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Letters to the Editor 

Week of June 19, 2002

Tired of Being a Symbol

We have World War II going on inside, too, but it may be the burrito we had for lunch: Bill Gallo describes the Jewish neo-Nazi protagonist of The Believer as "facing an all-out war between the victim and the oppressor inside him" ("Internal Despair," Film, June 12). While the concept that each of us has a little Jew and a little Nazi somewhere above our kidneys, reflecting the good and evil within, is a theory I've heard before, it's fundamentally moronic.

Each of us has the capacity to do evil, and each of us has the potential to be the target of the evil others do. Giving these human conditions historical costume is trite and inherently disrespectful to the historical Jewish experience.

Gallo also describes the film as "obviously topical." Why on earth? Has there been a rise in Jewish skinhead activity? No, it's "topical" because there's a reference to the West Bank and, in Gallo's mind, apparently a link to "Tel Aviv and Jenin." In other words, the conflict between the oppressed and the oppressor is supposed to somehow reflect Israel's current crisis, as reflected by an American Jewish skinhead.

Perhaps you could have found a reviewer for this film who had some actual interest in American Jewish life? Being a full-time symbol can be kind of wearing.

Charlotte Honigman-Smith

Tough on Crime

Ingrate inmate: Bernice Yeung really hit a sore spot with me concerning her article "Throwing Away the Key" (June 5). Should Eddy Zheng be kept in prison? Hell yes! I'm glad our governor has seen fit to keep violent criminals like Zheng behind bars. Hell, if this were his native China, poor ol' Eddy Zheng would have been dead and forgotten after being executed years ago! That's the penalty in China for crimes like his.

So I don't see the basis for complaints from him or his family. In fact, they ought to be writing the governor and public, thanking us for seeing to it that public money still supports his miserable life.

As Eddy Zheng and his family hadn't lived long enough in California to get their U.S. citizenship before Zheng became a burden to society, I believe he has forfeited any right to sympathy, and if ever released, Eddy Zheng ought to be deported back to China -- as the law requires -- for being an undesirable alien felon! We don't need people like Eddy Zheng here; we've got our own problems with our own, home-grown bad apples.

David Hawz-Men
South Park

Equal-Opportunity Offensiveness

Cheek-O-Rama? Chuck-O-Rama? We're stumped.: We are a volunteer group seeking a slur-free society, with headquarters in Sunnyvale. Thus we are concerned about the Ch**k-O-Rama sideshow publicized in your June 5 issue by Lisa Hom ("The C-Word," Night & Day).

If [comic] Kate Rigg were serious about her claim to confront anti-Asian-American slurs, she wouldn't stoop to promote anti-European-American hate slurs like "round-eye." That is, she gives herself the lie by indulging in peculiar slurs against European-Americans while claiming to address oppressive stereotypes against Asian-Americans. Can you say, "Liar, liar, p**ts on fire"?

Stanley Womack
Resisting Defamation

Comic Belief

A Red Meat lover: In contrast to Gregory Wu's letter last week ("Cartoon Corner," Letters, June 12), there are many of us who turn first to see what Max Cannon is up to with his Red Meat comic. Intelligently penned, droll, and hilarious, it's the absolute best, and I'd be happy to provide names of others who enjoy it. Mr. Wu needs to find his "laughing place," because comics can be brilliant without being relevant to his particular problems or life experience.

Michael Lano

Raw and well-done: I sincerely hope Max Cannon is getting handsomely compensated for his cartoon. Red Meat [is] beautiful -- beautiful like a bicyclist being launched over the handlebars by an unanticipated curb. Every day in San Francisco sees my involuntary absorption of heaping amounts of visual media both clever and painfully mundane, most of which is trying to appeal to me as a human statistic in that catchy, calculated way that advertisement/salesmanship does. Hopefully I'm not alone when I say that Red Meat is a slice of honest, lewd humor that comes as a scarce yet refreshing breath of air amid the daily barrage of media sludgery.

Christian D. Marenbach
Upper Haight


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