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Brilliant letter to His Holiness John Paul II concerning Father Joseph Fenton, S.M. [Gustavo Arellano's "Podex Maximus," June 25]. Thank you, Mr. Arellano, thank you.
Former Jesuit via e-mail
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"Sincerely yours in Christ, Gustavo Arellano, Parishioner, St. Boniface Church, Diocese of Orange, California. CC: Most Reverend Tod D. Brown, D.D., Bishop of Orange; Reverend Joseph D. Fenton, S.M.; Martin Sheen, Famous Catholic." Funny. Very Funny. Made My Friday.
Chris Reese via e-mail
Oh, you poor, poor thing! How dare Father Fenton hurt your sensitive feelings! He's a bully, isn't he? But like the good little victim, when you were bullied in the schoolyard and ran to the teacher to complain, you did the same thing now by running to the bishop. Good thinking! At least you're puerilely consistent. Gus, act your chronological age: grow up, get a life and do something constructive with yourself! If you don't, you'll wind up the real PODEX MAXIMUS!
Ted Kollar via e-mail Gustavo Arellano responds: Teddy Boy, I couldn't care less if podices like Fenton and you insult me. But when said idiots persecute the very people whose interests they're supposed to represent—in Fenton's case, it's known that he treats my fellow county Catholics like Torquemada once did the Jews—there's a problemmaximus.
Buddy Seigal's obvious problem with his own talent and race leads him to once again deliver a demeaning critique of artists who have worked for a lifetime to be the best they can be. In his piece about the Irvine Lake Blues Festival, Seigal not only did his usual rant about musicians he does not like, but he also philosophized that the blues is an African-American musical/cultural art form "and the concept of a two-day blues fest featuring one token Negro performer just feels absurd to me" ["Do the Mess Around," June 25]. This is racism! To make the distinction that a certain musical art form should be only performed by a certain race is stupid and negates the growth of any art or musical development. Should only white people be appreciated for performing classical music? Following your logic, Kathleen Battle would be viewed as a person not qualified to sing Handel. The notion that it is only black people (or a few select white folks who pass the Buddy Seigal standard code of "being cool" ) who can play with validity is simply like your initials: B.S. Racism comes in many shapes and sizes, and whenever somebody is judged to be good or bad simply based on the color of his or her skin, it is racism. I can only view Seigal's views as founded on self-hate, self-doubt and longing to be what he is not and can never be.
Anne Bech via e-mail
What a joy it is to see the Great Ronald Reagan, the best damn president of our lifetimes, still has you leftists in a royal snit even in death [Tom Carson's "Death of a Salesman," June 11]. If we could unearth him and open the casket, we'd see his remains have a big, wide ear-to-ear grin.
Dirk Yarborough via e-mail
Lame! Stale! Unimaginative! Ah, yes, a Cornel Bonca book review is always so uplifting and insightful. ["Voltaire Surfed," June 18]. One can only imagine what would happen if Mr. Bonca really liked a book and deigned to say it. That is, a book by someone other than, say, Pynchon. You know, I've always been amazed at Bonca's literary arsenal of critical terms. What does a "little lame" actually mean? Is it just above lame or below? His implication that my Borges' Travel, Hemingway's Garage turns "too often on the stale idea" of the need for writers to look for other means to earn income or diversify their portfolio is patently false since the statement implies that "all the fictions" turn on that painfully "stale idea." It is curious that at one moment Mr. Bonca can call the fictions "unimaginative in the execution," then laud them. Well, only some of them. The rest, I presume, are either lame or stale.
Mark Axelrod via e-mail Cornel Bonca responds: You want to know what a little lame is? A little lame is Axelrod saying that when I write that his fictions "too often" turn on a stale idea, that that means I'm implying that "all" his fictions do. When does "too often" ever mean "all" the time? As for the book, he wants to know why I think it is a little lame. As I said, the conception was good—the execution not so much. Why didn't the execution work? Because, um, "too often," he started out sort of funny and then quickly got predictable, or he was working too hard for an effect and didn't hit it, or the jokes went flat, or his imaginative resources simply weren't keeping the conception afloat. He just wasn't being that interesting. What do you want? I was bored, and when I feel bored, I feel the need to explain why, and that's what the review did—in a much nicer way, I should add, than I'm using here. But since he asked . . .
You are one of the reasons I still believe in America. R. Scott Moxley's coverage of the Haidl case is a wonderful example of critical and balanced journalism. A pleasure to read—in spite of the harrowing tactics of the defense. I am happy Scandinavia has moved somewhat above this level.
Bjorn Akerman Goteborg, Sweden
If I ever gave birth to a child in the likes of the three involved in the Haidl case, I hope I'd be put out of my misery. I have serious hope that these useless beings will go to prison where they will get theirs. I doubt Snapple is given out to inmates, but I encourage them to find something comparable. As for the parents of these creatures, you make my decision not to have children the right one. Let the videotape play on repeat in your heads for the rest of your pathetic lives.
Chelsea M. Huntington Beach
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