I would be really surprised if they haven't used some term for female body parts that would be much less acceptable. I stopped listening to that station recently when the male morning show host indicated he was pleased a woman had been murdered for befriending an ex-convict. I didn't record his words, but they were to the effect, "Good, she didn't deserve to live." I am quite liberal in my conversation and language; however, that so disgusted me that I quit listening. I realized it would do no good to comment to the station.
After reading Ms. Loh-Harrist's article about the station banning advertising for The Vagina Monologues due to the "V" word, I realize why I didn't waste my breath -- the management is totally out of touch with reality. Let's just turn off the Entercom stations. Their action is totally hypocritical and absolutely a form of censorship. I'll start by changing my radio -- how about you?
ammunition in the
fight against wal-mart
Will a Wal-Mart bring its full offering of merchandise to Uptown New Orleans? Pampers? Shampoo? Ammunition? Guns?
Just last year in Tampa, Fla., in a store next to a high school, Wal-Mart would not relent on gun sales, instead releasing a press release saying, "Wal-Mart has sold firearms in our stores for the past 38 years, and we have no plans to discontinue this. We appreciate the fact that we have become the local destination of choice for American sportspeople and we will continue to meet the needs of these customers throughout the nation."
In Newport, R.I., a Wal-Mart store refused to move its gun department from right next to the toy department as requested by the community. Store design is standardized, the concerned parents were told, and they don't redesign the departments of a given store for one community. It took the involvement of the U.S. Congressional representative to get Wal-Mart to move the guns from next to the toys.
Wal-Mart continues its gun sales "throughout the nation" with "no plans to discontinue this." Concerned parents like me want to know where the guns will be in this store.
David G. Keiffer