[ Re: The Real Side, “The Red and Green Mile,” Dec. 13-19, 2007] Jim Scarantino is rightfully pleased that he has a wide selection of locally owned retail businesses selling local products and services within a mile of his home. What if he lived west of the river?
Rev. “Scrooge” Billy
In her review of the film What Would Jesus Buy? [ Dec. 20-26, 2007], Jessica Cassyle Carr clearly didn't like the main character, the Rev. Billy, and didn't understand the clear message of the film nor its importance in this day and age. Using the word "Scrooge" to describe someone questioning the rampant consumerism at Christmastime, its real connection to global warming and its effect on the human spirit is counterproductive. Certainly, it's hard to call Rev. Billy a “Scrooge." For many of us in the theater he came off as very theatrical, fun and quite passionate about his belief that we are hurting ourselves and the planet, not to mention 13-year-old laborers in Third World countries, through our rampant shopping.
The vision of the movie, which Carr asserted has a "total lack of vision," indeed included the connections between corporate capitalism, ruthless shoppers, Christmas consumerism and abuse of Third World and First World workers; all of those issues look related to many of us. As for his tirade against credit cards, one could note that Americans are more deeply in debt than ever in the history of this nation.
I am sorry Carr didn't find the film as moving, fun and inspirational as I did.
“Feeling Good” Sucks
[ Re: Film Review, "Juno," Dec. 27, 2007-Jan. 2, 2008] There are plenty of film critics who understand the fine art of delivering subtle, nuanced assessments of cinema, but not me. I hated Juno. I can't imagine why this film has caught on with the public, but I can only imagine it has something to do with “feeling good.” And, brother, does this film bend over backward to make you feel good. Don't worry about the turbulence of life, because this film will force you to realize that everything works out in the end for all of God's blessed little misfits.
So insistently precious are these characters that everyone talks like a fan-zombie, complete with “rad” wit and “wiggy” fashion sense. Juno rattles off one-liners as though she was reading from caffeinated cue-cards: “Honest to blog!” “I've taken, like, three pregnancy tests and I'm for shizz up the spout!” “I'm a legend, they call me the cautionary whale.” “That ain't no etch-a-sketch; this is one doodle that can't be un-did, homeskillet.” And my favorite: “Thundercats are go!”
If all of this sounds exhausting, it is. I can picture the screenwriter now, erasing ferociously: “No, no, not quirky enough! Gotta make it more quirky!" And that's the way every character communicates, inadvertently displaying the grave danger of letting a writer populate her world with imaginary creatures that only come from a one-dimensional corridor of life experience. Many are calling this silly ode to infant-delivery “this year's Little Miss Sunshine.” Ah, no. That film at least had some small semblance of soul; a sense of the real. I didn't believe this film for a minute, and I'd never want to meet these characters in this life or any other.
No Republicans Allowed
We need a brief comment about Jerry Ortiz y Pino’s column proclaiming we need more women in the Legislature [ Re: Ortiz y Pino, "Gender Politics," Dec. 27, 2007-Jan. 2, 2008].
I looked at the website Ortiz y Pino recommended and found that Emerge New Mexico is only soliciting Democratic women, who will, of course, bring along a “skewed (or at least narrow) worldview”--something Ortiz y Pino bemoans in financially independent or retired persons. (The "Application" portion of the website says, “Applicants must be Democratic women ...”)
A little more to the point, since Jerry O. is probably “pro-choice,” let’s give him a choice in the voting booth. One candidate is a pro-abortion man, who favors same-sex marriages and larger and more powerful government. The other is a pro-life woman, who favors marriages between men and women only and who wants to decrease the size and power of government. Whom do you think Jerry will choose to represent him?
Mmm ... Soy
This has indeed been the year of eating dangerously.
Consumer Reports got things rolling by reporting that 83 percent of all raw chickens harbor campylobacter or salmonella, leading causes of foodborne disease. Spring and summer brought 20 recalls of 30 million pounds of ground beef contaminated with lethal E. coli.
All through the year, two dozen scientific reports, including a mammoth one by the World Cancer Research Fund, linked meat and dairy consumption with elevated risk of colon, stomach, pancreatic, prostate, breast, uterine and ovarian cancers.
A dozen more reports linked meat and dairy with obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. A survey of 30,000 children by the National Center for Health Statistics indicated an alarming rise in high blood pressure, a precursor to heart attack and stroke.
Leonardo DiCaprio's The 11th Hour reminded us that, according to the U.N., animal agriculture accounts for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions--more than automobiles.
The national uproar over Michael Vick's brutal dog fighting operation made us wonder why we tolerate the brutal treatment and slaughter of billions of cows, pigs and other innocent, sentient animals for our dinner table.
The dawn of the new year is a great time to explore the rich variety of veggie burgers, dogs, deli slices, heat-and-eat dinners and soy-based milk, cheese and ice cream in our local supermarket, as well as the traditional vegetables, nuts, grains and fruits. It's the one New Year's resolution that's easy and fun to keep.
CORRECTION: In last week's feature [“Best and Worst of 2007,” Jan. 3-9], we incorrectly stated that the Desert Rock power plant had already been approved. The Record of Decision is not expected to be released until August 2008. The Alibi regrets the error.
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