According to Normon Solomon and his "P.U.-litzer Prizes" (Jan. 1), liberal columnists have apparently managed to make it through the entire year without making a single mistake, error or stupid comment. Amazing!
We all know that liberals are incapable of saying anything stupid, and, if any had, surely Solomon would have fulfilled his duty as an impartial journalist and reported them. However, I have decided to do the impossible and attempt to find just a few stupid comments made by liberal pundits within the past year to supplement Solomon's work.
Katha Pollitt somehow didn't make Solomon's list for her whining in The Nation about her 14-year-old daughter who wanted to fly an American flag outside their home. I guess it would be OK if her daughter was just pregnant or got a tattoo, but flying the U.S. flag is apparently more than Pollitt can take.
Neva Chonin of the San Francisco Chronicle had a similar problem with the U.S. flag flying in tattoo shops. She wrote, "Someone is appropriating this outlaw space and turning it into a patriotic space. Where once there was ambivalence, there's now a monolithic quality, and there's no resistance to the symbolism." I guess her comments didn't make the list because they are both liberal and unintelligible.
"The Bizarre Conspiracy Theory" award might go to John Stilgoe of the San Francisco Chronicle for writing that "I think that's what this whole war on terrorism is all about: It's about maintaining urban property values. It is necessary to do whatever they can to keep people willing to pay exorbitant prices for a small apartment in Manhattan or San Francisco or Los Angeles." I'm so happy that he figured it out. This whole war is just a scam to make sure my rent stays sky-high. I'm calling my landlord right now.
Finally, if liberals were allowed to win P.U.-litzer prizes I'd say the big one would have to go to Alice Walker for this gem from the Village Voice: "But what would happen to [Bin Laden's] cool armor if he could be reminded of all the good, nonviolent things he has done? Further, what would happen to him if he could be brought to understand the preciousness of the lives he has destroyed? I firmly believe the only punishment that works is love."
That's right, Alice, all Osama needs is a big hug.
Well, I guess I'll have to admit defeat. It really is impossible to find any stupid commentary by liberals. My apologies to Solomon. I look forward to his list for the year 2002, which I'm sure will prove once again that conservatives hold a monopoly on foolishness.
In regard to the article "Staying in the Black" by Katy Reckdahl (Dec. 18), I agree wholeheartedly with the concept of spending money with locally owned businesses. It truly does help keep the money in the local economy, thereby benefiting the whole community. But not based on the ethnic origins of the owner. I am appalled at how you tout and congratulate blatant racism.
By the standard of the article, people should decide predominately where to shop by the ethnicity of the owners of the business. What about who gives the best service, the best price, in short, who is doing the best job? By applying the same standard, white people should not spend their money with any other ethnically owned business. Maybe we should count the ratio of whites to others in any establishment before giving them any money. This concept would be considered absolutely racist. Why is it different if the colors are reversed?
As most Americans strive to see true equality in our country, this type of thinking divides people and sets progress back considerably. If the article had the slant of doing business with those locally owned in your neighborhood, it would have gotten across a valid point without the divisiveness.
Who Shopped Where
The article "Staying in the Black" by Katy Reckdahl (Dec. 18) had the statement, "Ironically, many say the best period for black businesses probably was during segregation, when blacks weren't allowed to shop on Canal Street and they couldn't try on clothing." The latter part of that statement had some truth, but the first part stating that blacks were not allowed to shop is not true.
I can personally attest to the fact that blacks shopped at Krauss, Maison Blanche, Marks Isaac, The Imperial Shoe Store, Cranes and Keller Zander, to name a few. I grew up in the 7th Ward of New Orleans in the late '20s and early '30s and had no idea that a Dryades Street shopping area was in existence. Most downtowners shopped on Canal Street, and I suspect some Uptowners shopped on Dryades Street. I am a black American native of this city over 75 years old and have operated a business (beauty salon) for over 50 years. Yes, it, too, is about 98 percent black-patronized.
John B. Williams
Edinburgh Williams Beauty Salon Inc. and Boutique
Why Spain Won't Cooperate
Now I know why Americans don't trust the press. Molly Ivins ("Reasons to Worry," Dec. 4) states as fact: "Spain refuses to turn over terrorists because they don't think they will get a fair trial." Spain would not turn them over even if they had killed 2,000 children. They don't have the death penalty and won't turn over prisoners to countries that have it unless you promise not to use it! Thousands of people read Ivins and just believe it. Scary.
Patricia A. Freeman