Jack Lessenberry's editorial "Time for a press with a spine" (Metro Times, Feb. 8) arguing that American newspapers, like their European counterparts, should have the "courage" to print offensive cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad was incredibly obtuse, dangerous and, whether he likes it or not, "Christian," in that his reaction is the reaction of many in the West. Lessenberry's main complaint, it seems, is that there is a double standard when it comes to depicting certain elements of a religion. Like the Danish comedian he cites, the comedian whose remarks prompted the current outrage over cartoons, Lessenberry seems to be particularly frustrated that "one could get away with peeing on a Bible, but wouldn't dare deface a Quran." According to Lessenberry, and according to a dangerous sort of logic at work in the West in general, Islam should be subject to the same laws of representation and iconicity that govern and found Christianity. Lessenberry tries to make it clear he is not arguing from a Christian perspective here, but, like many, he seems completely unaware that his seemingly "secular" insistence on the right to represent and depict the sacred is a distinctly "Christian" gesture nonetheless. Christianity, unlike Judaism and Islam, is grounded on the notion that the sacred can be become flesh, visible, incarnate. In that sense, the "so-called" secular West's insistence that the sacred can be represented in any form we see fit is a classically Christian move whether one goes to church or not. Ken Jackson, Beverly Hills
In good company?
Mr. Lessenberry states in his column "Time for a Press with a Spine" that, to the best of his knowledge, "not one" newspaper in this country has reprinted the Prophet Muhammad cartoons. I beg to differ. The conservative Weekly Standard published by William Kristol did so. The conservative Michelle Malkin also did so on her Web site. Mr. Lessenberry is in good company in urging a free press. It is indeed sad when The New York Times can print pictures of the crucifix in a jar of urine or the Virgin Mary made out of dung, but will not print a goofy cartoon of a man with a bomb on his head instead of a turban. Peter Fylonenko, Farmington Hills
Girls on film
Brian Smith: I just wanted to let you know that I think your article, "Confessions of a Smut Reviewer" (Metro Times, Feb. 8) was brilliant. It was unexpected, and I found myself totally engrossed in reading it. It's funny how life makes for the most fascinating stories. I seriously would never have guessed any of that stuff about you. Usually, I read your stuff and I hold journalists at the highest level of respect, but your story humanized you, and left me in awe. Melissa Bowen, Almont
I lost a little chunk of humanity reading your "Confessions of a Smut Reviewer" piece. People like Matt Zane force me to question my hope in humanity and my long-running opposition to violence. What a despicable person! It's times like this that I wish I believed the book of Revelations was anything but fiction with the way we're destroying the environment and destroying each other, some brand of apocalypse sounds more like justice than vengeance. Dave Kargol, Ypsilanti
Sarah Klein: Regarding your "Of Super Bowl zombies and my big fat ass" (Metro Times, Feb. 8), you and your huge ass just rocked my fucking world over here!
No kidding about Maxim those bloody "lad mags" give women the impression that if we're not starving or cutting ourselves into Pam Anderson, blow-up-doll, pneumatic clones, we might as well fucking kill ourselves, because no man will ever desire us. Bev Timaeus, Dallas, Texas
I just wanted to drop you a line and say that I could not stop laughing at your Super Bowl party coverage, especially the part where you talk about your run-in with the folks that wanted you to dance at the Maxim party.
I couldn't agree more with your sentiment, by the way. A lot more guys than you might have even thought, in fact, would rather have a 5-foot-6-inch, 140-pound woman than the latest anorexic cardboard cutout from the Pamela Anderson cookie mold. I, personally, have a rule: Once I can see your ribcage, you're off the party list.
My buddies and I all watch pro wrestling (yes, it's our mindless pursuit of choice) and we did tear into one of our own who declared that one of the women on the wrestling show, who was a fairly toned 130 pounds or so, was "fat." Bear in mind that this guy is himself fatter than the queen of the manatees. Aren't double standards fun?
Anyway, I'm sorry that you ran into that whole Maxim fiasco, but it did let you write a mighty fine article, so maybe the experience wasn't a net loss. Scathing satire such as that puts a smile on my face. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a cellphone-and-mayonaisse sandwich to eat. Charles Mousseau, Calgary, Alberta
Four Gore years?
I think that the majority of Americans feel largely betrayed by both "major" parties. Given this feeling, Ben Smith's "Gore Again" (Metro Times, Feb. 8) reminds us that the people may still have one viable mainstream presidential option in former vice president Al Gore.
The popular vote in the presidential election of 2000 demonstrated that the people preferred Al Gore to George W. Bush, and the American nightmare that has ensued since then only serves to remind us of Gore's superior strength, decency and suitability for the job. Because the last few presidents have been so irresponsible with regard to the federal debt, deficit spending and the preservation of an expanding host of lost rights and powers that properly belong to the people and the states, the presidency has been made more difficult for future occupants. But, I think Gore is up to the daunting challenges of restoring dignity to the office and a sense of well-being to the people. He could even be the first good president we've had in a long time, and we really need one now. Ivan Smason, Santa Monica, Calif.Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org