Kibbles ’n’ Kudos
Dear Alibi nos,
I'd like to congratulate both the Albuquerque Animal Care Center and the Alibi's Christie Chisholm for fine work on "Gimme Shelter" [Feature, Sept. 7-13].
The good folks working in animal welfare in Burque have a tremendous task that they handle with consistently increasing skill and aplomb. Animal welfare is an emotionally, ethically and politically difficult field in which to work. I have deep respect for my colleagues in Albuquerque who are working diligently to improve life for the animals and people of that community.
Equal kudos go to Ms. Chisholm. She took one of the most sociologically complex issues, that of how we treat the animals with whom we share our lives, and through diligent reportage and elegant writing managed to compassionately encapsulate the work of everyone interested in raising the standard of living for animals.
The most salient point that I believe comes out of Ms. Chisholm's article is that animal welfare isn't just about animals. It's an indicator of who we are as human beings. To lift a line from Gandhi, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
I hope that we all, as caring members of a mindful community, can take the message of this story to heart: Animals do so much for us, and so we must do all we can for them.
What the article “Gimme Shelter” [Feature, Sept. 7-13] didn't include is this interesting little fact: If you are unfortunate enough to be arrested, APD will not let anyone take temporary custody of your animal(s). They take them to the pound. The pound will furthermore charge you by the day for keeping your animal(s) against your will.
Sound like kidnapping and extortion? Sure does! This is how my sweet 6-year-old doggie wound up being “put to sleep” on Feb. 9, 2005.
Thanks CABQ, APD and the pound—not.
I'm writing to say thanks to Laura Marrich. In my seven years here in Burque, I have found many wonderful sources of inspiration as well as several excuses not to be inspired. For a while now it has been quite difficult to find any motivation in me at all. I have found myself searching out your little articles here and there and I am truly amazed at the quality of content in your work. I believed the writers at the Alibi were a bit one-sided (cough, O'Leary, cough) or maybe just liberal know-it-alls who got a chance to write and be heard. With the exception of a couple writers/articles, I had all but lost my interest in the banal, expectable, innuendo-filled trashy weekly. Your passion for music, food and art have awakened a writing streak in myself.
After reading the little tidbit about music submissions for the Duke City Shootout (used to be Digifest, which I was a part of), I actually created a nifty little track and got sooo attached to it I just couldn't bear to send it in because the thought of signing it off to some short film might be compromising to me as an artist. The point is that you have given me hope. Hope that gifted people such as yourself will continue to work hard and love the things you do. Hope that open-minded individuals will try new things, and write about them whether they were successful or not.
Recently, I was completely charmed by the article about your trip to the dentist. Again, the originality in concept and execution is flawless. Granted, I'm not a professional writer (like yourself), but now I can see the path being forged, one that can lead me to gathering my thoughts into a book, or even a graphic novel. So, here's to you, and what you have helped me with, my inspiration. I thank you.
[RE: Feature, “Escaping the Asylum,” Aug. 31-Sept. 6] So Jim Derych has realized that Rush Limbaugh doesn't know everything. Great revelation. The only thing one can do in this chaotic info world is to constantly check sources from the entire political spectrum, and see what resonates. I have old friends back in California who selectively read The Nation, watch John Stewart and Bill Maher, and think they are very well-informed. I am here to tell you—they are not.
Patron Saint of Barefoot Travelers
Count on a Don Schrader letter to bring out the capitalist fundamentalists screaming “blasphemy!” Two [Letters, “Reverend Don” and “Born in the U.S.A.,” Aug. 31-Sept. 6] accused Don, as always, of being an ungrateful leech, claiming that if you want sidewalks and schools then you should shut up about Our Boys slaughtering Asians. Sidewalks and schools are funded by local taxes: sales tax, property assessment, etc. Your IRS tithe goes overwhelmingly for Guys With Guns and Fat-Assed Analysts telling us that we can’t afford Social Security or Medicare anymore.
To say that our soldiers mean well is pointless. Has there ever been an invading army that thinks they’re doing it for the sake of chaos and evil? Soldiers always believe they are killing so their mothers and daughters will be safe. It’s just comical to assert that military obedience training makes you more qualified than Don to analyze foreign policy. Hooray for Saint Don!
Say No to Sniveling
The Alibi recently published two letters criticizing Don Schrader's letter “Crap No One Needs” [Letters, “Reverend Don” and “Born in the U.S.A.,” Aug. 31-Sept. 6]. The implication of the letters is that Don is somehow a parasite to our society. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Yes, Don has very strong beliefs and he lives them more consistently than any other Albuquerque resident. As such, he makes most of the rest of us uncomfortable because we are all compromised compared to Don's standard of behavior.
Don never said he refuses to pay taxes. He refuses to pay federal taxes. The sidewalks he treads (always on shod feet, incidentally) are paved with the city property taxes he pays through his rent. The UNM facilities he patronizes are paid for in part by the state sales taxes he pays when he buys his food at La Moñtanita, like many of the rest of us. It is federal taxes he objects to, since roughly half of every federal tax dollar is used to pay for militarism (war preparations, war waging, war casualties, past, present and future), regardless of which party is in the White House or in control of Congress. In his effort to minimize complicity with militarism he highlights the hypocrisy in the rest of us.
As for his “sniveling,” I've known Don for two decades and have never known him to snivel about anything. He states his positions in a forthright, mature manner and lets the chips fall as they may. Instead of engaging in either inaccurate accusations or emotional character assassinations, these two readers might want to walk a mile in Don's shoes before they criticize his life decisions.
I applaud The Mexican for speaking his mind and reminding readers that even though Mexicans are labeled as Hispanic—they are not Hispanic. There is so much confusion with the terms Hispanic, Mexican, Chicano, Latino, etc. Mexicans are a mixture of Indian and Spanish, but are mostly Indian. When the Spanish came into Mexico they didn't bring many people with them and most were males. Mexicans are falsely labeled as Hispanics. The Spanish always have to have it their way. They never did ask us, did they?
To top it off, there is the confusion involving those with Basque names. Rodriguez, Ruiz, Gomez, Beltran, Ortiz, Maestas, Perea, Trevino, Mendoza, Izaguirre, etc. These are among hundreds of names that are of Basque origin. The Basque are in Spain, but they don’t consider themselves Spanish, speak a different language and have a different culture. They hate the Spanish so much that the ETA, a terrorist group in Basque, is willing to bomb their way to independence from the Spanish. The Spanish even brainwashed people with Basque names in the early Americas, so they thought they were Spanish and made them speak only the Spanish language and not the Basque language.
I am a proud Mexican-American who is not confused about any of this. I know that if these were the old days, I would not be considered Hispanic by the Spanish because I have Indian blood from my Mexican ancestors. The Spanish would have made me a third-class citizen, or worse. I don't give much homage to the Spanish and their culture. I am of Mexican descent and proud of that. The Spanish could never take away the Indian in us, and they never will.
While Corrine Flores is correct in virtually all the contributions she attributes to the Spanish in the New World [Letters, “History Lesson for The Mexican,” Sept. 7-13], she is mistaken in her claim that the polka is one of them.
The polka originated as a Czech folk dance in the 1830s. Mexican polkas, blending mariachi and ranchera styles, developed in turn from variations popularized by German settlers in Central Texas in the mid-19th century.
¡Ask a Mestizo!
[RE: Letters, “History Lesson for The Mexican,” Sept. 7-13] Corrine's naive opinions are inconsistent with proven facts of history. While I agree, the horse and many new crops introduced by the Spaniards greatly improved the lives of indigenous people, the Indians also contributed enormously to the world. Corine gives a ridiculously naive picture of what the Spaniards found when they invaded Mexico in 1519. Those same Spaniards raped, robbed, murdered and enslaved the indigenous tribes they conquered. That is not to imply that the Indians never committed atrocious crimes on each other, nor that other nations, such as England, were not guilty of heinous crimes on Indians also.
Some Hispanics speak as if their Spanish ancestors, somehow, flew over Mexico and landed in New Mexico. Most educated Hispanics know their ancestors came through Mexico, and in the process they intermarried with every conceivable tribe in South, Central and North America that they conquered. Those early Spaniards were young 18- to 24-year-old men who brought no women with them. Even before they set sail from Spain, many Spaniards had intermarried with Jews and Arabic people. The Moors from Morocco had conquered Spain for almost 800 years. They intermarried with Spaniards, and introduced the Arabian horse, the adobe, the Matachines dance and many Arabic words and traditions that the Spaniards brought to our Southwest. The true blue-blooded Spaniard that Corine and others claim is but a myth from the past. Mestizos, meaning people of mixed Indian and Spanish blood, is a more accurate description of today’s Hispanics.
I caution Corrine Flores and others who claim to be Spanish only to refrain from writing unfounded negative letters that pit Puerto Ricans, Cubans and Mexicans against each other, especially since we now struggle to survive in an America where racists hate all Hispanics—an America that does not honor our Indian and Spanish languages and rich proud cultures.
Letters should be sent with the writer’s name, address and daytime phone number via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium; we regret that owing to the volume of correspondence we cannot reply to every letter.