I lost my sister, Kim, to the same disease in a public suicide in 1987 in Atlanta, 10 years after her initial diagnosis. As you may imagine, her suicide has affected me in a multitude of ways. Through my own painful journey, I've chosen to enter the very field that failed my sister in hopes that one person can, in fact, make a difference. Suffice it to say that your piece reminds me why I chose this field for my life's work -- to try and save lives.
Thank you for your sensitivity to the subject and for the education it provides the general public. My prayers are with Gretchen and her loved ones.
-- Christy R. Simpson, Atlanta
James Kelly: I don't disagree that most of what's happening in Nashville and across the fruited plane of country music is pretty silly (Vibes, "The battle of Nashville," March 26). But your piece, in some of its characterizations, hits a pet peeve of mine. The free speech guaranteed every American through the First Amendment means that no one may be denied the right to speak freely by the "government."
In this country, the government allows you to say anything you like. But you also have to be willing to accept the consequences (including those meted out by the inevitable jackasses) that may come from saying whatever it is.
-- Reid Davis, Atlanta
Taste of their own medicine
Kudos, Roni Sarig, on your clever use of wit and sarcasm in your Earshot article (Vibes, "Un-American Airwaves?" March 26). You certainly gave conservatives a taste of their own medicine. Mimicking their ultra-patriotic posturing, you beat them at their own game by implying that they might be traitors for "advocating some very un-American ideas." Adopting their fondness for labeling the opposition as less than American was a brilliant twist of tactics that exposed them as the knee-jerk reactionaries that you suppose them to be.
However, I must question your premise that reacting negatively toward someone because of something they said, i.e. exercising their right of free speech, is somehow an impediment of their freedom of speech. Is it un-American, as you suggest, to openly express your disapproval of Sheryl Crow, "simply because she decided to use her God-given and American-protected right of free speech"?
To question the basic American right of dissent is to question the very foundation of what America stands for. Perhaps someday you will come to understand the American values that you claim to uphold.
In closing, I would like to point out your contradiction. On the one hand, you admonish a certain radio conglomerate and the opinions expressed by its employees; on the other, you engage in the same tactics in the defense of aforementioned entertainment personalities. Are you exempt from the very principles that you expostulate? Will you, Roni Sarig, never be guilty of exercising your right of free speech in the form of dissent toward the viewpoints of others? Perhaps, in your case, self-censorship is the answer.
-- Craig Coleman, Decatur
Anthony Swofford's book, Jarhead, sounds more like a literary porn flick than a story about the woes of war ("Jarhead," March 26). Oh yeah! Steve Fennessy's interview article has "excited" me to buy the book, if for no other reason than to give to my boyfriend who was a jarhead corporal during that same despicable war.
War has never been a beautiful thing and it reflects the uneducated and short-sighted perspective of some of humanity. What we need is a jarhead's writings on what non-conflagrant action we as a human race should engage in to insure our continued existence in the face of the true short- sightedness of people like Saddam Hussein.
-- Levi Sandelin, Atlanta
Tray Butler: I've been meaning to write and thank you for your article on Dr. James Kilgo (Arts, "The last safari," March 19). Like you, I was a journalism major taking lots of English classes, and found Dr. Kilgo's class and persona to be among the most memorable of my time at UGA ('71-'74). Thanks for honoring a fine teacher and writer. I'll never forget him.
-- Robert Reeves, Atlanta
Typically, I find the political rantings in Creative Loafing to be amusing at best. However, John Sugg's assertion of "fascism" has called me off the deck (Fishwrapper, "The flowering of fascism," April 2). Certainly, he and I would agree that dissent is a protected right. In a time of passions, there may be some that respond to opposing views with inappropriate venom and conduct -- on both sides. Which is shameful.
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