Scarce Pickins

To the Editor,

I read with interest Rebecca Cook's review of P. F. Chang's (Chain Reaction, August 3). The first time we went there was the first week they were open, and I now think that they had their "training chefs" there since the food was excellent. On a subsequent visit, though, the food was average, with too much salt. Also, I think their appetizer servings are too small for the prices charged!

We love Chinese food; having lived in Hong Kong for three years, we have had the best. I'm sorry it is so hard to find in Tucson. Why? There is excellent Japanese food. China Phoenix (Oracle & Ina) is about the best we have found. We will keep looking.

--Margie Golombek

Sticks And Stones

To the Editor,

In "Kind Hearts & Epithets" (August 17), Tom Danehy mischaracterized my published letter of July 27, which criticized his use of the term "faux-wop" in an earlier column ("Foul Shot," July 6).

In the first column, Danehy had used the term to describe a film character, an American who immerses himself in Italian culture. My letter took Danehy to task not for using "wop" but for using slurs selectively. Since Danehy has arguably immersed himself in black culture, but has never called himself a "faux-nigger," he is inconsistent, and I said so.

If Danehy disagrees with my assessment of him as a "faux-nigger," he should have argued such. But he did not. Instead, through ignorance or malice, he mischaracterized my letter, giving it the exact opposite of its meaning.

In the second column, referring to my letter, Danehy writes, "In an impassioned tone he wrote of my insensitivity to Italian-Americans ..." and later, "I found the charge of insensitivity to Italian-Americans intriguing ..."

But nowhere did I charge Danehy with insensitivity to Italian-Americans. As the first sentence of my letter clearly indicates, I couldn't care less about ethnic slurs. Danehy says I've charged him with insensitivity, but what I've really charged him with is sensitivity.

I do not object to Danehy's use of ethnic slurs. What I do object to is the hypocrisy, exhibited by Danehy and others, that renders some slurs OK, and others not. When it comes to free speech in the form of ethnic slurs, it's all or nothing. Danehy's mealy-mouthed arguments about the relative severity of "wop" and "nigger" notwithstanding, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Or in this case, what's good for the guinea is good for the coon. You can't have it both ways.

Danehy's second column also exposes him as only a fair-weather friend of free expression. After running to his mama for permission to use "wop," he tacitly endorses physical intimidation when someone's feelings are hurt. Referring to his mother, Danehy writes: "She says it never really bothered her, and if it had, she would have mentioned it to one of her brothers, one of whom was an All-Big Ten quarterback." Later, he endorses verbal intimidation and mob rule to stifle free speech when he suggests it's OK for a speaker to be "booed off the microphone" in a public forum.

Later in his second column, Danehy uses the word "pussies" to describe "fearer(s) of words." That's a fair assessment of the censors, P.C. warriors, and language Nazis that have been allowed to run roughshod over free-speech rights. But by mischaracterizing my letter, by ascribing to me words that I never wrote, Danehy lumps me in with that despicable gang.

Since I don't know Danehy personally, I have no way of knowing whether his mischaracterization of my words is due to ignorance or malice. But neither prospect is savory. In the first case, he's a dunce; in the second, a punk.

--Jim Carvalho

Red Gore

To the Editor,

First, let me tell you while I disagree profoundy with Tom Danehy's viewpoint (generally speaking), I admire him for his honesty, integrity, sense of humor and, most of all, for his dedication to his children. (I know all this from his appearances on Emil Franzi's radio show).

I don't know whether Bill Clinton could be reelected; I hope Tom's wrong ("Dem Bones," August 24). It's hard for me to believe people enjoy having our country dragged through the mud, regardless of the great economy (incidentally, this has nothing to do with Clinton). Look, the issue in this election is not whether to continue our prosperity, and it's not greed. The issue is whether we value the freedom to make our own decisions for ourselves and our families, or we trust the federal government, with its massive bureaucracies, unnecessary paperwork and freedom-choking regulations, to make these decisions.

With Al Gore, with his wish to increase socialist programs and his "targeted " tax cuts, we will lose more of our precious freedoms.

--Donna Alu

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