Going Postal 

Tears over testing
Steve Fennessy's article on Yerkes and animal testing left me in tears ("Guerrillas in their midst," Nov. 7). I'm no activist, but I have a deep love of all animals, and I donate to animal shelters and causes regularly. I can't imagine at all what it would be like to be Rachel Weiss when she was working at Yerkes. It rips my heart up thinking about the poor souls -- yes, I believe that animals have souls -- suffering alone in wretched little cages. I have a friend who works at Yerkes, though not in research. I don't believe he's ever done what Ms. Weiss did. I think he would end his employment there as well. Perhaps I can suggest it to him. Perhaps he read this article. Perhaps he'll even see my letter. Please don't stop publishing these articles. Maybe if more people were moved to tears, we could help to end this barbarism. Thank you.

-- Deborah E. Friddle, Atlanta

Guerrilla gratitude
Thank you so much for your wonderful article on the difficult topic of Yerkes ("Guerrillas in their midst," Nov. 7). The piece was intelligently written, well researched, unbiased and thoroughly impressive. Yerkes is an institution that I would love to see either closed or radically altered in its attitude (and treatment) toward the animals it keeps locked within its secretive walls. It is only through rational debate and discussion that any change will ever occur, and much of that debate has to begin with the media's bringing the topic into the public forum.

I applaud and commend Creative Loafing for having the integrity to take on topics that the AJC may find controversial. Thank you for your continued commitment to what journalism used to mean: the discussion of important, potentially dangerous topics with intelligence, grace and courage.

-- Nelson Nowell, Atlanta

The Gillespie's always greener ...
I hope you realize how many of us out here read the Loaf just to see the next column from Hollis Gillespie. My friends call me and ask, "Have you read Hollis this week? This one's a REALLY good one!" And after reading "Thank You, Dr. Melkonian," (Mood Swing, Oct. 31) I shake my head and think, "WOW, she's done it again." She's the Erma Bombeck of our generation. Thanks for bringing her column to us every week!

-- Polly Anna Sheppard, Atlanta

Nice noir
Curt Holman: First of all, I'd like to say that I really enjoyed your article on the Coen Brothers' new film, The Man Who Wasn't There (Flicks, "Cain and Able," Oct. 31). It's nice to read an informed criticism of a film noir, as opposed to those folks who throw the word "noir" around as some trendy buzzword or random-ass adjective. I've read Hammett, Cain, Thompson, Chandler, Camus, Highsmith and Ellroy, and I am a huge fan of the film genre as well (although I was admittedly befuddled by Mulholland Drive, the Lynchian twist on the noir).

Your arguments and explanations on the subject are insightful and interesting. I now look forward to seeing The Man Who Wasn't There. (As a side note, The Big Lebowski is also a quirky deconstruction of the atmospheric Chandlerian world, the title obviously referencing The Big Sleep).

-- Greg Hart, Atlanta

Vietnam flashback
I applaud Chris Renaldo's column, "Is it wrong to compare the military action in Afghanistan to Vietnam?" (Flip Side, Nov. 7). He hits the nail on the head. Vietnam was a politically motivated war driven by all the forces he outlines: the Cold War, paranoia about the "domino effect," etc. In retrospect, the U.S. had little (although some) true strategic interest in what was going on in Southeast Asia and our participation had little net effect.

This new "war" was thrust upon us by religious zealots who hijacked Islam for their own misguided self-interests. Our country and our government had no choice but to pursue the elimination of those who perpetrated the horrific acts of Sept. 11 upon thousands of innocent civilians.

I'm glad to see that a sensible commentary on the situation appears in Creative Loafing, a publication that is often mired in liberally slanted opinion. Good job, Chris!

-- Eduardo Perez, Atlanta

Chemical dependency
I was amazed, nay, stunned at the article by Michael Wall (News, "New enviro math: green = greenbacks," Oct. 31). It sounded like our politicians are actually considering something like this, and it might even have a chance of passing!

I feel sure that having eight business people out of 12 panel members will ensure that the true merits of preventing disease or preserving a species will be thoroughly researched prior to any decisions to endorse its proliferation or elimination, as the case may be. At least as long as it does not infringe too heavily on the shareholder value of the corporation directly involved in creating the form of pollution under review. Why would there be any need for any other scientific or public representation on a panel charged with determining what kind of a natural environment and state we will not only live in, but bequeath to our children and their children (since deformity, death and extinction are still pretty much irreversible)? I'm sure the corporate and business people will make the decisions that are best for the rest of us, our health, our well-being, the very water we drink and air we breathe! Won't they?

The irony is that the levels of pollution we live with now was supposed to have happened before we knew any better and we were working on the premise of "better living through chemistry" as a do-all, (rather than an "end-all"), means of achieving global prosperity. Funny, it's basically the same folks proposing this cost/benefit calculation review of environmental pollution "permission" who gave us Love Canal and acid rain! And don't forget Styrofoam!

Don't get me wrong. I have a lot of admiration for the chemical industry and the related businesses that use chemistry to make our lives better. We just need to learn from the ignorant mistakes that have been made in the past regarding the introduction of humankind-generated chemicals into the environment. They're not natural and they are not at natural levels and strengths, and they can only do damage where they don't belong. There should be a zero-tolerance for their distribution into the environment, regardless of cost. Either because we know what they can do, from proven testing, or because we don't know what they might do because of a lack of time and exposure. After something gets destroyed is a little late to use hindsight to say, "Well, we shouldn't have done or allowed that." We've been there and done that. And we are all responsible, not just the companies that meet our product and convenience demands.

If we can't control the effluents, then we need to find an alternative agent. We really need to be concentrating on trying to undo what we've already done, not find ways to legally allow more to be done! We, as a species, aren't going to be able to take much more. Especially if, seemingly "all of a sudden," we find ourselves alone on the planet.

-- Michael N. Gilbert, Woodstock

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