Go With The Flow

To the Editor,

Regarding "Flow Worms" (Tucson Weekly, March 19): The Rillito has been flowing at a rate that is still higher than projected for the CAP input in the Alvernon-Campbell region. The ground must be properly saturated so that measurements of the flow at different stretches of the Rillito will determine the true rates and places of the seepage.

The measurements are easy to make, but should be started now, and be continued through the time when the diminishing flow will be at the rate planned for the CAP input.

Mailbag It will then not be necessary to do the proposed test with treated sewage water in order to simulate that CAP input. That test would bring an open stream of effluent for people to walk through and children to play in. The effluent would then seep into a potential storage for drinking water--there are actively used wells in the area now!

Are we seeing odd politics, in City Council and in morning and afternoon papers, against recharge and for the usage of the $600 million chemical treatment plant on Ajo Way?

--Tom Gehrels

Letter Imperfect

To the Editor,

I feel compelled to respond to the moronic "conglomeration of past Salpointe alumni" whose farcical piece of missive effluvium you published in your letters section (Tucson Weekly, March 5). One can imagine the excitement these young scholars must have felt sitting around their dorm room composing this defense of their beloved alma mater, eager to demonstrate to all of Tucson the intellectual and moral superiority of Salpointe graduates. They should understand, however, that their letter was so rife with grammatical and stylistic errors, hypocrisy, and morally reprehensible assertions, that they collectively damaged the reputation of Salpointe High School much more than the articles to which they so strenuously objected could possibly have done. One can only hope that this group of self-possessed, self-proclaimed future leaders of "America's career fields" will make more of the tax-subsidized educational opportunities provided by Northern Arizona University than they did of those provided by the private school which they so misguidedly revere.

This group of young people claims to represent the honor and integrity of Salpointe, its faculty and staff--even the religion that "as a community we all belong to." Yet their response to the vandalism perpetrated upon the author of the articles critical of Salpointe is "we are Salpointe...don't mess with us." Their language throughout the letter is threatening. These young people represent not honor and integrity, but boastfulness and false pride. The only religious community they represent is the community of religious hypocrites, which the world seems to possess in abundance.

The letter refers to a friend whom the writers allege was maced by police for refusing a breath alcohol analysis, "which last time we checked he had the right to do." How pathetic that this group should be so forceful in the defense of a minor's imagined right to be drunk and disorderly, and so willing to deny a journalist the freedoms of speech and press accorded by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. You do remember the Constitution, don't you, "ladies and gentlemen"? Or is your knowledge of American government as poor as your knowledge of English grammar?

What is so galling is this group's sense of moral and intellectual superiority, and the clear demonstration that such superiority exists only in their minds. These young people should know that they will not inherit the earth just because they attended Salpointe High School. And they should try to understand the difference between knowledge and wisdom. Perhaps they can begin by looking up in a dictionary the word "sophomoric." The Greek philosopher, Socrates, asserted that he is wise who knows how little he knows. These brash, young people seem quite assured of their place in the world. One can only hope that experience will grant them some semblance of morals and intellectual humility, as well. I believe that only then will Salpointe High School be as proud of them as they are of it.

--Robert M. Shirley

To the Editor,

After reading the vitriolic letters from the Salpointe crowd and that masterpiece of sloppy English from the "past Salpointe alumni" now at NAU (are they no longer alumni?), I am beginning to wonder if "Catholic education" is an oxymoron.

I admit every barrel has a few good apples in it, but, boy, those empty barrels sure make a lot of noise.

--Richard Mackler

Reefer Madness

To the Editor,

Regarding Tom Danehy's "Acapulco Gold," (Tucson Weekly, February 19): I know this letter will probably get me in trouble, but in the spirit of "Please explain this to me," I can hardly resist.

Ross Rebagliati is a hero because he won, Mr. Danehy, plain and simple. To the majority of participants and observers, in sports (or "events") of the competitive variety, winning matters most, despite polite references to "how you play the game." The fact that Rebagliati also enjoys smoking marijuana proves nothing more than the fact that not all potheads are "losers."

Young Ross showed class during the controversy by not turning against his friends or his beliefs for political expediency, a courtesy his friends apparently afforded him as well. They supported him whether he smoked marijuana or not, which is indeed a very real thing to do in these days of non-inhalers and media-driven false imagery.

Danehy, on the other hand, shows no such open-mindedness. In the space of one column he manages to disparage, in a most hateful and bigoted tone, snowboarding, marijuana smokers, Canadians, the French, and other journalists who don't share his opinion.

Now, no matter how Neanderthal I consider Danehy's opinions, I will defend to the death his right to hold them and spout them, even in print, much the same as I will defend Ross' right to smoke marijuana and win a gold medal.

Danehy's column is very illustrative of the drug hysteria that grips much of the populace these days. It runs two ways: The vast majority of U.S. citizens believe that for every little sniffle that arises there is a pill-popping answer, thanks to the propaganda of huge pharmaceutical companies. Many of these same people also believe that an herb like marijuana is automatically going to destroy anyone who comes near it, equating it with far more dangerous and destructive drugs like crack, which Danehy very ignorantly did three times in his column.

Rather than avoid its use, I myself (like thousands of others) use marijuana on a regular basis specifically for health reasons. I use it to control my asthma, which prevents me from becoming reliant on inhalers and far more dangerous asthma drugs manufactured by corporate drug pushers.

A solid majority of voters in this state apparently believe that's just fine, as they voted to legalize marijuana for medicinal use in the last general election. Unfortunately, Neanderthals in the state Legislature once again overturned the vote of the people. Nevertheless, I think history--and Danehy's columns--will show that the TV he so addictively watches rots your brain (and your body) much more than marijuana.

Perhaps Tom Danehy should run for office. They like his type at the Capitol.

--Randy Serraglio

Write Stuff

To the Editor,

While plodding through all the long, boring Salpointe letters, there was one shining light. That was the one by B.W. Ewing, with wonderful lines like, "Vicki Hart is an invalid!!!" and "the Weekly is a trashy newspaper with trashy articles written by White Trash for White Trash!!!" Wow! What a hoot! Please, B.W. Ewing, write more letters!

--Richard Trible

Tibet Tussle

To the Editor,

James DiGiovanna's belated capsule review of Kundun is an odd mix of political diatribe and begrudging appreciation which I believe unfairly slights both the director Martin Scorsese and Tibet (Tucson Weekly, March 5). While there certainly does seem to exist some sort of "Tibet chic" fad in Hollywood at the moment, the film (including the writing of the screenplay by Melissa Mathison) was actually a project seven years in progress. As for Scorsese, his resume hardly identifies him as someone who has either jumped on any bandwagon in the past nor needs to at the present.

DiGiovanna's stab at Tibet is even more problematic in being both irrelevant to the worth of the movie and an unfair representation of a historical reality. DiGiovanna's quote closely mimics the Chinese propaganda concerning Tibet which came out at the time of the "liberation" of Tibet--how the Chinese army was welcomed with open arms by the poor, oppressed masses of Tibet.

There is no doubt that Tibet was not traditionally an egalitarian and democratically governed society. Looking at the world in general in the early decades of this century one would have found most of the countries of the world to share such a quality. What made Tibet unique was the fact that its religious and political structures virtually overlapped--the Dalai Lama was both the political and spiritual leader. With a young modern-minded Dalai Lama, Tibet at the time of the Chinese invasion (1949) was a country in transition, as were many countries in the post-war world.

My support for Tibet--and I believe the support of the famous and not-so-famous--is based not on any idealized version of a Shangri-La, but rather on an appreciation of the many unique and worthwhile features of Tibetan culture and a strong feeling of abhorrence at the unbelievable scope of the oppression and destruction wreaked on Tibet by China with barely a peep from the "civilized " world.

Whatever the negative aspects of Tibetan culture which may have existed prior to 1949, the historical record still shows Tibet to have been a nation whose people supported their leader the Dalai Lama and whose Buddhist faith permeated their everyday lives, which had diplomatic relations with its neighbors (India, China, Nepal, Sikim and Bhutan), and which for 1,000 years or more had a history of political independence within the shifting political alliances of the region. Nothing that came before comes close to justifying China's genocidal and ecocidal policies since 1949, which have included the killing by torture, starvation, and execution of over 1 million Tibetans, the destruction of most of Tibet's 6,000 monasteries, the forced sterilization of a large number of Tibetan women, the massive transfer of ethnic Chinese into Tibet, making Tibetans a minority there, and the large-scale deforestation of Eastern Tibet.

I have seen the evidence of some of this destruction with my own eyes. Lest DiGiovanna feel such claims come from that vicious Dalai Lama in exile in India, I suggest he consult the reports of Amnesty International, Asia Watch, or the numerous other independent observers.

Glib and fashionably iconoclastic assertions about Tibet such as DiGiovanna's are nothing less than historical revisionism a la "There was no Holocaust." Unfortunately, due to China's totalitarian grip on Tibet and Tibet's extreme geographical isolation (it takes more than a month to escape Tibet across the Himalayas into Nepal), it is difficult to speak directly with the Tibetan people and dig up the truth (both literally and figuratively). There is no large constituency of survivors or their relatives to raise their voices in outrage at such callous published claims. That is why we try to help Tibet.

Now that Kundun has come and gone, it is regrettable that the Tucson Weekly and DiGiovanna, both keen observers of the interface of political and popular culture, have missed the real hidden political story of the film. Why was it that a film by a major American director was initially shown in Tucson on only one screen, only at noon, and with virtually no advertising? What are the implications of a foreign country, China, being able to pressure a major film company, Disney/Touchstone Pictures, to censor the distribution of a film whose theme that country doesn't approve of?

All in all, once DiGiovanna's political views on Tibet are excised from his review of the film as an artistic venture, Kundun shows itself to have been an interesting and reasonably well made movie, one which unfortunately hardly anyone knew was playing.

--Steven Wind

To the Editor,

Regarding James DiGiovanna's capsule review of Kundun (Tucson Weekly, March 5): The most annoying thing about DiGiovanna's trendy secular cynicism is that it keeps him from paying attention to what is going on in his heart. Or maybe he just hasn't been informed as to its location. I am all for a good rip at movies now and then, even when they don't deserve it. Stacey Richter can really make me roll with her critical razor.

Intelligent criticism is one thing, very interesting. Humor is another thing, very funny. But what is this thing DiGiovanna did called? Slam-a-Lama? That hideous mentor of maniacal terror, the Dalai Lama is at it again, folks, and boy is he ever unfair to all of those dummies who love him. Be afwaid, be verry afwaid! DiGiovanna should stay awake when reviewing films so that he can review the film, not international politics.

--Jewell Starsinger

Butt Heads

To the Editor,

I've lived in Tucson just under a year now, and have come to greatly appreciate your presence here as an alternative to the daily, so-called newspapers in this town. Therefore, I was tremendously disappointed to see you stoop to selling three full-page ads focusing on the use of tobacco in this week's issue! Have I simply been blind until now, or is this a new way for you to pay your bills? I have to wonder at what cost will this have to your quality of journalism--advertising does seem to influence the content of the media. I also wonder where you feel your responsibility lies with the health and well being of your readers, especially the younger people you appeal to. Your articles, so often, have concern regarding the health of our environment and lives, so how do you justify these ads? I'll be reading you with a greater wariness in the future.

--Karin Bartimole

Editor's Response: Karin, your concerns are certainly worthwhile. And, yes, this is a new way of paying our bills--previously we had rejected tobacco ads for just those reasons you've cited. Now, however, we feel it's more important to make money--lots and lots of money, so you're right to read us with greater wariness, as you should any publication which depends on advertisers, including the daily newspapers. American magazines, in particular, are currently a terribly stinky brew of advertiser influence on editorial content. As for the Tucson Weekly going easy on tobacco manufacturers, however, you can rest assured that will not happen too often--tobacco is a contemptible sissy addiction, and most of us on the staff are into crack and methamphetamines.

We Want Letters!

Thrilled by our brilliant insights? Sick of our mean-spirited attacks? Need to make something perfectly clear? Write: tucsonweekly@tucsonweekly.com

 Page Back  Last Issue  Current Week  Next Week  Page Forward

Home | Currents | City Week | Music | Review | Books | Cinema | Back Page | Archives

Weekly Wire    © 1995-97 Tucson Weekly . Info Booth