Richard Goldstein responds: The Passion's distributor would not allow me to see the film in advance of its opening.
Regarding Scott Foundas' review of The Passion of the Christ["Christ Not Almighty," Feb. 27]: If you ignore that Malcolm X is about the black movement, or that TheGodfather is about organized crime, or that Norma Rae is about unionization, you miss the whole point of the films. To pretend that the main character in The Passion of the Christ is just "a good man arrested on trumped-up charges" and not the Son of God is absurd. It's like showing Malcolm X to a racist and telling him he'll enjoy the movie by just ignoring the color of the characters.
Nathan Callahan's article provides more proof suggesting the Bush administration was almost criminally negligent regarding the threat from al-Qaeda prior to Sept. 11 ["Daily Brief With Ray McGovern," Feb. 20]. The March 1 Newsweek carries a book review of Steve Koll's Ghost Wars that again points up how seriously the Clinton administration regarded the threat from al-Qaeda and how it almost captured Osama bin Laden using Ahmed Shah Massoud as a proxy. The Bush administration's negligence is best covered in Al Franken's book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them in the chapter "Operation Ignore." It is time for the Democrats to go after Bush on this issue and show him for what he is, not a strong leader but an incompetent bungler.
Carl Mariz Irvine
Damn, will ya look at that? I move to Minnesota from Orange County, and just three months later, Judge Jim Gray's Libertarian Party campaign for U.S. Senate is getting really exciting [Steve Lowery's "Hey, Where's the Stoners, Druids and Ferret-Lovers? Feb. 27]. I'd like to think it was the years of activism that I and countless others put in that made the Libertarian Party attractive for a candidate of such serious stature, but that would be conceited. Truth is California and the nation are changing, people are fed up with politics as usual, and they are ready for a libertarian message. Judge Gray is the perfect person to deliver this message of positive change.
In response to the letters regarding Jim Washburn's "In Defense of Gay Marriage" [Feb. 13]: I am a gay man. I am in a long-term, monogamous relationship and do not feel the need to get married. For anyone, quite frankly, this is all a money/political issue. The "sanctity" of marriage is a joke when one considers the heterosexual divorce rate is well more than 55 percent. Aren't Britney Spears and Elizabeth Taylor holding their own seminars on the "sanctity" of marriage? Most people I know in the heterosexual world have had not much luck with marriage. The ones that did have happy marriages were usually less concerned about whether other people should or shouldn't get married; they were more concerned with each other.
Gay marriage is comparable to interracial marriages. The same two issues are at stake: recognition that we are your friends and neighbors. And also that pesky money issue. I love my boyfriend. I don't need an elaborate ceremony. I don't need tacky wedding invitations, relatives arguing because they don't want to be seated next to their exes, or any other of the hundreds of headaches that go into such a "sanctimonious" ceremony.
One wonders if Rebecca Schoenkopf's flame job on Liz Phair["Life Ain't Phair," Feb. 27] doesn't, in part, stem from "crossover betrayal." Isn't it always the way? Your favorite band finally gains deserved popularity, and now you're hurt. No longer are they your exclusive little secret! All the cretins who wouldn't listen to your preaching about the next big thing suddenly act like THEY made the discovery. I'm sure when the Beatles got popular in America, the Liverpudlians felt betrayed. Be happy for Liz Phair. Rejoice that your darling may not have to continue toiling in relative obscurity just to keep you happy. Schoenkopf's article carries even less weight given the Liz Phair concert Friday night. Her stage presence was so absolutely unassuming that one doubts she really gives a fuck if the cheerleaders or anyone else like her.
I've been a Liz Phair fan since her first album. I've not been surprised at the criticism she's faced since releasing Liz Phair.The sins Liz has committed in song include: enjoying men, embracing hooks and desiring success. Somehow, indie-music fans have concluded that working toward immense success and writing pop hooks is BAD. God forbid there should be a hook or memorable melody line in a song! Curse those musicians who would move to capture the ears of MORE listeners! As if musicians get into music to languish in small, sweaty clubs! And worse, a woman writing material about being in love? With a MAN?! Perhaps Rebecca Schoenkopf should listen to the newest CD's "Little Digger," the most tender, personal observation of her child any woman has penned in pop music. Liz sounds better than ever, looks finer than ever, and I'm only sorry that she'll be in and out of town by the time this letter gets printed and won't be able to read my loving defense.