Going Postal 

Feelings of dread
After everything this country's been through regarding the attacks on Sept. 11, I cannot believe that you ran a comic making light of a president who has attempted to bring a normal life to citizens of a traumatized nation ("One year later," Sept. 4). While I am liberal, and generally welcome any attack on Republicans, I feel the comic was in bad taste and bordered on disgusting.

It was insensitive to anyone with a fucking brain, and certainly brought back feelings of dread -- the same feelings Americans have been trying to shake for the last year.

Perhaps you could write something useful. Maybe something worthwhile to help your fellow Americans get past all the shit we've put up with from every yellow journalist looking to win a Pulitzer.

I wonder how many subscriptions you would get if you could take this seriously. As for me, I would rather blow my brains out, than read anything from y'all again. Because it seems to me that I would then be on the same intellectual ground as most of your writers.

-- J. Love, Atlanta

Eyes on the president
Listen, I agree with many of the sentiments behind the "One Year Later" expanded comic by Carol Lay (Sept.4), but Jesus! I felt like my intelligence was being insulted in the most mawkish and childishly pedantic way imaginable. This sentimentally maudlin exercise in moralistic preaching in the guise of a "Family Circus" parable just pissed me off.

I don't like George Bush and his administration. I agree there is a cruel and nauseating detachment in much of the media's "heartfelt" programming and coverage. There is no doubt that, in some way, the Bush administration has exploited the grief and confusion over 9-11 by using it as a curtain behind which spurious policies can be implemented.

But it weakens and cheapens those observations and arguments to posit them in such a ridiculously biased and trite manner. And it cheapens the real sorrow and fear felt about that day. To use a fictional, doe-eyed cartoon character to take swipes at a cross-eyed president who's painted as an unfeeling, stupid and remorseless dope is demeaning to everyone.

George Bush might be an idiot. He might duck some of his "Christian" morals on the way to satisfying his own selfish interests. But come on! He's a human being. And he's not brain-dead. Who is Carol Lay to render him as insincere and even callous in the face of a fatherless kid?

I'll grieve for the lives lost in the tragedy. I will watch our current administration with a trained and suspicious eye. But I will do it with my own conscience.

-- Troy Bieser, Atlanta

Sums it up
(In response to News & Views, "King Roy in royal trouble?" Sept. 11): I will be one of those opting to vote for no one in the governor's position. I can't vote Republican, but I cannot vote again for Roy Barnes. I have no quarrel about the flag or education. My problem can be summed up in two words: Northern Arc.

I live in Bartow County, and this pork project road will displace 80 families and 15 businesses in Bartow, bring added pollution, and is a dire threat to the watershed for our drinking water supply, Lake Allatoona.

If this were really born of need, not for the lining of pockets, then we'd be taking the much easier (and much cheaper) route of widening Ga. 20, which virtually parallels the projected Arc route.

-- Rob Waller, Cartersville

Raise the minimum age
Where's the coverage on the death of the Emory Ph.D. student killed while cycling with her Buckhead cycling training group, who was hit by a 16-year-old female driver?

How many deaths and injuries caused by 16-year-old drivers have to occur before this state realizes that driver's education should be mandatory, and that the minimum driving age should be 17? As a runner, I'm terrified of some naive, clueless young driver running a red light, while blaring his/her car radio, while searching for a CD, while on the cell phone, while speeding.

A brilliant young woman lost her life. Cyclists and runners have every right to use the road, but the reality is that Atlanta is not a safe place for anyone not in a motor vehicle, with our elected officials and police chiefs ignoring this issue.

-- Dan Magee, Atlanta

Editor's note: A column related to this incident appears on page 29.

Ignoring what's in the mirror
(In response to Vibes, "Learning to live with what you can't rise above," Sept. 11): What an excellent article. In this post 9-11 haze, it's easy to see why America is so quick to get on the Springsteen bandwagon (and I do love The Boss), and yet crucify Steve Earle for a viewpoint that may lead one to do some true soul searching.

Bruce's effort is more "safe" for the masses because, God forbid we (America) assume any consideration of responsibility in the whole matter. Jerusalem seems to attempt to stir us into some form of self-reflection and like they say, sometimes the truth hurts. Sometimes you look in the mirror and you don't like what you see, so you look away and/or pretend it's not there. Our society has now been medicated (Prozac, Paxil, etc.) and sedated with TV images of reality.

America is still caught in its wash of blind patriotism and clearly, is not ready to re-examine itself that closely. In the meantime, the media will pimp 9-11 to death because it's the biggest money- making thing going on right now. Well, I'm going to get me a copy of Steve Earle's Jerusalem. I have no problem looking in the mirror.

-- Aanthone Allen, Atlanta


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