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BONES TO PICK
The following letters are in response to our Oct. 26 feature, "OC's Scariest People."
Hey, I finally made the list! Woo-hoo! My only complaint: You didn't list me with "The Pols." Last time I looked, I was a partisan elected official.
State Assemblyman, 70th District
Editor's Note: "The Pols" section was reserved for OC's congressional delegation and the state's two senators, who have voted one way or the other on the Iraq War.
Although former CUSD superintendent James Fleming is mentioned as one of OC's Scariest People, I'm surprised the entire CUSD school board didn't make the list. Surely they deserved some kind of honorable mention!
I can't believe that Loretta Sanchez would appear as No. 2, before all of the other crazies you have listed.
I don't read your magazine, but I am a huge fan of Votan. Congratulations on using his art for your feature!
The following letter is a response to a letter by Chulita in Gustavo Arellano's Oct. 26 edition of ¡Ask a Mexican! In it, Chulita mentions her love forgabachos and her friend's preference for the flirtatious French.
Chulita, I am unfrançais myself, so I know what I'm talking about. When I was a student in Paris, many years ago, my best friend was from Guadalajara. Above all, we both were real hommes or hombres, just like your Mexican boyfriend and we knew how to treat women with respect, but at the same time, we made them feel like real women, not robots. The ladies loved it.
Chulita, you should be proud, not ashamed, of having a real man show interest in you. Let me tell you what I think of gabachas: with their long blond hair, slim body, fair skin and blue eyes, most are pretty until they reach their mid-twenties. Then it all goes downhill: They pack so much weight on themselves that they become ugly, and even their voices change. They give up on their looks, and they become so obsessed with succeeding in other sectors that they become robots, and they only appreciate male robots for their love lives, not real mecs or machos! They're caught in a rat race, no time for flirtation, no time for real men. They're only after the equivalent of fast food for their love lives, not a five-course grande cuisine meal. Everything has to be timed and scheduled. They're not even women anymore!
Have you ever watched Galavisión, Univisión or TV5, the French-speaking channel by satellite? Watch them if you can, and bring all your gabacho and gabacha friends. Show them what real women and men look like on those channels. They're proud of their bodies, and they're not programmed to hide them. Then switch to Fox, and ask your friends—this will be a real eye-opener for them—if they still think that you should be ashamed because you opted for the best! Mexican and French unidos! Le mec!
MSU + UCI = LOTS OF MAIL
The following letters are in regard to Derek Olson's Oct. 19 feature, "Against the Wall," about UC Irvine's controversial Muslim Student Union.
I recently read Derek Olson's "Against the Wall" article and found it extremely enlightening and well-written. Kudos to Mr. Olson and what he had to do to cover the story.
I'm a first-generation Mexican-American woman born in Orange County. I find it strange that these first-generation Muslims were born and raised in freedom, with all the amenities that entails, and yet are so anti-American! God is in our hearts, not in a religion! God is everywhere and should not be isolated in a religion. God is what we carry and have in our hearts (love, tolerance, faith, belief, helping our neighbors and the poor and less fortunate). Now we appear to be at war in the name of God. That is absurd and sadly ludicrous.
I was directed to your article "Against the Wall" by a friend of mine. Although I was glad that you talked to Reut Cohen to get another side of the story, I think you ignored a lot of what has been going on with the MSU. Reut talked about the rhetoric used by MSU speakers, so why was no quote given to lend a bit of credibility to that story?
The reason I felt compelled to respond is that I am an ex-Muslim living in Irvine who attends UC Irvine. Because I have gone public with my change of faith, I have been the target of veiled threats from the Muslim community at large. I don't feel safe on my own campus.
I think your article really watered down what's truly going on at UCI for the non-Muslim students that MSU considers a threat. My very existence as someone who was once quite a devout Muslim who left the faith due to my knowledge of it is a threat to the MSU, and they've not hesitated in causing my campus experience to be one marked by fear of my personal safety.
Unfortunately, although I consider myself a progressive person, I've only found sympathy in more right-wing circles. That is not what I was planning for, as I believe that progressive Americans believe in the protection of First Amendment rights of everyone. Usually, I've found that progressives make excuses for Muslim behavior instead of calling Islam out equally with Christianity for its fanatical side. It's misguided to give Islam a free pass when it obviously has problematic aspects. Nowhere is this more obvious than the attitude that Muslims, especially British Muslims, have taken toward the issue of Muslims leaving their faith.
The reason I've contacted you is that I really wish progressives would realize what's at stake here. A Canadian Muslim professor has argued from the standpoint of multiculturalism and cultural relativism that ex-Muslims deserve to be punished, and British Muslims agree, as shown by Prince Charles' recognition of the issue all the way back in 2004. The attitude of British Muslims is echoed, albeit quietly for now, by those American Muslims who are more extreme. I believe a stand against all extremist religions must be taken.
I truly enjoyed reading "Against the Wall." Thank you for your view into the struggles, issues and lives of the Muslim Students Union at UC Irvine. I especially appreciate your unbiased, truly journalistic view of a culture different than your own.
Keep up the good work, and I hope you will be an example to others.
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For the article ["Against the Wall"], I was asked if I thought the Muslim Student Union at UC Irvine was being monitored. I feel like I was misquoted and things I said were taken completely out of context.
I said, "It wouldn't surprise me if they were being monitored." I went on to explain that even though the FBI has been on the campus, according to media reports, I still give the government agency the benefit of the doubt.
When I talked about the group actually being monitored, I said that the media monitors them. There is a huge difference between the FBI and the media.
Reut R. Cohen
Editor's Note: Derek Olson and the Weekly stand by the way Cohen's quotes were presented in the story.