No Funny Business

To the Editor,

Star cartoonist David Fitzsimmons is on vacation, and I doubt he has seen the "Free Fitz" ad placed by the Citizen's Alliance for Water Security (June 23). So I would like to comment on it.

Mailbag First, I am sure Fitz would be insulted by the implication that he, toady-like, represses his own opinions as he draws cartoons to fit the agenda of the Star's editor.

Fitz has almost total freedom to draw what he wants, support what he wants and attack what he wants. His cartoon pillorying the CAP recharge opponents as having a mind filled with blind rage, paranoia, pseudo-science, conspiracy theories and only a sliver of knowledge reflects his opinion. That is why we call his cartoon "Fitz's View."

I said "almost total freedom." I am David's immediate boss, and I have rejected no more than three of his roughly 1,400 cartoons in the past five years, all on grounds of taste. Editor Steve Auslander has rejected no more than two others, primarily because they involved caricatures of religious symbols.

The fact is, neither Steve nor I have ever instructed Fitz to draw a cartoon attacking the CAP opponents. Actually, we have never instructed him to draw a cartoon representing a particular point of view. About anything. We would never think of doing so. Nor, to his credit, would David ever comply with such an instruction.

Moreover, we have a strong policy of allowing David to draw cartoons that disagree with Star editorial policy, as we have of allowing columnist Tom Beal to write columns that disagree with Star editorial policy.

That is neither naiveté nor magnanimity on Steve's and my part. We ourselves want intellectual freedom, so we certainly would not take it away from others.

Thus, Fitz is already free from inappropriate Star constraints. Now I think it is time for The CAWS to free Fitz--from misrepresentations of his beliefs (the highly misleading list of "Topics a free Fitz might address") and from the insulting implication that he is an intellectual puppet.

--Jim Kiser
Editorial page editor
The Arizona Daily Star

Bottom Of The Cup

To the Editor,

Regarding Jeff Smith's "Speculative Speculating" (June 18): This guy calls himself a "student of human behavior and a professional journalist"!? Does Smith know anything at all about the international sport favorite we call soccer by actually playing or watching a game in its entirety, or was he merely making a deadline with his, to say the least, mediocre article?

Anyone who knows anything about World Cup soccer knows that it's played every four years, not every three years. The reasons for the overwhelming popularity of this sport with parents is obvious: It teaches kids (and adults) skill, stamina and how to work as a team. It's true that the fans of soccer are crazy devotees, but let's take a look at what situations so many of the countries have gone through--it's a miracle that some have made it to such a glorious competition.

Personally, soccer is really the only sport I can watch in full without being either bored or disgusted. One can learn a vast amount about each country by watching a two-hour game--pretty interesting cultural lessons!

So why hasn't this super-power country we call the U.S.A. not jumped right in like every other country in the world? Maybe it's due to the fact that we have and completely support a mammoth amount of other sports. And yes, Americans can riot and brawl with the best of them, can't we?

The U.S. World Cup team got a later start in the sport, in general, than other teams. The American public simply wants more; they "want numbers", right? There's more to life than numbers. Instead, we can try to grasp an understanding of the sport of soccer: finesse, capability, mastery, endurance. Perhaps if the U.S. team could win the World Cup Americans would be eager to do this.

One final message to Smith: instead of bashing the sport of soccer, for whatever reason you had, why not be proud and supportive of your country's World Cup team? We have plenty of negativity in our lives!

--Fans of bringing cultures together

To the Editor,

Jeff Smith's "Speculative Speculating" (June 18) was a week late and way short. Tom Danehy did it timelier and much funnier the week prior. For all his postulating and arrogance Smith needs to take the time to read his own newspaper, or stick with what he knows. Sports obviously ain't it!

--Brant Vickers

Friend Of Bill

To the Editor,

While it is certainly clear where Sam Smith stands with regard to Bill Clinton ("The Prez and The Press," June 18), it is a shame that he has not learned what any criminal prosecutor of minimal experience can tell you: Anyone can say anything about anybody. Proving it is something else entirely.

Smith lays out a laundry list of accusations against Clinton without that most important element of any accusation--proof. In point of fact, while there have been literally hundreds of suspicious fingers pointed, none of the charges Smith bandies about have been proven in the least. Clinton's enemies have clearly succeeded with Smith. If you raise enough slurs, people will eventually begin to believe that something must have happened.

Left out by Smith: Whitewater--no charges against the Clintons (and some very unrelated convictions of people not involved in Whitewater). Status? Dead issue--Starr has not (and will not) bring charges. Filegate--no charges against the Clintons. Status? Dead issue--no evidence to support any criminal charges. Travelgate--More laughable than Filegate, no charges against the Clintons. Status? Dead issue--no evidence to support criminal charges.

Leaving MonicaGate. In which Smith would serve as a decent toady, in interesting company, since The New York Times, Newsweek, et al have become the Lucianne Goldberg Press Service. As I write this, it's becoming painfully clear that even this most promising of the Starr investigations is turning out to be less than meets the eye. The House runs for cover as the clueless press can't understand that it's their credibility, not Clinton's, that is the true casualty of their breathless coverage and reporting of stories that repeatedly turn out not to be true.

But gee, why should Smith be bothered? Indifferent to truth, he would prefer to smear by accusation and say it's Clinton's fault.

So easy to accuse, especially when you don't have to prove anything. For shame.

--Jeff Ryan

To the Editor:

Regarding Sam Smith's "The Prez and The Press" (June 18 ): Actually, you missed the "real story." Perhaps even more stupendous, doubly unbelievable, yet infallibly true is the fact that there is no Bill Clinton at all!

That's right. Last Tuesday afternoon I undertook the hardship of a 100-mile trek through the barrens of our beloved, fading Sonoran Desert (during summer) to the house of an anonymous friend of mine. I barely survived this adventurous sojourn. My car broke down and I did not bring any nourishment, save one 99-cent bottle of apple juice and a bag of salted peanuts. Gasping for breath, lips cracked, throat parched; I made it to the door, and feebly gathered up energy enough to knock.

This particular friend happens to be a graphic artist and has captured absolutely every single major television appearance made by the alleged "William Jefferson Clinton" on VHS tape. Standard process appears to involve transferring a whole bunch of audiovideo data from VHS to 35mm film via numerous, scary looking equipment. The only thing more terrifying to me than all the complicated wiring, monitors, screens, and weird noises was the horror when I inquired as to how much all of it cost.

There is no real President Of These United States. Sorry folks. I suggest you pay a little more attention. My friend revealed his conclusion to me by comparing digital samples of man who appeared to be William Jefferson Clinton at the police awards ceremony with other samples of him at his first and second inaugurations. None...I repeat, none of the men in any section of tape was THE SAME PERSON. Sheesh, don't I look the fool, having voted for a nonexistent personae and all.

This concrete evidence might lead some to pose the question, "Who is the President Of The United States?" Yet, in this genuine moment of divine illumination my own eye reveals a deeper, universal query, namely, "WHO ARE THEY?" In any case, whomever they may be, they are finally, undoubtedly here. And if you don;t believe me then just ask yourself, and answer honestly, "Have I ever actually seen the President...or touched him?"

So how about it then? Who in the hell is this guy? Who is to blame for such a grievous disturbance in the forces of space and time?

I suspect John Travolta...among others.

--Kevin David Bennett

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