[Warning: spoiler alert] I thoroughly enjoyed 2005’s Batman Begins. But I’m bewildered by the apparent love affair with Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. This new film is truly a Batman for the Bush/Cheney era. One minute our Caped Crusader is flying off to Hong Kong to perform extraordinary sedition, the next he’s dropping a man off a high rise and breaking his ankles to interrogate him.
How did this brutal, grisly, black-hearted piece of ugliness ever avoid an R rating for violence? I would consider it for an NC-17, yet parents are rushing their kids to see it like it’s a summertime superhero lark. Some might think shoving a grenade into the mouth of a paralyzed man, pulling the pin and walking away is a great joke. Ha, ha. I didn’t. Ditto our lead villain’s penchant for sliding blades into people’s cheeks while regaling them with sadistic fantasies. I would rather have been waterboarded than sit through this interminable horror’s gratuitous final half hour. If director Nolan was going for dark, he succeeded beyond belief. Not even the considerable talents of Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman could shine a light into this abyss.
The late, lamented Heath Ledger should have won Best Actor for his stunning work in 2005’s Brokeback Mountain, but for The Dark Knight? Come on, now. Ledger’s celebrated Joker is truly nothing more than a nasty, evil twin rehash of Michael Keaton’s Beetlejuice from 1988. Same physical mannerisms, same verbal mannerisms, very nearly the same makeup. In short, everything but the striped suit. An Oscar for this Joker? The joke is on us. Let’s look forward instead to Ledger’s final performance in Terry Gilliam’s Doctor Parnassus next year. Ledger gets top billing over Johnny Depp in that one—he’d better be good.
[Re: Newscity, “On the Inside,” July 24-30] Greta Roskom made three very important statements about students of jail-based charter schools:
1) "It's a full-fledged school with the same requirements of any other in Albuquerque."
2) "We're expecting them to be highly motivated, and we expect them to have perfect attendance."
3) "We expect our students to be respectful."
Items 2 and 3 don’t apply to public schools. The glaring differences are the carrots and sticks available to the jail system that public schools don't have. Inmates understand the consequence of not following the rules. They get to stay in their cells. Public school students don’t understand the carrot-and-stick approach even though it’s well understood by dogs. Fido sits up and he receives a treat. Fido makes a mess on the floor and he gets the stick. Researchers use the carrot and stick every day to study lab animal behavior. But this technique is absolutely useless on a human teenager. They don’t understand that good education = good job; bad education = bad back. Unfortunately, the stick is outlawed. So what’s the fix? We need students that are as smart as Fido.
Health Care for All
As an individual who has lived with the symptoms of bipolar disorder, I am asking for your help in passing the full mental health parity bill. An agreement was recently made on the terms for a final full mental health parity bill by the Senate and House negotiators.
I have been fortunate to have had full insurance coverage for most of the years I had suffered with severe symptoms. I am now symptom-free with the right medications and the health maintenance tools I've learned to stay well. I am concerned for those who do not have insurance. For years, efforts to end discrimination in health care insurance coverage for mental illness have failed in Congress, despite having a bipartisan majority of supporters. Now with passage by both the House and Senate of separate mental health parity bills (H.R. 1424/ S. 558), we are literally at the door of ending this terrible discrimination.
Parity makes sense and is affordable. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that providing mental health parity would increase health care costs by less than 1 percent. At least one in five Americans suffers from a mood disorder or other mental illness. These individuals should be afforded the same level of insurance coverage as those with a physical illness.
Please do all that you can to work with your colleagues to pass the full mental health parity legislation this congressional session.
A Deadly City
[Re: Second Look, “A Deadly City,” July 24-30] I've lived here nearly all my life and have watched APD ignore one crime after another. I live in the Northeast Heights, where it is supposed to be significantly safer. I still hear shootings; I see cars getting broken into; I hear about people getting robbed and drugs being sold. Where are the police? Probably busting people for minor traffic violations. I don't depend on police for my safety anymore as it has become apparent that they don't even care. If you want to protect yourself from crime in this city, buy yourself a gun and install some security cameras. I've visited many large cities including Seattle, Houston, Los Angeles, Portland, Phoenix, Vancouver and Salt Lake City. Excluding Los Angeles, Albuquerque is by far the most violent city I've seen. Then again, who knows? Maybe every big city is just as violent, but I doubt it.
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