Dang DiGiovanna

To the Editor,

Regarding James DiGiovanna's capsule review of Dancing At Lughnasa (January 21): DiGiovanna is a boob and a bore. How dare he attempt a swipe at Meryl Streep? He is not fit. Did his film school instructors drill him in dialects as well as cheap shots? Personally, I never studied with Streep's voice coach at Julliard; I studied with someone better: Edith Skinner at Carnegie-Mellon.

Mailbag Meryl Streep's accents are flawless; she's acknowledged by N.Y. stage actors as the champ. But what would you know? All you've managed to become is a smarmy, cutesy hack writer for a free newspaper.

Sorry. I don't have your resùmè. Would I be impressed?

I was cheered, however, by your statement that you and the other Weekly reviewers will not stir yourselves to see Streep's movies. Avoid Shakespeare, Moliere, Mozart, and Beethoven, too. You are far better suited to sneering at Patch Adams and the like.

(Wait--dang, that Patch Adams piece was by Woodruff. I really need more fodder for my outrage here, but I kind of liked your other reviews. Dang.)

--Catherine Gilman

Wild Accusations

To The Editor,

After reading Jeff Smith's "Up The Creek" (January 21), I must agree with Harold Hyams' letter ("The Roar Of The Zion," Mailbag, January 13). Hyams, in his intelligent and respectable letter, wrote that "I couldn't understand how a newspaperman who never met me, nor spoke with me nor obviously investigated the issue, could write such an awful, vengeful article to smear me." I must agree with Mr. Hyams that it seems to be a trend in Smith's columns to replace research with ignorance.

Smith wrote a long-winded college-student-esque column just to say the following: The state Parks Department "is stepping on the toes of essentially innocent, demonstrably well-intentioned land-owners, who just happen to have beat them to the punch on some lovely riparian habitat." And he supports it with his claim that, "Both the developer and the owners' association have done an exemplary job of establishing responsible access to this natural area, in a manner that should preserve the resource in healthy shape." The keyword here is "should," which implies that Smith is not sure, or that he has no clue what he's talking about. Smith thinks that having "access to the creek for hiking, riding horsies, dangling their footsies in the water" [and engaging in] "fuzzy, flora-friendly pursuits" presents no hazard to the environment.

Obviously (and I say this again), he has no clue.

Anyone who has had even an elementary education in biology will understand that a continued presence of another species in a natural habitat will bring lasting change to the environment. Waste management is always a problem and humans produce many organic and inorganic wastes, and even if a community adopts strict measures, there are always loose ends. Humans may also bring in alien vegetation, such as seeds of other plants, and "return it to nature," which could wipe out the current habitat by hogging nutrition from other less adaptive species. These will lead to the depletion of food for wildlife that maintained the delicate balance of the natural habitat. Moreover, "footsies in the water" could upset the ecology when it is repeated over and over for a prolonged time, facilitating the process of erosion beyond nature's ability to regain lost minerals and topsoil. Plus, the human body is a host to billions of bacteria and viruses; this can not be healthy for the "fishies" and "froggies" that live in the creek (if there are any).

Introduction of species other than humans that are foreign to the habitat will damage natural habitat as well, mainly by disrupting the behaviors of native species, or in some cases, by killing them.

As for allowing the public to have access to the property because it is public property, "Well, duh," there are plenty of places you could visit around Lake Patagonia without disturbing natural wildlife habitat.

Smith may say, "Well, weak stuff die, and strong ones survive," but fortunately the state Parks Department understands that reality is not as simple as Smith may think it is. Not all wildlife habitats ought to be readily accessed by the public. Already hundreds of species go extinct every year, biodiversity in this world is being reduced at an alarming rate, and any effort to slow down this process is honorable. In the long run, the less biodiversity we've got, the less chance we have for survival, not only as Homo sapiens, but also as life as whole on this planet.

All in all, Harold Hyams is right in saying that Smith is "guilty of not doing his job as a journalist and not fighting for the truth."

--Ted Pastor

To the Editor,

Regarding Jeff Smith's "Up The Creek" (January 21): I usually look forward to Smith's writing as a refreshingly balanced antidote for those letters from the plethora of whiney, thumb-sucking types who used to nauseate me in graduate school. You know, the ones who use the same boilerplate themes which they apply to whatever issue is topical: "I am a high-strung momma's boy [of either gender] so ergo I think I know everything and I am extremely jealous of and threatened by successful capitalists and cowboys and non-draft-dodgers and other non-cowards, so I will try to make a career out of making fun of them because they're white guys who are braver than I'll ever be and they've earned more money than I have. And for good measure, I will call them 'knuckle draggers' to emphasize my clearly superior level of evolution, even though I've never done one thing that is superior in any way." They often end up hiding behind that quaint welfare system for the incompetent called "tenure."

So imagine my surprise when I read Smith's comments about wildlife corridors, where he seems to be siding with the thumb-suckers as he objects to "golf courses and shopping malls and bridal paths." I am shocked--shocked, I tell you--that a writer of Smith's seeming objectivity would object to bridal paths. Where a bride walks on her wedding day is none of Smith's damn business, and our abundance of lovely desert land surely has paths enow for nuptial use. Is Smith suggesting that only those wearing Spandex athletic bras be allowed on the paths, while those wearing long trains of white lace must wait in the back of the bus like Rosa Parks--or was that Katherine Ross?

Fie and for shame! I must end this missive now, as my wife is in a kinky mood and has asked me to bring her bridle outfit to bed, and I feel like horsing around.

--Tom Burns

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