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By virtue of being a court reporter, Tracy Aaron-Hunt says she sees the effects of drug laws in the courts every day (Letters, April 20). Were the state not controlling the substances people freely choose to put in their bodies, Tracy would never see these persecuted individuals. The mischief done by bad ideologies surely is much more pernicious—both for the individual and for the whole society—than that done by narcotics. If one abolishes man's freedom to determine his own consumption, one takes all freedoms away. The naive advocates of government interference with consumption of drugs unwittingly support the cause of censorship, inquisition, religious intolerance, and the persecution of dissenters—thus Ludwig von Mises in Human Action.

Chris Buors
via e-mail

After reading your paper's misinformed and racist attack on our organization, it makes us happy to know that Nick Schou and Gustavo Arellano are not consultants or fact checkers for Disney Studios on the proposed film on the life of Emiliano Zapata ("Vendido Zapata," April 13)! First, your writers' idea that any Spanish-speaking actor is good enough to play Emiliano Zapata is both racist and ignorant. Imagine a blond, Germanic, Argentine, Spanish-speaker playing Zapata? A lot of Hollywood makeup, and you have an instant race change. Ludicrous idea, huh?! If you don't understand that, then how about Brad Pitt playing Malcolm X. Isn't that racist? Still not racist, huh?! Maybe you have a different definition of what racist is. How about just plain wrong, like a descendant of Benedict Arnold playing George Washington.

Second, we have now been picketing Disneyland for six weeks, not only March 10, and we will continue to be there every Saturday until Disney kills this racist project. We are prepared to be there for years if it is necessary.

Third, we never have said that Antonio Banderas is racist. We have said that Disney is racist and has had a history of being racist. That is a simple fact. Ask Michael Eisner, the current head of Disney. Ask him if Disney Studios ever discriminated against Jews.

Fourth, in reference to Zapata as being part of "a comfortable and influential rural clan in the central Mexican state of Morelos" and therefore he could not be indigenous: Why would that exclude him from being indigenous? Why would that stop him from being a Nahuatl-speaker? Why would that exclude him from being full-blood? Have you been reading those Disney fantasy history books like the ones that produced Pocahontas and The Emperor's New Groove? The ignorance on this item is unbelievable.

Fifth, using Carlos Fuentes as a source on Emiliano Zapata is equivalent to using the KKK as a source for the civil-rights movement.

Sixth, you write: "Zapata was not an Indian but a mestizo—-a Mexican of mixed Spanish and Indian heritage." Zapata was not from India! Zapata was not living in Spain! Zapata was not a Spaniard with some indigenous blood! Zapata was a Mexican! Zapata was indigenous! Zapata was a hero for our people!

Finally, this lessening of the efforts and work that we are doing belittles our community. This fact could have been checked by calling us. We were not interviewed for your article. Maybe facts are not that important to you.

There were many other lies, false characterizations and distortions printed in your attack on the work of our movement, but suffice it to say that we view this attack as part of the New Racism that masks its hideous face with witless sarcasm and false facts.

Olin Tezcatlipoca
Mexica Movement
Nick Schou and Gustavo Arellano respond: We would have been happy to include the Mexica Movement's comments in our story, but no representative of the group returned our many phone calls. Suffice it to say that nothing in this letter refutes anything in the article, and the things it might appear to refute (Banderas as a racist?) didn't appear in the article. If Tezcatlipoca wants to believe that Emiliano Zapata was a full-blooded indigenous person, that's his right—but it's a view of history as absurd as anything in a Disney cartoon. So is comparing Carlos Fuentes to the KKK.

Personally, we have very low expectations of any Disney movie; we also think an actor like Esai Morales would make a much better Zapata than Banderas. But we're talking about a Disney flick, not a conspiracy to deny the fact that indigenous people up and down the Americas have been fucked over for the past 500 years—sometimes by their own people.


I urge Manohla Dargis ("She Shtups to Conquer," April 20) to look beyond feminist rhetoric to the bigger issue in the culture wars. Yes, the portrayal of women by Hollywood tends to fit only tawdry clichťs. But how is that different from its presentation of men? The quote from [Arianna] Bocco [vice president of acquisitions and production at New Line/Fine Line] implies that while the women in Schwarzenegger films are stereotyped, he is not. Is Arnold really playing himself? I doubt that he is truly ready for epic verse.

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